What Everybody Ought to Know About Multi-Site Children's Ministry (Pt.2)

Yesterday we looked at the three primary models of multi-site Children's Ministry.  Today let's talk about how to decide which model to use as well as some other key tips about multi-site ministry.

The answer is simple.  Align with your church’s multi-site vision, philosophy, and direction.  This should be the deciding factor for which model you use.  Hopefully your leadership has sat down and had conversations with you…if not, initiate it.  Ask these questions:
  • What is the overall church vision for this site? 
  • How can the children’s ministry help fulfill this vision?
  • What do you want the focus of the children’s ministry to be at this site?
  • What would be some wins for the children’s ministry at this site?
  • Where would you like to see the children’s ministry be a year after the launch?
  • How can the children’s ministry support the overall ministry of the church at this site?

Which model does your church use?  Thanks for asking.  We use the Franchisee model.  Here is why:
  • We believe in the power of alignment.  There is so much value in everyone going the same direction.  We want to know that children will have a quality experience at each site.  We want to know what is being said and taught to the children at each site. 
  • It makes messaging much more simple and effective.
  • We are so much stronger together.  All sites collaborate and give input, ideas, and creativity on the front end.  We make decisions together and once a decision is made everyone follows it.  When the leaders from each site are part of the process, they feel valued and buy in is accomplished.  Leaders at the sites don’t feel like things are just being pushed down to them.  We can share resources.  Here’s an example.  Once a quarter we do a worship experience for children and their parents together.  We use music, drama, and other creative elements in the experience.  Instead of each site having to come up with their own actors, we have one set of actors made up of people from several sites.  We stagger the nights the event is held at the sites and use the same actors at each site.  This teamwork and cooperation makes the quality so much higher.  Teamwork makes the dream work!  Individually our sites are just a drop of water…together we are an ocean!  Does it take more work up and intentionality up front?  Yes.  But remember…you can go faster alone, but together you can go farther!

Here’s some other tips I’ve learned over the years about multi-site:
  • Be committed to unity.  Psalm 133:1 says “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.”  A natural tendency can be for sites to compete against one another.  But when the flesh steps in your unity is threatened.  When sites stop praying for one another, when sites care more about their agenda than the big vision then that is a problem.  Preserve the unity of your sites at all cost.  Talk us, not them.  Dream together.  Plan together.  Bring the volunteers from all the sites together at least once a year for a training event.  Do a combined event for the kids from all the sites at least once a year.  If you were to ask me what has been my biggest win as the Director of five sites, I would not talk about the growth or the new buildings or the budgets.  I would talk about the unity and teamwork that exists among our sites.
  • Prepare for stress.  Going multi-site will stretch your children’s ministry at it’s seams.
  • You must adopt a new way of thinking.  You must look at the big picture.  You’ve got to ask questions like, “Is this reproducible at all the sites?  How will this decision affect all the sites?  Did I take time to include the leaders from the sites in the process?”
  • You will reach more kids and families for Christ.  That’s the great thing!  When you go multi-site, you will see more people brought into a growing relationship with Jesus.  That’s what it’s all about.  Not long ago, a Jewish family in our area had an elementary age son who was misbehaving at home and school.  They took him to synagogue, but it wasn’t helping.  They had reached their wit’s end.  They drove by one of our church sites and as a last resort, they brought him to one of our children’s services. After the service they were amazed.  His behavior immediately changed at home and school.  They continued to come.  Just a few weeks ago, dad and mom walked forward and received Christ as their Lord and Savior.  I am so thankful that we started a site in that area of our region!

Posted by Dale Hudson