Multisite

ONE CHURCH, MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
We believe God is inviting us to build a growing regional church with a parish mindset, planting local sites of Central Vineyard right across Northamptonshire.

WHAT IS A MULTISITE CHURCH AND WHY ARE WE BECOMING ONE?

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.

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 Gives 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.

ONE CHURCH, MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Each site will carry the same ‘DNA’ and our values will continue to be expressed in all our sites.

Our SIX24 Vision is to plant Central Vineyard sites in six new locations by the year 2024. We are excited to have already started this process in Kettering and Wellingborough, with other possible communities being established in places such as;

  • East Northants
  • Corby
  • Market Harborough
  • South Northants

Sunday Services

The preaching programme will generally remain the same between sites, with our usual team preaching and teaching across them. We also plan to rotate our worship bands, ensuring that our worship continues to pursue the presence of God and intimacy with Jesus. Services will keep the same format (i.e. worship, talk and ministry time) and, don’t worry, there will still be doughnuts and great coffee at every service!

Kids & Youth

Our vision has always been that our kids and young people will love coming to church as much as we do and will grow to love Jesus even more so! We will continue to organise our Sunday morning programme across the sites and our age groups will still be divided into crèche, Mini Grapes, Club V and Central Youth. Our monthly youth service will remain centralised for all our young people to come to. Whichever site our kids or young people are a part of, we are committed to making sure they can encounter Jesus and grow in their faith.

CENTRAL RESOURCES

Much of what we do will remain centralised. 42 Sheep Street will remain a central venue for midweek events and training and our staff team will continue to work together in the office space. Our operations and finance functions will also continue to operate from here.

Re:store

Our compassion ministry, Re:store, which runs projects like Food Bank, Nest and the Hub Drop-in, will also remain centralised. As a site develops we expect it will set up further compassion projects that reflect the needs within that local community.

Groups

These will continue to run centrally and you will still be able to sign-up to whatever group you like. Some of our groups will be linked to a particular site so it might make sense for you to be part of one of these but the choice is yours!

Communications

We will also continue to communicate as one church – we will still have one website and our social media accounts will stay centralised. Our newcomers’ resources will be the same at each site and we will be sure to share stories of what other sites are up to through our social media and emails as well as during our Sunday services.

Each site will have it own Facebook Group page, we encourage you to treat this like an online community bulletin board.

Big Church Sundays

Throughout the year we will come back together as one church to celebrate all that God has been doing.

Finances

As one church with multiple locations, all money that you give will go into one pot, which will be used for both central and local functions.