Why Beltsville Church is a

Multisite Church- Part 2

April 4, 2018 by Tim Madding

Why Go Multisite?

What is a multisite church?

It is one church in multiple locations or sites. The main idea is that all locations share a common mission, vision, leadership, budget and governing board.

How is a multisite church different from a church plant?

A new church plant has a mission, budget, leadership or governing board different from the original location. A multisite church is one church in multiple locations; a church plant is a brand new church (i.e., two churches in two different locations).

Why not a separate church plant?

Both approaches are good and are in line with the biblical value of multiplication. The form that this function takes depends on time and location. Because the biblical value is multiplication or reaching more people with the gospel, evangelism should be the dominant motivating factor in either launching a new site or planting a new church.

What are some advantages of using the multisite approach?

• Shared Leadership: the strength of the first site in terms of mission, vision, leadership, and culture makes the new site stronger from day one.

• Shared Resources: the processes for message planning, leadership training, communication, budget, etc., give the new location a jump start. The pastor who oversee the location can focus on evangelism and making disciples rather than spending time in weekly message preparation.

• Shared Commitment: the commitment of an established congregation in prayer, financial resources and relationships provides a mature base that is not as available to a smaller, independent church plant.

• Strong Reputation: those considering church may have some knowledge of Beltsville Church that gives them some confidence in checking out the site near them.

Why is Beltsville Church launching sites?

Our mission has kept us continually addressing ways to reach our community. Throughout the recent growth, there has been a sense that we don’t want to simply build a larger campus. We want to reach our friends and neighbors where they live, rather than bring them all to one large campus. One way many churches are expanding their reach is by opening new locations or sites in specific neighborhoods or areas. We think this is a wise way to reach more people and are moving toward becoming one church with multiple locations.

What’s the connection between sites?

The sites share staff, resources, teaching and ministries. Each site will develop its unique identity over time but will be directed by Beltsville Church’s mission, values and leadership.

What about other churches?

Our desire to move into different neighborhoods is not meant to compete with local churches. We have enjoyed a positive relationship with many local churches and celebrate what God is already doing through them. We don’t want to detract from that in any way. Our sites will simply create additional avenues to reach people and impact the city. Ultimately, we want to reach folks who are not already enfolded into a community of faith.

Why consider going multisite as a church over remaining one church in one location or church planting?  Here are just a few of the recognized advantages of a multisite church (according to Ed Stetzer & Greg Ligon):

1.     Reaches more people than single site churches.  As is often the case, a single site church focuses its ministry exclusively on its own and lacks the ability too work in cooperation with other churches because of a difference in ministry approaches.  As Beltsville Church adds additional campuses, it increases not only its footprint by reaching more people for the Kingdom of Heaven, but replicates it ministry style, allowing a greater collaboration with campuses.

2.     Tend to spread healthy churches to more diverse communities.  Because Beltsville Church is a healthy church that has developed meaningful core values and effective church ministry systems, it produces new campuses that are healthy in other communities throughout the greater DC area.

3.     Have more volunteers in service as a percentage than single site churches.  Simply put- more people are equipped in their gifts and are plugged into ministry as others are sent as missionaries to reach other communities.

4.     Baptize more people than single site.  A healthy campus focuses more on evangelism than an traditional church plant- resulting in more people coming to Jesus Christ.

5.     Tend to activate people into ministry more than a single site.  When you send people away to another campus, it creates new opportunities for people to plug in at the previous campuses.

6.     Assists in reaching friends and family unwilling to travel a great distance to church.  People generally do not like to travel a great distance for church.  By planting additional campuses, we are able to expand Beltsville’s ministry footprint by taking Beltsville’s ministry to other communities throughout the greater DC area where people live.

7.     Brings together the best aspects of larger churches and smaller churches.  In addition to having the resources of a large church and a feeling of smaller, community churches, we build on the strengths of all of the campuses.  No campus is felt to be alone.

8.     Increases the total number of available seats during optimal worship times.  More people able to worship and be discipled in Jesus Christ.

9.     Overcomes geographic barriers when a church facility is landlocked or tightly zoned. We cannot expand Beltsville’s Ammendale campus, but we can expand its ministry impact in the greater DC area.

10.  Enables untapped talent to emerge each time a new venue or site is opened.  Every time a new campus is launched an opportunity for service is provided for others in the church.

11.     Mobilizes volunteers through an added variety of ministry opportunities. As each new campus is planted, new ministry opportunities are created.  Some of these opportunities, based on the location of the new site may provide ministries opportunities not yet available in the existing church.

12.  Improves a church’s stewardship of funds and resources.  As the church focuses on mission and the addition of sites, resources are focused on the mission.

13.  Enables a church to extend itself into smaller niches.  There are a variety of people groups and communities through the greater DC area that Beltsville Church, with its original campus, cannot reach.  Yet as we expand sites we have the opportunity to focus our mission and strategy on the people within the community we are trying to reach.

14.  Models and trains people for church planting elsewhere. Beltsville Church is already equipping other church planters through the world.

15.  Provides a pipeline for the development of emerging leaders and future staff.  As our mission and strategic plan becomes larger than one local campus our development of leaders becomes more intentional in developing a process of equipping missional disciples that reaches our growing ministry context.

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