13 Things I have learned about Multi-site Church Planting by Nate Elarton


multi-siteWe will celebrate 5 years of our Holland Location of Compelled Church on January 29th.  In the last five years I have a learned a lot and so has our team.  Here are some key things we have learned.

  1. There is not just one multi-site model-Multi-site churches do it all differently. Live, video, site pastors, pre-recorded, livestream…..on and on. The church must decide their best way, that works for them.
  2. The Site pastor is the  key-Much has been written about this. This can’t be under-stressed. The site pastor must be a top shelf spiritual leader, growing, with character and Christ-likeness to match.  He must be a loyal, gifted, extrovert with a heart for discipleship and leadership. Our’s is and we would not be celebrating 5 years without him. Thank you Tim and Amanda Rabara.
  3. Not everyone cares. I have learned that our Bedford  Campus (first church plant), is not 100% engaged in the missional outreach of a multi-site. Many are, some even have gone there to minister, but many don’t seem interested.   Good or bad, just a reality.   Communicating vision, passion, and wins, continue to help that.
  4. People come to Christ at Multi-site. Many believers are vocal that they would never attend a multi-site or watch a video message, but they are not the targets. We are attempting with all our heart to reach the lost, and that happens! People come to Jesus.
  5. Communication must increase internally and publicly. I have learned that I must communicate more. I must communicate with my pastors, site leaders, official board, both locations, etc. Without communication it all breaks down.
  6. The Goal is evangelism and ministry!  Some get confused that the goal is to have the new site be “self-supporting” or that the new site exists independently, or that it is “cut loose” at some point. None of these are our goals. Our goals is to win souls, and help people to “love God, love each other, and serve the world.”
  7. A new site impacts the staff-Everyone on staff is affected and they all must grow in thinking, sourcing, and encouraging the leaders, ministries, pastors of the site.  Everyone must be “all in”.
  8. It costs money-Investment must happen.  Ministry can be expensive.  The lost is worth it.  Marriages saved, children and youth coming to Christ, people returning to their faith…every dollar is worth it.
  9. Be committed for the long haul. This has been difficult. Our staff has paid a price. Our site pastors and family have also.  It would have been easy to quit a few times, but it is worth it. Be committed to not quitting.
  10. Long-range planning must increase by the Lead Pastor.  I have learned that I must plan way out for the life and the calendar of the church as well as for the weekends.  It is another layer, and with 3 gatherings at one campus and a 4th at the Holland location, planning is critical and cannot be avoided.
  11. You must have an associate or executive pastor that is amazing.  Our executive pastor, Rick Flood, makes sure the tech, sound, planning, ideas, and so much more is thought about and implemented. We could have never done this without him.
  12. You can’t cut corners on tech.  You need good equipment and it needs supported, updated, and protected. Your weekend depends on it.
  13. Video teaching  is not just for the young. We have reached many older adults, many even over 60 that don’t mind video teaching at all.  They are rocks at our campus. I love them so much.

Always a lot to think about to be multi-site. But seeing the lost saved makes it worth it and I believe the pleasure of God is blessing Compelled Church is so many other ways because we took a step of faith, put our money where are heart is, and truly lived “compelled by His love.”  If you have any questions, shoot me an email at  nate@compelledchurch.tv. Looking forward to more years and someday, more sites, and more lives changed for Christ.

Nate Elarton

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