There was a time in the 90s when the idea of one church meeting across multiple sites felt pretty revolutionary, but that’s no longer the case. Multisite churches are pretty common now. In fact, there’s been a lot of talk about gigachurches that are choosing to expand by adding new sites and services.
But it’s not just 10,000 member churches that are going the multisite route—church plants are coming right out of the gate with this model in mind. A good multisite church is harder to pull off than you might think. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to become a series of loosely affiliated churches rather than one church meeting in multiple locations.
If you want to truly be unified across many campuses, these tech tools will help:
1. Use one church management app for all locations
Multisite churches have a unique set of challenges. The volunteer needs are great and the staff roles are specific. This can become a headache when using church management software. There’s a temptation to run a separate account for each location, but that helps contribute to your one church becoming separate churches with one name.
Make sure that your church management app allows for ministers and volunteers to move between sites, for information to be gathered in a way that’s accessible to the entire organization, and staff to be maintained at individual locations.
2. Take advantage of livestreaming
For multisite churches that are just getting off the ground, livestreaming is a must. It’s a simple way to share your service across multiple sites. People who meet in a church building can share their entire service with a group that meets in a home.
Check out services like Boxcast or Churchstreaming.TV to see how live video can get your multisite up and running.
3. Create one church blog
Maintaining a church blog can be a great way to provide inspiration and teaching to your members while reinforcing that your campuses are all part of one cohesive church. Solicit content from staff members and volunteers from every campus, and make sure that the author bylines include a picture and mentions the campus where they worship.
When people read content on the blog, they’ll see faces they will identify, and become familiar with staff from other campuses, too. They should also be able to read stories and testimonies from each campus. This helps them visualize how their site fits in with the larger church body.
4. Use one social media account for every platform
Someone might have a good argument for maintaining Facebook pages for each site, but you should avoid it if possible. Sharing one Facebook page or Instagram account for the entire organization is the better way to go. This way you’re creating one brand instead of multiple brands that are competing for attention.
If you try to maintain multiple social media platforms, you’ll ultimately have some that are being done poorly which puts a drag on the whole organization. Put your best people from every campus on a communications team that can create a singular stellar brand.
The upside for the church is that, this way, everyone becomes more familiar with each of the campuses. As you share stories, videos, and testimonies from each campus, church members are moved to pray for and celebrate with them. This helps create and sustain a sense of unity.
5. Get a church mobile app
Amazon has over 90 warehouse locations, but no one really thinks about them when they open the Amazon app. In their mind, they’re just making a purchase from Amazon—that one store with many locations. Having a singular church app can have the same effect on your members.
When they log into your app, they’re experiencing the church, not just their church site. They receive updates from the church blog, they receive prayer requests from each campus, and they get access to the church ministry information. When they’re inspired to give, they know they’re giving to maintain the entire church.
Maintaining Unity Takes Work
Many multisite churches are really just a number of loosely related individual churches. It takes intentional effort to ensure that your multi-campus church feels like one community of faith. Thankfully, there are more tech opportunities than ever before to help maintain a sense of unity.