Multisite Misconceptions: Let’s launch now!

We’re looking at three common misconceptions that I’ve seen as churches consider launching into the multiplying their influence through this becoming a multisite church.  I’ve seen these misconceptions in the churches I’ve worked directly for . . . and in the churches I’ve served in an advisory role.

“Measure twice, cut once.” – My Dad

“Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.”  – British Army Field Service Manual

One of the trends I’ve noticed is that churches take longer to launch their second “offsite” campus than their first.  It would seem like the sting of having one child makes people think longer about having the second.

Lots of churches start thinking about multisite because they have some measure of “success”.  They’re busting at the seems in their services.  People seem to be attracted to their environments.  They’re growing and need to do something about it . . . now!  The misconception is that there is no time like the now to launch!

You only get one chance to launch your first campus.  Please (PLEASE!) take some extra time at the front end of the planning process for the first campus to walk before you run.  Extra planning, prayer, discernment and preparation for the first campus will help in the long run!

Here are just a few reasons you need to take a little longer during the planning phase for the first campus:

  • Culture – Your leadership culture and community took years to bake.  Now you are going to need to replicate that with a new group of people.  It takes time.  Culture is often more caught than taught.
  • Location – You don’t want to negotiate a location under time pressure.  When time is on your side you’ll have more options and be able to evaluate them with a clear head.
  • Change – People don’t like change. Organizations are made up of people.  Your organization doesn’t like to change.  It takes a while for people to get their head around the new idea.
  • Staffing – Finding the right team for the new campus can be tricky.  Acquiring, training and releasing staff takes times.
  • Finances – A purposeful timeline gives you more opportunity to build up the financial resources needed to launch well.  Use the time to work with donors to build up the financial structure needed for a strong launch!
Did you launch too soon!?  Don’t sweat it.  Organizations make this mistake all the time.  I’ve been reading Howard Schultz’s book “Onward” . . . about the rebirth of Starbucks.  It made me so happy to hear about their botched launch of breakfast sandwiches.  The system they originally had in place was burning the cheese and making an awful smell in their locations.  It made me feel better about premature launch stuff I’ve been involved with!  If a company like Starbuck can stumble on a launch . . . there is a pretty good chance that we’re going to!
I’d love to hear from you!  What is a greater danger . . . launching too early or taking too long in the planning phase? [Leave your comments now!]


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