Central Vineyard is a multisite church reaching out across Northamptonshire and beyond by starting new sites and communities in different locations, whilst staying united as one church.
WHY MULTISITE CHURCH?
A multisite church is one church that meets in multiple locations across a region or city. This is different to a church plant, where a new church is planted from an existing church and has its own leadership, vision and values. Instead, we will remain as one church with the same leadership and DNA across all our locations.
Below are some of the reasons we think multisite is a good strategy for us:
1. It’s the Tool God has Given Us.
When we arrived in Northampton in 2003 we had a dream to plant a church that over time would have enough resources to plant churches. The picture we had was to plant a church that would be like a hub of a wheel. This hub would eventually have a number of different spokes representing different churches situated in different geographical locations. The hub and spoke picture talked about how these future churches would somehow remain connected to a central resource, a hub! Giving them the freedom to minister and reach out to their location, while a central hub set the tone and the vision and took care of the legal and financial structures. This vision for our future was formed long before the language of multisite existed in our minds and long before the various multisite models we now see in widespread operation.
2. It Keeps Us Focused On Multiplication
Multisite is missional at its core, starting with the recognition that healthy things grow! Throughout Jesus’ teaching we see that multiplication is a Kingdom reality. When Jesus is around, things multiply. Pursuing a multisite strategy pushes us to expect and pursue growth, not for our own glory, but for God’s. It keeps our focus as a church not just on who we are but also on who we are becoming.
3. It Allows for Long-term Neighbourhood Impact
We believe the places that God provides for us to dwell are important to him. Although we are a regional church with people coming from many different parts of the county, many are increasingly desiring to participate in a church that is closer to home with the good goal of becoming more meaningfully involved in life in and around their neighbourhood. We think multisite gives us the opportunity to continue to grow across Northamptonshire with the resources of a large regional church, yet at the same time empower congregations to do what they do best in a local town and neighbourhood context.
Multisite allows us to grow more connected to a neighbourhood, relationships take time, and multisite lets us take the long view and seek to really know and serve our neighbours. Yet as the congregation grows, multisite continually offers the “release valve opportunity” of launching new congregations in different locations. We believe this honours the place where God has planted us, gives us increased opportunities with our neighbours, and simultaneously allows God to call out and commission people to start new things in other places.
4. It Give Some Advantages over Church Planting
The key difference between multisite and traditional church-planting is that a planted multisite congregation maintains a vital, life-giving connection with the mother church, and this makes a huge difference in the potential for success. 80% of traditional church plants fail within the first 5 years, while 80% of multi-site plants are still thriving at the end of 5 years. Research shows that this is due to the incredible amount of effort and emotional commitment that is required to birth a new church and the strength of sharing this burden more fully with a “mother” church, especially in the early years. This doesn’t mean we don’t believe in more traditional church planting models and we still see ourselves raising up and sending out church planters that will start autonomous daughter churches.
5. It Provides Room to Welcome New People
Multisite keeps us in a place where we can “handle” growth. When a group of people exit a congregation to start something new, it provides room for new people. It also has the potential for more exponential growth. Living cells don’t just grow…they multiply. One becomes two, two become four, and four become eight. This truly takes us past addition towards the potential for multiplication.
Irrespective of the advantages that we see with the multisite model, we believe the Lord has spoken to us, that this is his agenda for us in this season of church life. And so through prophetic words, wise council and the conviction of our own hearts we are taking this step towards a multisite strategy.