On November 20, Vision New England brought together 38 current and aspiring multi-site leaders from across New England for a Multi-Site Forum at LifeSong Church in Sutton, MA. The full-day event provided a space for peers to build relationships with fellow multi-site leaders, exchange insights, and share successes and failures in their multi-site experience.
Bob Atherton, VNE Vice President of Member Services and the forum's organizer initially thought the event would draw a handful of leaders. As registration grew to include leadership teams from 17 churches across seven states, it became clear that current and aspiring multi-site leaders were eager for time to learn and connect.
The plenary sessions, facilitated by veteran multi-site leader, Pastor Rex Keener, focused on seven critical questions for current and aspiring multi-site leaders.
7 Critical Questions
Why should our church go multi-site?
How do we determine which multi-site approach fits us best?
What constitutes success?
How do we get our church ready to launch its first site?
How do we manage the multi-site monster?
What are the persistent challenges of a multi-site church?
What is the multi-site movement’s “dirty little secret”?
Pastor Rex presented best-practices and personal experiences around each of the critical questions. He made it clear at the start of the day that he wasn't trying to talk anyone into multi-site leaderships.
"If you wanted a sales guy today, you got the wrong guy, but I'll tell you the truth about it as I see it.” His transparency and candor about both his success and failures set the tone for how participants would share in their small group discussion.
Participants were grateful that the small group discussions were both honest and practical. One participant noted that "learning about the realities of the challenges was very sobering and very helpful." Another said, "What is needed is this—to share both success and shortcomings."
Based on small group report-backs and participant surveys, Vision New England and EGC’s Applied Research & Consulting team discovered four key insights multi-site leaders repeatedly shared.
We believe their insights clarify—both for leaders exploring the multi-site option and for current multi-site staff facing vexing challenges to sustainability—the need for four life-preserving team commitments: