My last few posts have been about Redemption Church’s multi-congregational model and then about why I believe this model is better than the video multi-site model. (Note: I didn’t say that our church is better than the video multi-site churches, but that our model is better).
In this post, I want to discuss four advantages that the video multi-site model has over the multi-congregational model.
1. Video multi-site leverages the significant strengths of a proven leader.
Churches that can even consider doing video multi-site are led by dynamic, gifted preachers who are often also gifted visionaries. These are often uncommonly gifted men whose gifts create parking problems and crowded rooms.
Whether a video multi-site starts in order to handle numerical growth or to reach a new community (or both), it has an advantage in starting with a proven, gifted leader doing most of the talking rather than a new church planter. While these churches still need good leadership to direct the ministry at the video campuses, there’s a huge advantage to having your teaching pastor be Andy Stanley, Mark Driscoll, James MacDonald, or Matt Chandler.
2. Video multi-site is much simpler.
Notice, I didn’t say that video multi-site is simple. It’s not. Any kind of multi-site is shockingly complicated. But video multi-site is much simpler than multi-congregational (read this post to see my definitions).
- It’s simpler to have one message given by one person via video than to have multiple pastors preaching the same passages.
- It’s simpler to reproduce your ministry to a new community than to shape every aspect of your ministry to a new community.
- It’s simpler to rally everyone around the vision and teaching of one Lead Pastor than multiple key leaders.
- It’s simpler to find a campus pastor who can shepherd and organize people but doesn’t need to preach than to find a church planter who can do all of it.
- It’s simpler to have a campus pastor with limited autonomy than to have a visionary congregation Lead Pastor who can significantly shape the culture and nuanced vision of his congregation.
- It’s simpler to have one visionary leader who calls the shots than to have a plurality of strong leaders who have to work together.
3. Video multi-site more easily creates unified, multi-campus momentum.
There’s a continuum in all multi-site ministry: on one end is “we’re one church,” and on the other is “with multiple locations.” The video multi-site model tend to emphasize “one church” and the multi-congregational model tends to emphasize “multiple locations.”
If the goal is to create a lot of unified synergy, video multi-site is the way to go. Because the preaching comes from one main voice (or few voices) and the ministry is highly unified or even centralized, it’s much easier to create unified momentum. It’s easier to get people at one campus to identify with and rally around the other campuses. This sometimes even allows some video multi-sites to raise money on behalf of other campuses, which would be really hard in a multi-congregational model.
4. Video multi-site can launch and grow new sites faster.
Because of the factors above, video multi-sites can reproduce with much greater speed than multi-congregational churches. For instance, we recently had a church approach us about giving us their property for a new Redemption location. Unfortunately we had to decline. While we have a number of exciting young leaders who are developing, we did not have somebody at the moment ready to carry the leadership and preaching burden. If, on the other hand, we could get one of our associate, staff-level pastors who can shepherd and organize people and put him with video preaching of a highly gifted preacher, we could make that happen quickly.
Additionally, video multi-site churches can often grow faster. One of the major attractions to a church is the quality of the preaching and, with video preaching, the quality is superb. A church like Mars Hill can plant new campuses in cities where they already get many sermon downloads and quickly attract a strong following. Many church people are familiar with big-name preachers and transfer and many unchurched people are impressed with the high-quality communication and check it out.
There are a number of other strengths that video multi-sites and multi-congregations would have in common (reaching new people, multiplying ministry, leveraging administrative strengths and branding, etc.). But these are the places where I think video multi-sites have an edge.
In my next post, I’ll discuss what I think is at the heart of Redemption’s multi-congregational approach. It’s much more than just a “model,” and there are a few crucial elements worth highlighting.
What are some other advantages that you’d add to video multi-site?