All About Multisitemultisitepodcast

All About Multisite // Coaching to Help Your Campuses Thrive This Easter!

Welcome back to our monthly All About Multisite podcast! I’m chatting with a group of multisite ninjas and answering your questions about the ins and outs of launching new campuses. Our group is as follows:

Natalie Frisk is our family ministry expert. She is a key leader from The Meeting House. This church has 19 (!) locations and is doing all kinds of great stuff, including a killer kids’ & youth curriculum that they give away for free. Natalie’s a lot of fun and will have so many great insights around leading in a thriving multisite church.

Greg Curtis is our guest connections and assimilation expert. He leads at Eastside Christian Church, one of the fastest growing churches in the country, and literally, is the “go to” source for getting people to stick and stay in the church. (Eastside has assimilated something like 1,500 people in the last 18 months!) His coaching practice around assimilation is amazing.

Ben Stapley is our communications and service programming expert. Ben is one of the most helpful leaders I know. His day job is the Weekend Experience Director at Christ Fellowship in Miami, but he does so much to help other leaders with the “big show” part of church world.

And I, Rich, have been involved with 14 different campus launches over the years and enjoy helping churches that are thinking about multisite.

We are here to answer your questions about running a multisite church and are excited to be here today with our twelfth episode.

Open Question: Which Easter candy do you like: Peeps or the hollow chocolate Easter bunny?

  • Natalie – It’s clearly the hollow the chocolate bunny. Peeps are like the candy corn of Easter.
  • Greg – I think that because Eastside has a Peeps party for all of our kids during Easter, and they’re going back to their parents all hyper and sticky, I’m going hollow chocolate bunny all the way.
  • Ben – I’m the person who adds another option, so I’m going with those little small hard Cadbury eggs with the little sugar coating on them. I have a hard time not finishing a whole bag at one time.
  • Rich – I would have to say if I had to choose, I would definitely say a chocolate bunny because I’m not sure exactly what Peeps are. It’s like sugarized Styrofoam or something like that.

This month we’ll be doing something a little different on the show. Everyone has been so great at their different churches that they’re coaching all the time and other churches reach out to them. So this episode we’ll have a conversation around Easter and what advice we’ll give to our campus leadership as we get ready for the big day.

Easter is the day that two things happen: Our people are more likely to invite their friends and their friends are more likely to attend. So today we’ll discuss what advice we’d give to our campus leadership and also to other churches as we come into these last three and a half weeks before Easter.

Greg: Eight things to think about when preparing teams for Easter.

#1: Preparing and providing great parking lot attendants. Obviously your parking lot will be bigger and more full. It’s easy to think your other sites are smaller than your broadcast site and you don’t need more parking, but a lot of these sites are not traditional churches and are in places such as movie theaters or high schools so it’s important to be welcoming and give them the feeling of “We’ve arrived at the right place.” Think of the first impression you want someone to have.

#2: Offer something unexpected and free when they come in. Such as a snack, like donuts and coffee. If you are worried that you may have a service that is too full and won’t have enough room for everyone to sit, let everyone know that there will be a free snack at only one of the lighter services, such as offering the coffee and donuts only at the early morning service as an incentive for people to make room for guests in later services.

#3: Give your guest experience teams permission to go off script on greetings. Train your people to give something P.U.R.E. to the guests. P.U.R.E. stands for Positive Unexpected Relational Experience.

#4: Stack your guests’ experiences with extra team members. An easy way to do that is to mobilize all the staff who don’t have a role in the services themselves that Easter. They can put on a yellow vest and be part of the parking lot team, give tours, or help people.

#5: The gift you give away in exchange for people’s contact information matters. If you want to make a disciple start by having the contact information to build a relationship.

#6: Make sure you have an assimilation follow up plan beginning on Easter. Let them get an email after 48 hours from the lead pastor or campus pastor that welcomes them, shares what the vision is, and invites them to go to next steps when they’re ready.

#7: You might consider sending invitations to an awesome post-Easter message series. If you feel that you’ll be reaching a lot of people who don’t have faith on Easter then craft your message that way.

#8: Only have “one ask” for guests. For Easter just let them know to go get a free gift because you’re so happy they’re here and to share with you their contact info when they go over there if they will. Make sure the follow up “one ask” is appropriate for your church and will connect them with God.

Ben: What can you do before the weekend, during the weekend, and then after the weekend to maximize it? Before the weekend of Easter, churches still have the opportunity to create an invitational culture. Don’t ask your guests to invite people, tell them who you’re inviting. If you tell them to invite you’re just giving them another action step, but if you tell them who you’re inviting you as a leader create a culture of modeling who you’re inviting. Make sure to have physical and digital invitations. Leverage the other holidays before Easter, such as Lent, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, and Good Friday. Create extra devotional content so that people can be more interested in spiritual content as the holiday is coming up. And finally, post service times everywhere so that people who aren’t familiar with your church can know when to come. Post the times on Facebook and Twitter with the posts pinned to the top.

During the Easter services, maximize the power of Easter services multiple times across your campuses instead of once well and then mediocre the rest of the time. Have a photo booth so people can get a photo of themselves dressed for Easter and to use on social media if they want. Use extra steps to brand it with your church logo on the background and offer props to be used.

After Easter, thank your volunteers. You can send them a thank you card and add in a gift card too. Plan your post-Easter debrief right away. Meet with the staff to know what worked and what didn’t, what you should add or subtract. Be different as a church body. How has God uniquely called you to live out His gospel?

Natalie: Inviting people and making them realize an incredible opportunity is more than just a service opportunity. With volunteers, asking them to do things on these holidays that aren’t on their regular times may get messy but it is an opportunity to make them see the big picture. Make sure volunteers are early. On the subject of Messianic Seder, there is one on the website of Jennifer Dukes Lee and for families with children to go through the whole experience and shows the symbolism and meaningfulness in the ritual of the Seder meal.

Good Friday and Easter Sunday weekends are two of the few times that guarantee parents and kids to align on the same content. Don’t be afraid to let kids know the whole story about Jesus’s death and going to be with His Father. And for both adults and children don’t end the story with the death of Jesus, let them know about the light that is coming one day. Make sure the experience on Easter is important, such as providing crafts for the kids that remind the entire family.

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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.