About the author  ⁄ Jim Tomberlin

Jim Tomberlin began his multi-site church journey in the mid-1990s when he was the senior pastor of Woodmen Valley Chapel. In 2000 he went on to pioneer the multi-site model at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. Since 2005 he has been consulting and coaching churches in developing and implementing multi-campus strategies. As Founder and Senior Strategist of MultiSite Solutions , Jim leads a seasoned team of practitioner specialists who can help you maximize the redemptive potential of your church.

7 Reasons NOT to Become a Multisite Church

When I launched the first video-based satellite campus of Willow Creek in 2001 the primary question was, “Can this work?” Hundreds of multisite churches later, the question has shifted to, “Should my church go multisite?” What started out as a “Band-Aid” for space and zoning problems of megachurches has developed into a viable option for every local church regardless of size. Multisite is no longer a question of feasibility for a church, but more of a question of strategy, “Is it right for my church?” ...

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3 Stages of the Church Merger ‘Dance’

Church mergers are occurring in an unprecedented way today across North America. These mergers are more mission-driven and future-focused as opposed to the failed mergers of the past that were more survival-driven and focused on preserving the past. Mergers that have a multisite outcome report a higher success rate and satisfaction factor than mergers that unite into one location. Every merger involves a lead church and a joining church. The merging of churches is a delicate dance where one leads and the other follows. Should two churches consider merging? ...

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Top 10 Church Merger Facts

Church mergers may be called by many names, but the core idea is that two or more churches becoming one through the combining, integrating and unifying of people, structures, systems, and resources to achieve a common purpose: To do life and ministry together as a vibrant, healthy expression of Christ’s body, the Church. ...

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Church Merger Challenges and Costs

There is a growing trend of church mergers happening across the country. Nearly forty percent of the multisite churches in America today derive at least one of their campuses through a merger with another church. As a result navigating churches through the merger process has become a major component of our consulting at MultiSite Solutions. Senior Associate Wade Burnett and I interact in this interview over the costs of church mergers, using his own church merger experience as a guide: Wade, how did your church merger come about? I was serving on the leadership team at Crossroads Church which I ...

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Multisite Church is New “Normal” in America

With the landscape of church changing dramatically in America, church models are shifting to better support today’s church-goer. In an increasingly secularized nation with overall church attendance in decline, multisite churches are growing in number and church attendance. The multisite strategy has become the “new normal” for healthy and growing churches in urban, suburban and rural communities. Leadership Network reports that an estimated 5 million people attend one of the more than 8,000 multisite churches across North America. Going multisite changes how church leaders think and do church. So how is the “new normal” of multisite changing how we do ...

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5 Shifts in the Landscape of Church Space

The church building and religious-use facility industry is being dramatically and permanently altered by factors that began emerging at the dawn of the 21st century. In 1989 popular author Ken Follett wrote a riveting best-selling novel “Pillars of the Earth” about the factors that influenced the building of cathedrals in the Middle Ages. Those factors influenced church construction and facility use for nearly a millennium. Today there are new factors that are dramatically shifting the way we build and utilize church facilities. [Tweet “”Today there are new factors that are dramatically shifting the way we build and utilize church facilities.” ...

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14 Commandments of Video Preaching

[Editor’s Note: This article by Jim Tomberlin first appeared on CTT back in 2012. It’s advice is still current today – we hope it helps you understand the in’s and out’s of video preaching.] Of the estimated 8,000+ multisite churches in North America, half deliver their sermons by way of video and the other half utilize live-in person teaching.   With this many people worshiping and receiving spiritual instruction in this manner, it is very important to keep these “commandments” in mind when delivering sermons live as well as via video. 1. Thou Shalt Omit References to Time, Day, and ...

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New Rules for Church Buildings in a Multisite World

The church is not a building. The church is people. Jesus did not say, “I will build a building.” He said, “I will build my Church.” There is a big difference. Though the Church is a universal and spiritual reality, it also has a visible and physical expression. Whenever followers of Jesus gather together in His name, they meet in a place. They are the ecclesia “assembly,” a tangible expression of the body of Christ. These assemblies meet in a place. This place becomes sacred space not because of location or architecture but because Jesus is present with them in a spiritual and corporate sense. Buildings are ...

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9 Top Multisite Church Trends for 2014

The multisite model continues to be a proven and cost-effective vehicle for churches in reaching, serving and engaging more people locally and regionally. Leadership Network reports there are over 5,000 expressions of multisite church across North America with nearly 7 million people attending a multisite church nationwide. As Ed Stetzer concluded in the 2013 annual Outreach Magazine issue of the 100 Largest and Fastest Growing Churches in America “the common denominators of multisite, small groups and community engagement surface throughout 2013.” The multisite experiment began as a pre-recession band-aid strategy for megachurches that were out of room or restricted by ...

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Top 10 Traits of a Multisite Church

When does a church move from being a church with multiple campuses and truly become a church of multiple campuses?  The change in the prepositions “with and of” is dramatic and very few multisite churches have made that change. The latest survey of multisite churches in 2010 by Leadership Network revealed that 85% of multisite churches have three or fewer geographic campuses. Ten years ago church consultant and guru Lyle Schaller told me that many churches will add a second campus and even a third campus, but very few will launch a fourth campus,  but those who do will launch more than four ...

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