Multisite FAQs: What? Why? How?
What is a multisite church?
At its simplest, a multisite church is “one church in multiple locations.” That means we share the same teaching, mission, vision, elders, budget, leadership structure, programs, and processes, but all these things happen in multiple locations!
Why are we becoming a multisite church?
- Because we’ve been growing and we don’t intend to stop. 100 yrs ago, First Christian Church of Johnson City planted us, in hopes that a life-giving church would function as an outpost for the gospel of Jesus Christ in Greene County. So, we stand on shoulders of a long tradition of Helping people find and follow Jesus, and we’ve experienced a steady influx of healthy growth for the last 5+ years. We are a church filled with amazing people who are ready to sacrifice to achieve an amazing mission!
- Because 94% of churches in America are losing ground compared with population growth. By this definition, approximately 15 churches in all of Greene County are “growing”, in numerical terms. When coupled with the fact that, on average, newer church plants are growing and established churches of 40+ years are in decline, such basic statistical norms apply to our area. We believe this is a major problem that requires our best resources and efforts to solve, even in an area with a large number of existing churches.
- Because multisite leverages our existing people and resources. We believe that multisite, as a form of church planting, is a better strategy than traditional church planting “parachuting” models, because multisite utilizes established relationships and resources to reach our community. Also, we have been running out of room and the way we’re doing multisite, as a portable solution, is conservatively 10-20x cheaper than modifying an existing building or building a new building offsite.
- Because People Still Need Relationship With Jesus. According to demographic study of East Tennessee by The Barna Group (barna.org), 61% of Greene Countians report no meaningful connection to a local church. Our vision of Helping people find and follow Jesus is a response to the 43,000 who need a good church family to call home. So, we are going from one hundred year old location with a capacity of 500 in 2 services to 2 locations in 4 services with a capacity of, well, a lot more! While that’s a fairly big change, we think it’s something Christians are called to do—to risk wisely, based on the growth and resources with which God has blessed us, to achieve our mission of Helping people find and follow Jesus!
How does it work?
Here’s a brief run-down of our “Campus Constants” that happen at each site. These are the non-negotiables of FCC DNA and programming that we reproduce at each location.
- Mission & Strategy: Helping people find and follow Jesus by shaping our people and processes according to our 7 Habits, and our Teams according to our Team Code and our Leadership Pipeline.
- “Worship & Serve” — This is part of our “Serve on the team.” strategy that is distinctive enough to warrant mention. We’ve turned Sunday mornings from a consumer experience, where we sit in worship and Sunday School to soak in information, to a producer experience where we train people for ministry throughout the week—”learning by serving”. Because we do not do Sunday School, and our small groups meet throughout the week, this frees up our people to serve on Sundays. So, when we ask our people to “Worship and Serve” on Sunday mornings, it becomes an important part of the process of producing fruit-bearing disciples.
- Sunday mornings:
- Identical worship services at the same times at each site
- Same production/tech capacity at each site
- All aspects of every worship service happen with live people, on-site, except for preaching. The basic rhythm will be this: Our Lead Pastor preaches for 6 weeks in a row, 50% in-person and 50% via live video, and our Campus Pastors preach in-person on week 7 at their respective campuses.
- Kids Min (nursery, toddlers, preschool, K/1st, 2nd/3rd, 4th/5th, large group worship) — fcckids.org
- Care Room — Quiet room for prayer and talking.
- Next Steps Room — Room to learn about how FCC works. — fccnextsteps.org.
- Hub in Lobby — This is where you get coffee, ask questions, sign-up for things, buy books/swag, etc. And yes, we have it at our portable location.
- Volunteer HQ — This is where we feed Sunday morning volunteers, give instructions and announcements during Huddles, and chat together at downtimes (which are few on Sundays!)
- Literature, Aesthetics, Branding same at each location
- Sermon-based Life Groups (that are campus-based, not across campuses) — Each week’s Study Questions are available in the Worship Guide you’re handed when you walk into the service.
- School/Community Outreach — Each campus ‘adopts’ a local school as part of our mission to the community.
- Minimum Senior Staffing at each location, under direction of Lead Pastor and Elders (who are at each location):
- Full-time Campus Pastor, who oversees campus-specific Coaches in each of our Teams: Worship, Tech, Kids, Guests, Care, Life Groups, and Environments. This relationship between Campus Pastor and Coaches is about ensuring execution of strategy with each campus. See our Leadership Pipeline for more detail.
- Each Coach also has a “Central Services” Director who oversees each Team, but from an across-all-campuses perspective. This relationship between Director and Coach is primarily about ensuring a centralized vision, churchwide. See our Leadership Pipeline for more detail.
The following are our “centralized” programs that happen at our Greeneville location throughout the week. In other words, FCCers from all campuses participate in these together, whereas everything listed above is campus-specific.
- 180 — Middle and High School Student Youth Group on Wednesday nights, 6-8p — fccstudents.org
- re:generation — fccregen.org
- Marriage Ministry: Merge, Foundations, Re|engage — fccmarriage.org
- We also are planning on continuing some all-church events like the Team Bash, Team Trainings, worship services (Easter and Christmas, e.g.), Camp in the City, Annual Picnic, etc.
What have you been doing to prepare?
We have been restructuring all our systems for the last 7 years, eliminating some and adding others, while retooling and preparing them to scale over multiple campuses. As of mid-February 2019, our Launch Teams have 315 people committed to serve at one campus and 230 committed to serve at the other. (And we’ve also done a lot of praying!)
How can I help?
If you’re not already meaningfully connected to a local church, then…
- Come join us!
- Pray for us!
- Give financially! — Click “GIVE” in the top right corner.
- Tell your family and friends!
If you’ve got any more questions, please don’t hesitate to message us using the conversation bubble in the bottom right corner!