The Silent Suffocator of Multisite Church with Jenni Catron

Welcome to another special episode of the unSeminary podcast where we’re continuing to chat about multisite. Today I’m joined by Jenni Catron from the organization 4Sight.

Jenni and her husband helped plant a church in Nashville which introduced her to the world of multisite. During that time she worked at Cross Point Church as the Executive Director for nine years, figuring out how to make multisite work for them. Following her time at Cross Point, Jenni worked at Menlo Church in California, helping relaunch the multisite initiative there. In 2016 she launched 4Sight and began working with churches and nonprofits on culture and strategy, helping them look at the big picture of their ministry and create thriving leaders and healthy organizations.

Jenni is with us today to talk about one of the biggest problems which churches going multisite may experience.

  • The silent suffocator of multisite. // When a church goes multisite, one of the big questions leaders ask is: How do we make sure what is core about who we are gets reproduced at other locations? Culture is often caught at churches, but when locations are spread out and the leadership can’t always physically be available to coach at the campuses, it can create a disconnect.
  • Defining culture. // What makes up the culture at a church? The culture is the values of the organization and team, how you work, and your behavior. A simple equation is value multiplied by behavior equals culture. Churches get stuck when they define what they value, but not what it looks like in a particular situation.
  • Culture needs to be taught. // When a church is smaller, culture is often caught, but as a church grows and especially if it goes multisite, culture needs to be taught. Leaders have to decide how they define their church culture by values, beliefs, and behaviors. Then they need to develop a process for actually transferring that culture. This process will ensure that every team member at every site can help replicate the culture in congruence with who that church is as an organization.
  • Behavior reveals what we value. // A church may define certain things that they value, but what do they actually value based on how they behave? It can be difficult to take a step back and examine the church culture in this way. Consider interviewing someone who has recently joined the team and ask what they think the team values based on their experience so far. Compare and contrast what leadership says they value to what your behavior reveals you value. This exercise will help you drill down to the core of your church’s culture.
  • Teach values. // It will do more damage to your culture if you work to define your values, but never talk about them after that. Your values need to be part of the rhythm of your organization. Create a process by which you consistently and regularly teach and discuss the church’s values whether it’s at staff events, team huddles, or planning meetings.
  • Watch for cultural drift. // If you notice a disconnect happening at a campus level and the staff and volunteers are drifting culturally from the rest of the church, first evaluate if you’ve been in their environment enough to experience it and know what they’re navigating. Own your role in their cultural drift. Is there anything you have not done to make sure they were well-equipped? Make sure you understand the situation and know what a campus leader needs so you can correct the drift happening and coach them well.
  • What is your reality? // 4Site helps church leaders recognize the values and beliefs of their team and teaches them how to transfer culture. First 4Sight does an assessment of how the culture works and where strengths and weaknesses may be, and then they’ll coach organizations through implementing healthy tools for that culture.

You can learn more about 4Sight at their website  Jenni has also provided a download called Get Moving Towards Your Goals: 5 Simple Steps to a Great Strategic Plan.

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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.