Multi-Site Neighborhood Church
In my last few blog posts, I have been documenting what I see as the value of the Neighborhood Church. I am using this term to describe a church that is between 120 and 500 in size, and has great value, primarily because of its proximity to a community that needs a life-giving church.
The other model that is most often discussed, is what is commonly known as the Mega Church. There are a number of definitions as to what is ‘Mega’ - but I have suggestion that it is a church of 1500 and beyond. There are probably levels of ‘Mega’ - and some are in the Mega-Mega category. But for our purposes, let’s just use the 1500 number for comparison.
The Mega Church has several advantages not available to the Neighborhood Church:
Finances - there is more money available for everything.
Talent - there is a deeper bench and a stronger potential leadership pipeline.
People - just having more people in the room, provides more to serve, give, and send.
Leadership Speed - often a Mega Church is led by someone who is demanding a certain pace of execution which enables a church to grow. When leadership speed is lacking, there are lulls in momentum which makes growth stall.
Excellence - because of all of the above, there is a level of quality that can be produced, just because of the combined resources available to the Mega Church situation.
The Neighborhood Church has all of the above, but they may not have it with the same degree of abundance. This feels very much like a standing disadvantage to a church of this particular size.
Starting in 2012, Allison Park Church launched into a plan to become a regional church within the Greater Pittsburgh area. We are now functioning as six locations (five of which fit into the Neighborhood Church category). Several of these locations were started by Allison Park Church, specifically to be Campuses. Two of them, were pre-existing Neighborhood Churches that decided to join our regional network.
What has happened is a sharing of the wealth of having a family of Campuses. Since we work together, and plan together, and disciple people together - we have a greater pool of resources available to us as a whole.
Finances - are often sown into Neighborhood Campuses for improvements.
Talent - is recruited by all and shared when needed.
People - when we all get together for a regional event, you realize just how many of us are out there.
Leadership Speed - that’s what I provide to the group. Campus Pastors meet with me weekly, and we set a strategy and pace that keeps everyone on track.
Excellence - because of the combined effort, we can demand a higher level of quality than if we were all functioning alone.
My suggestion is that Multi-Site Neighborhood Church is the best of both worlds. I believe that more and more, there will be networks of Neighborhood Churches that join together to submit to one another and help each other succeed.
In a future post, I will share some of those ideas.