The Rise of the Microsite Church

By Allen White

Multisite churches have multiplied ministries and reached the lost very small towneffectively over the past decade in the US. What started as a desperate need for expansion at Seacoast Church’s Mt. Pleasant, SC campus and the subsequent denial by their city council to let them expand led to the launch of a new model that duplicated services across counties, states and eventually countries in the case of churches like Saddleback. The fix to a zoning problem became a launch pad for evangelism. Now, for the next wave.

A while back on a coaching visit to Seacoast Church, Josh Surratt mentioned to me that a family from their church had moved to the state of Maine and had 40 people meeting in their living room every Sunday watching the Seacoast service online. I said to Josh, “Maybe it’s time to redefine what a campus is.”

Prior to this, a multisite campus had always been a designated building, either rented or owned, some distance from the main/broadcast/original campus that provided a pastoral staff, worship, children’s ministry and other things associated with a church. Now there’s an opportunity for a new model that requires less overhead and could be put in any situation in a town of any size anywhere in the world.

While many churches will reach into the suburbs or into other metropolitan areas, few churches are reaching into small places. I don’t think it’s on the radar to plant a multisite campus in Possum Kingdom, South Carolina, the hometown of Bo and Bear from the band Needtobreathe. If you’re not familiar with Possum Kingdom, it’s right next to Honea Path. There are a lot of towns that no one’s ever heard of before and some of them have very strange names but every town has a group of people who could make up a microsite church.

Now some would object and say, “Doesn’t every small town have some sort of a small church already?” and the answer is yes. The problem is that we live in a national culture. We watch the same television programs and listen to the same music whether we live in New York City or in Podunk Holler, Arkansas. Small churches in small towns cannot compete with what the culture has to offer. It’s just hard to get people’s attention. There are churches, however, that have proven to develop effective ministries in our culture that have a broad reach. By bringing a microsite campus into a small town, you can bring in the quality and effectiveness of a large church ministry and package it for a living room. You could reach not just thousands of people in a metropolitan area but dozens to hundreds of people in a small town. If you do the math, there are more people in small towns than there are in large cities.

The idea of Microsite Churches is seminal at this point. A few churches are beginning to pilot this model or are considering a pilot. Let’s think about the keys to a worship service: you need music of some sort which can be prerecorded on video with subtitles and offered in a living room either through a download or DVD. You need teaching. Teaching on video is very common. I worship at a very large multi-site church and the teaching is by video. I’m at a multisite campus I have only ever met the senior pastor one time, but the video teaching makes you feel like you’re really there. The fact is when churches have the pastors on a screen, people will watch the screen even if the pastor is teaching live in the room.

There are a lot of things to think through: giving, childcare, counseling, marriage ceremonies, etc. But, let’s start with these few paragraphs and discuss what might be next. What do you like? What do you not like? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Download Chapter One of Exponential Groups

New_cover_-_exponential_groups_--_small

Once you click the link in the Confirmation email, your ebook will download immediately.

Powered by ConvertKit
Share on Facebook41Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0Email this to someoneShare on Reddit0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Don Chatelain on February 8, 2015 - 9:21 am

    Good Morning Allen: 6 AM Feb 8, 2015 Portland OR

    The Microsite concept is so solid, and with your leadership will grow to be an important component within the Small Groups ministry of any Evangelical Megachurch, of Acts Two size or greater (my opinion). I believe your microsite concept will require the larger mega community building emphasis within the power of the Holy Spirit, plus a “given” Steve Gladden type of small group leader to get properly implemented.

    When I did my study of Saddleback (http://www.themessiahscrolls.com/megachurch/) in 2013 at the Exponential Conference held on their campus, I was given real insight into what kind of Megachurch/Small Group structure ( which you probably see very often in your training and coaching practice), would be required to implement your Microsite concept.

    God speed and keep me posted as our Lord leads your through this very exciting ministry extension.

    Don Chatelain Tertius29@comcast.net
    @MessiahScrolls #Megachurch

  2. #2 by Dr. Michael Shanlian on October 26, 2015 - 4:23 pm

    I live in SC and am familiar with Seacoast Church. I actually interviewed several years ago to start one of these home based churches in my town. I love the concept. Many people are drawn to larger churches because they offer quality programs and ministries but they like the intimacy of a small group.

  1. Three Reasons for Microsite Campuses | Allen White's Blog
  2. NewSpring Launching Microsite Campuses This Year | Allen White's Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Download Chapter One of Exponential Groups

Join our mailing list to receive Allen's latest thoughts on small groups.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: