The last decade of the 20th century saw the rise of the multisite innovator-pioneers. The first decade of the 21st century saw the wave of the multisite early adopters with over 3,000 multisite venues and campuses launched across North America. Now as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, the middle adopters will mainstream the movement as it speads around the world. Here is my annual forecast concerning multisite trends as we enter 2011 and the next decade:
- The multisite movement began as a band-aid formegachurches that were out of room or limited by zoning restrictions. It quickly evolved into a growth strategy for healthy churches of all sizes and will become a revitalization strategy for stuck or struggling churches. Many of these aging churches are solid, but stuck in non-growing situations because of the inevitable social-demographic changes occurring around them and/or their inability to embrace contemporary worship styles and culturally-relevant ministry practices. Multisiting allows stuck churches to reinvent themselves by extending in new ways and to new locations without abandoning their base. Revitalization mergers also allow smaller struggling churches to have a new beginning by being adopted by a stronger vibrant church. This revitalization will be the impetus in the surge of church mergers that is growing across the church landscape.
- Church leaders will focus less on growing their church and more on reaching an area for Christ through externally-focused multisite campuses and “missional communities” (small groups).
- The new big is small. Though the majority of megachurches have multiple campuses, smaller multisite churches already outnumber them and will lead the way in launching new campuses with a smaller core in smaller communities.
- The rise of the collegiate model of church reproduction. This is the hybrid of mullti-siting and church-planting. Church-planting churches will incorporate multisite campuses and multisite churches will launch church plants. These reproducing churches will be the newtribes or mini-denominations of the future.
- Denominations will integrate multisite into their strategic plans and offer multisite and merger coaching to their churches.
- The buzz word in church circles in the 1980’s wasgrowth. In the 1990’s it was health. At the beginning of the 21st century the word is connected. Effective churches of the future will fully utilize all the social networking tools available to build community and foster relationships.
- Businesses and organizations that serve churches will fully incorporate a multisite orientation in the development and marketing of their products and services.
- Technology will continue to produce more and innovative tools for communicating the Gospel and biblical truth. Multisite churches will lead the way in utilizing these tools. Video-streaming over the internet will be easier, cheaper, and the primary way video sermons will be delivered to multisite churches.
- Multisite churches will explode across Europe, Africa, and Asia in the next decade.
- More mergers, internet campuses, and international campuses.
What do you see on the horizon?