Can Multisite be Missional?

Multisite churches must have carefully sorted priorities.

Over the past 15 years, the concept of multisite churches has moved from a rare yet novel blip on most pastor’s ecclesiological radar to the dominant trend most growing churches consider in efforts to sustain continued momentum.

Without delving into the ecclesiological issues that some assert as intrinsically problematic with the multisite model (because most common issues can be addressed through careful and creative structures), this article will try to answer a different question—one that has received very little attention, yet in my opinion, should be the question that we struggle with the most: Can a strategy of multi-siting campuses be a missionally effective approach?

The Missional Problem

While the origin of multi-siting may have had missionary roots, it seems to have quickly shed them. As churches embraced the church-growth paradigm and its corresponding assumptions, they invariably found themselves in competition with other like-minded churches in the city.[1] While few would be so shameless as to suggest that their singular church was the kingdom solution for an entire region, many practically operated in this fashion. Little collaborative attention was given to how best engage the lostness of the city or position the big-C Church in the city for success.

The breakneck pace for bigger buildings, better programs, and more staff, all comes with a price, and this cost necessitates that a church must grow, and grow quickly. Enter the new multisite. Like it or not, most church growth-driven decisions are influenced by what meets the needs of the church’s infrastructure and not what is best for the city as a whole. Those churches that capitalized on the church growth obsession often did so at the expense …

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