Keeping Your Multi-sites on the Same Page

A few months ago I had the privilege of being one of the guest presenters at Leadership Networks Multi-site Innovation Lab.  During this two day experience eight multi-site churches gathered to develop a plan to move from a few sights to ten or more sites.  One of the questions that came up frequently in these two days was how to keep multi-site campuses unified toward the same vision when they’re so spread out.  At Seacoast we have thirteen campuses spread across three states so this is something we have to continually work on.  Here are a few things we’ve learned on our journey.   

Clarify your DNA.  Know you’re strengths and reproduce those.  For example one of the marks of Seacoast is the way we do our worship response time.  We went to great lengths to make sure each of our campuses reflect this aspect of who we are.  One of the biggest mistakes churches make when going multisite is launching a campus without thinking about who they really are and what they can truly replicate.  Once a campus launches it begins to take on an identify of it’s own that may not reflect the vision and values of the organization if careful attention isn’t given to shaping the DNA from the beginning.

Engage Each Campus in Evaluation and Innovation – Geoff Surratt who leads the Multisite efforts at Seacoast does an amazing job of engaging our campus pastors in conversations about critical issues regarding the future.  By bringing them into the discussions they feel apart of a team that executes the vision rather than hired hands who have to carry out the vision.  If you are hiring guys who are leaders as your campus pastors then they want to have a voice and be apart of the decision making process.  It has been fascinating over the years to watch how some of our outlaying campuses can impact the programs, schedule and feel of Seacoast.  Everything doesn’t just flow from the original campus anymore. All of our campuses are encouraged to share ideas and innovations.  Recently one of the biggest events we did all year long was initiated by one of our smallest campuses. 

Communicate regularlyShawn Wood who takes responsibility for communicating the details of the weekend experiences does an outstanding job sending regular communications to our campuses keeping them aware of scheduling and major events that are ahead during the year.  A lack of communication is one of the fastest ways to destroy a unified effort.  I love Maxwell’s statement about communication when he says, “People tend to be down on what they aren’t up on.”  Your outlaying campuses will begin to feel disconnected and disrespect if they are finding things out too late or after the fact.  To keep your sites unified put together good communication systems. 

Meet Consistently – Every month we have an All Staff meeting where all staff members from all campuses join together for a half day of meetings.  This day goes a long way in pulling us all together and keeping us all on the same page.  Our schedule for the day is as follows:

  • 9:30-11 Ministry Meetings.  Small groups, missions, first touch, students, children, worship, administrative assistants and campus pastors all have meetings where they discuss issues related to their ministry.
  • 11-12:15 Celebration.  During this time we worship together, celebrate victories from the month, introduce new people and hear a challenging message from Pastor Greg.
  • 12:15-1:30 Lunch.  While the Campus Pastors gather to eat lunch with Pastor Greg others are free to eat with who ever they would like and spend time connecting.

Be A Part of the Worlds Largest…

Isn’t it fun to make history and be a part of something big?  Today’s your chance, you can be a part of the largest multi-site survey in history!

The multi-site movement has skyrocketed in recent years.   Currently, one out of four megachurches has gone multi-site, and a third of all churches are considering it. Seven of America’s 10 fastest-growing churches are multi-site, and nine of the 10 largest churches are multi-site.  So clearly this is a method God is using to spread the gospel. 

In an effort to help multi-site churches learn from one another Leadership Network just launched the largest multi-site survey in history.  (Well, Okay it will be if you help us gather the input we need from multi-site leaders)  Whether you have one satellite campus or dozens, your participation really matters.

What are the benefits of taking this survey?

  1. You get a FREE copy of our illustrated report, emailed to you before it goes public.
  2. You (and anyone at your church) can be part of a June 24th invitational webinar with several multi-site pioneers, who will talk about long-term implications of multi-site
  3. You will influence hundreds if not thousands of other churches who are exploring the idea of becoming “one church in multiple locations”.  If you are interested check out the other Leadership Network reports on multi-site at

The survey should take 15 minutes or less. Our preference is one reply per church. But we’d rather have two or more responses per church rather than none. So if you have one designated staff person who oversees your church’s multi-site strategy, please check whether that person has already participated.

So what are you waiting for?  Go to this link and share what you’ve learned on your multi-site journey

Also if you’re not a member of Leading Multi-site, a social network community for multi-site leaders to share best practices, sign up free today at

Should Our Church Go Multi-site?

Should your church go multi-site?  This is a huge question many churches are wrestling with.  Over the past few years multi-site has grown from a strange new approach a few churches were experimenting with, to a movement that thousands of churches are now using to reach the lost.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to spend an entire day with Randy Bezet, Senior Pastor of Bayside Community Church in Bradenton, Florida.  Randy planted Bayside seven years ago and has witnessed phenomenal growth.  After seven years of being a portable church they just recently moved into their new building!  Randy and some of his team came to Seacoast to ask us some questions about their multi-site plans.  I asked Randy to share the questions they’re asking as they consider this strategic move for their church. In this four minute video interview he shares some great insights for churches who are considering making the move to multi-site.   In the video he refers to our Multi-site Network called Leading Multi-site.  You can join for free at  You can follow Randy on Twitter @randybezet. 

Leadership Network Innovation Labs

I was in Dallas recently assisting with one of Leadership Network’s Innovation Labs.  Innovation Labs are designed to help you overcome the common obstacles to innovative thinking and problem solving in developing a ministry area.  

Is your church looking for the chance to explore new ideas and discover a new path? Do you sometimes feel caught between ideas and action? You’re not alone. That’s why Leadership Network has developed The Innovation Lab, a unique environment designed to help you overcome the common obstacles to innovative thinking and problem solving in developing a ministry area.

JumpStart Innovation Labs are designed to give you a quick start in a ministry area, based on the proven results of others.  Leadership Network is launching the two new multi-site jumpstart labs in 2010.   If you are interested or know of someone that might be, email Greg Ligon at  In the video below Greg shares the vision of these labs.

Exploring the New Frontier of Internet Campuses

A while back I asked my friend DJ Chuang, Director of Leadership Community and Digital Initiatives at Leadership Network, to shoot a video for our Leading Multisite Social Network Community and talk about the recent movement of Internet Campuses.   In this video DJ explains what an internet campuses is and some of the benefits of this new approach to ministry.  While many still question the method it’s undeniable that it’s a growing trend and reaching people in this age of social media.   Multi-site expert Jim Tomberlin speaking of the future of Internet Campus says, “It’s no longer just a megachurch phenomenon. Any tech-savvy, outreach-oriented church, regardless of size, can and will reach into cyberspace. 2010 will bring an explosion of Internet campuses”  Scroll below the video for resources on Internet Campus ministry.

If you’re interested in learning more about Internet Campus Ministry here are a few resources you may find helpful:

What churches are you aware of that have an Internet Campus?  Have you ever attended an Internet Campus service?

Multi-site Lessons from a Multisite Leader

I had the chance recently to spend some time with Matt Fry, lead pastor at C3 Church in Clayton, NC.  Matt is a dynamic leader who God has used to lead C3 to some amazing growth over the past 11 years.  In this video Matt shares about C3’s recent decision to go Multi-site and what he’s learned on this journey.  Scroll down below the video for My Takeaways from the video.  You can follow Matt on Twitter at @mattfry, check out C3’s website at and make sure you stop by his blog at

My Takeaways

  • One of the major factors that can keep a church from growing is the size of the facility.  If the box is not big enough you can only hold so many people and limit your growth.
  • Multi-site is a strategic way to help your church grow and reach your community when you’re limited by facilities or finances.
  • There’s no one way of doing multi-site.  Learn all you can from those doing it and then go with what God gives you.  If you need some support, ideas and answers make sure you check out our Multi-site Social Networking Community where you can connect with and learn from over 600 multi-site leaders.
  • When you decide to go multi-site make sure you count the cost.  While there are many long term gains, there are some short term pains.  Some of your core people leave to go help start the new campus.  It takes time to back fill, but the void opens up opportunities for those who have been on the sidelines to get into the game.
  • Multi-site takes dollars, resources and leadership.
  • I loved it when Matt said, “People are getting saved watching me on video at our multi-site campus!”  Multi-site is another strategic approach to evangelism.  Over 2000 Churches today have multiple campuses.

If you enjoyed Matt’s story make sure you tweet him a word of encouragement @mattfry.

Learning the Benefits of Multi-site

My friend Sebastiaan Van Wessem came for a visit to Seacoast recently to learn more about multi-site ministry.  Sebastiaan is the lead pastor of Thousand Hills International Church in Hilversum, Netherlands.  This young pastor is one of the most teachable and hungry leaders I’ve ever meet, and God is using him to reach the lost in a very difficult territory.  Sebastiaan was one of the earliest members of our Leading Multisite Social Networking Community; when he heard about Seacoast mentor based approach to leadership development he implemented it right away; at a recent conference I watched as he hardly made it to sessions because he was so busy networking and learning from anyone he could talk to.  He  exemplifies the truth- when a leader remains teachable, he remains usable.  In this video interview Sebastiaan shares about Thousand Hills decision to go multi-site and what he’s learning along his multi-site journey. 

Reproducing Your DNA with Pastor Jeff Leake

I had the chance to sit down recently with Pastor Jeff Leake from Allison Park Church near the Pittsburg area.  Jeff has a huge heart for leadership development and church planting.  In this video he shares some great insights about helping transfer values in the leadership development process.  Scroll down below the video to see my takeaways.

My Takeaways

  • Values are more caught than taught
  • Leadership development is the key  to transfering values
  • Leaders have to be a part of a culture for a signficant time in order to really catch the values of an organization
  • We must have intentional conversations with those we are developing about our DNA and values
  • It’s not until a potential leader gets out on his own that his values are really tested
  • We have to allow people to learn through failure
  • It is essential that we keep an ongoing relationship of influence with those we have developed, coaching, encouraging and resourcing them.

Lastest Developments in Multi-site, Warren Bird

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Warren Bird. Warren who has a great heart for working with innovative pastors and church leaders, is Director of Research for Leadership Network. He oversees many of Leadership Network’s research initiatives, intellectual capital development, and internal publications.

Warren has authored many publications for Leadership Network. He has also collaboratively authored a number of books—a total of 19 at present—which includes his latest book The Multi-Site Road Trip, which is collaboratively authored with Geoff Surratt and Greg Ligon. You can find More titles are listed at

Leading Multi-site Update

There are some interesting and exciting things in the works for the Leading Multisite Social Network Community. Find out more in this latest video. If you are a multisite leader and are interested in being a part of this Leadership Development project send me an email at