10 Tips for Soft Launch Sundays for Multisite Churches

Before the big “Grand Opening” of you next multisite campus you need to host a series of “Soft Launch Sundays”. These are services designed to get all your teams and systems ready before you cut the ribbon. I’ve been involved in a bunch of these over the last 10+ years of launching multisite campuses and here is some essential advice for making your next soft launch Sundays great!
  • beforegrandopeningUnder Promise … Over Deliver // Every time you talk about these services you need to stress with your people that these are “rehearsal” services … that your team will stop the service to fix whatever needs to be fixed. Stress that you are doing this to make everything perfect for their friends at the Grand Opening. But you need to work to ensure that the services are a close to perfect as possible … do some extra band rehearsals … practice your hosting spots … work hard to make it great. Lowering your people’s expectations and then over-delivering on the experience will boost their confidence in inviting friends to the Grand Opening.
  • It’s a Full Service Experiences // Host every environment and pull out every stop. This is a full service experience … don’t tip-toe into these services … make sure everything that you plan on doing when you launch is a part of these services.
  • Do More // How many weekends of “practice” services do you think you need? Do twice as many! There is no downside to “getting it right” before launch Sunday. You don’t want your people wondering if there are going to be any problems on that day. I find that 3-4 weeks of soft launch services is a sweet spot for most churches.
  • “Who are you inviting to Grand Opening?” // This question needs to be on the tip of the tongue of every leader as they talk with people. Talk about who you are inviting from stage … ask people in their team huddles to talk about who they are inviting … take time to pray for the first time guests that will be coming to the Grand Opening. You can’t over message this during this timeframe. Grand Opening only happens once … leverage it as a motivation for your people to invite friends!
  • Structured Feedback // Make sure that you have a mechanism for getting feedback from your leaders after these services. Conference calls work great … or even an emailed out survey can garner feedback from people. The goal of these services is to learn from your people what you can improve for launch Sunday.
  • New Every Weekend // Even though you’re going to work hard to make the services great and ensure that all the equipment is onsite for the first weekend … it’s kinda nice when you can roll out new items every soft launch Sunday for people to see. Adding signage every weekend is great way to show you’re making progress towards launch!
  • Cherish the Family Time // These services will have less people than your Grand Opening Sunday and the services after that. Don’t get bummed out by the smaller crowds … but embrace the chance to love on your core community. Take extra time to talk to people who you might not normally get a chance to connect with at a service. Serve a volunteer lunch one of the weekends (or every weekend!) … sit back and soak in the goodness of your community.
  • RECRUIT! // It will never be as easy as this time to recruit volunteers to join your teams. There will be a significant number of people who will be interested signing up to serve on a team. Don’t look down on this “late adopters” … they just needed to know it was actually going to happen before they could sign up. Just tell ’em “This is a perfect time to join a team!” and get them plugged in.
  • Invite Cards // Make sure have lots of invite cards on hand to give to your people. I like having them bundled up in packs of 10 … great implied message on how many people you want your folks to invite!
  • Don’t Sweat It // Relax … you always have next weekend to sort out the issues that came up this weekend!
How have your soft launch services gone? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!

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Is your church thinking about launching new multisite campuses? Have you already launched a campus or two but are stuck getting the next locations launched? Are you ready to take the next steps in your multisite expansion but aren’t sure where to start? I’m releasing a FREE three-part video series designed to help your church reach more people through multisite church expansion. The lessons in this series come from my practical experience being in the driver’s seat for 13 launches and from helping many other churches like yours! Here is what we’ll be covering in the free video series:
  • Video #1: The Biggest Mistake Churches Make When Launching Campuses. Build an approach to launching locations that avoids this mistake, and your church will scale up to reach more people!
  • Video #2: Keys to Picking a Great Location for Your Next Campus. Apply the lessons in this video and you’ll find effective locations that will aid your church’s growth for years to come!
  • Video #3: 5 Dirty Secrets of the Multisite Church Movement. Finally, get an insider’s look at the underbelly of this movement to better inform your leadership as you move forward!
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  1. “Embrace the chance to love on your core community.”

    What a powerful statement and thought. As church leaders, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. But what an opportunity we have to connect and build close knit community.

    Thanks for sharing this!

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.