Friday, February 09, 2007

Mark Driscoll on Multi-Site Church Strategy

In my continuing series on the multi-site church conference I recently attended, I would like to post a few reflections on Mark Driscoll’s presentation regarding his multi-site approach at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. Mark started his talk with his usual son of a drywaller, more dogs than people, opening statements (if you’ve heard Driscoll before, you know what I’m talking about). From his opening he progressed through a unique series of questions that were all the same question with added elements. For organizational purposes, I am simply going to give you a few highlights.

The fundamental question he posed was “Will your church have multiple services?” Here are some of his insights to this question… I will add my comments in parenthesis.

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  • The scope of your mission, not the size of the room, will dictate how your church is done. We must maintain the attitude that we are designed to reduplicate ourselves. You MUST have reproduction as part of your DNA.
  • Prepare your church for reduplication! For example: When you start a new site, make the service time 10 and then when you split to grow you can do two services at 9 and 11. This will more evenly distribute your people and avoid making one less favorable service time.
  • You need to ask questions about establishing different looks, styles, sizes, etc… We are in a culture with a bunch of different tribes (therefore customize). You will need high definition video for larger rooms. It is imperative you have a campus pastor. We call it a “face with a place.”
  • At Mars Hill, morning services are rock based. In evenings they have much louder, heavier, music. Style is defined by the room, music, teaching tone, etc…
  • Don’t just cater to the grumblers (referring to people who always want things how they like it). Be strategic. In Seattle the large room is strategic for anonymity, so we often try to go with larger rooms for our services. (Note: This contradicts what Larry Osborn said that leaders like it large, but people like it small)
  • In your strategy you shouldn’t go only after families. 50 percent of Americans are unmarried singles.
  • Driscoll argues against renting schools and theaters for your new sites. He says it is best to get your own building. Mars Hill goes after the dead and dying churches. He calls this facility evangelism. (chuckle) Mark went on to tell several stories about dying churches who simply gave their building to Mars Hill to take over and use.
  • Consider converting your best room, best service, best time to video. Mark explained that for margin reasons, they converted their prime service on Sunday mornings to a video service. He said it affected attendance just a bit, but worked great and freed him up to go and preach at a site location that needed a boost.
  • Driscoll argues against using multiple preachers at different church site locations. He believes it will feed a church split. Each campus, has a campus pastor and when Driscoll is out of the pulpit for vacation, the campus pastors preaches at their campus. Driscoll said that this could eventually lead that site to become a church plant, which he considers a favorable thing.
  • Mark emphasized that each site is a new church, so it must have midweek programming. You need some campus specific staff, but in the same regard you should have departmental staff across all campuses. You need a centralized headquarters. (I believe this means small group management, caring ministries, etc.. is across campuses. They also have a shared elder board for all the church sites).
  • There is no limit to where a church can go. Overseeing all of this is very important. Border controlling the theological views and other vision/management details are important. You (the Senior Pastor) can’t sit down with your staff and drive this strategy on your own. You need to get your three most progressive/innovative people in the church together and then sit down and make it happen (meaning develop innovative strategies that advance the mission).


First Theology said...

Scooter- Driscoll's comments are thought provoking (I imagine they were delivered with his usual color!)...

I can "amen" the "plan for reduplication"... To me this is key to what this whole "venue" or "church plant" conversation is about. Currently I don't consider this part of our DNA but I think it needs to be (I think on some levels we seek to reduplicate ourselves in terms of personal evangelism [individual], but not in terms of corporate/communal structures [church]).

The "tribal" comment seems closer to the kind of opportunities we have with distinct cultural groups who've relocated to our area and have no local/indigenous church for lack of a better term (I think you pointed this out in our conversation today).

Jumping down to "multiple site locations"... Driscoll's facility evangelism comment is funny - I've heard the same concept called a church "replant"... I think it makes a lot of sense to go to a dying church and replant thru their current facilities (if they will cooperate).

The "strategic" comments about shared leadership managing top-down to keep the mission/DNA consistent & clear are helpful in light of leading a large church.

Scott - It might be interesting to blog about the pros/cons of venue v. plant (or how the first might evolve into the second).

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