Thom S. Rainer: The Multisite Church Movement is Still Growing and Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

The multisite movement is, by historical standards, a recent phenomenon. The 2005 research by Todd Rhoades found 10 such churches in 1990, a number that grew to about 100 by 1998. I am a part of that history since I led the church I served as pastor to go multisite in 1992.

Leadership Network research noted the number of multisite churches increased to more than 5,000 by 2012. I have coined this strategic approach “horizontal growth.” The church is expanding beyond a single site (vertical growth) to more than one site.

The multisite movement is not a fad. It is indeed a movement in many ways. There have been thousands and thousands of churches move in this direction around the world. Not everyone likes or embraces the multisite movement; but it is hard for anyone to deny its growth and paradigmatic impact.

I will add to this conversation with six updates about the movement. Some are obvious; some may not be quite as evident.

  1. All indicators point to continued growth of the multisite movement. I do not have firm updates on the number of these churches, but I would not be surprised if it is close to 10,000 in North America.
  2. The movement is moving from the early adopter stage to the mid-adopter stage. I estimate the percentage of American congregations moving to multisite is close to three percent. This number is a significant level pointing toward a breakout of many more churches.
  3. Recent decisions by some churches to revert back to a single site are not indications the movement is slowing. Recent decisions by a few churches to revert from multisite to single site are not indicators of a reversal of the trends. The Village Church in Texas and Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte are two well-known churches making news with their decisions. The leadership of both churches have stated good reasons for their decisions. With the sheer numbers of multisite churches today, you can expect occasional decisions to move back to single site.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Thom S. Rainer