Join Our Community

Get the latest resources and updates on what’s happening in multisite church world, church mergers and church multiplication.


MultiSightings Blog

2015 Multisite Trends

January 6, 2015


What’s Trending in Multisite?

By Jim Tomberlin •
December 21, 2014 • Outreach Magazine

How is the “new normal” of multisite changing how we do church in America?

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 church in America?

Multisite Multiplication. The number of multisite churches is growing at a faster rate than megachurches. When I proposed the multisite idea to my Colorado Springs church elders in 1995, they responded skeptically, “Who would go to a multisite church?” Today nearly 10 percent of all Protestant churchgoers attend a church with multiple campuses. If multisite churches were a denomination they would be the 4th largest denomination in America.

Gigachurches. Megachurches are getting bigger through multisiting because they are no longer limited to one location. According to Leadership Network’s Warren Bird, today there are 78 “gigachurches” with more than 10,000 in weekend attendance. Most of them are multisite churches. The smallest megachurch on Outreach magazine’s 100 Largest Churches list is nearly 6,000 in weekend attendance, a threshold that gets larger with each passing year.

Church Buildings. The new economic realities, technological breakthroughs and shifting cultural attitudes towards churches and multisiting has changed the church facility conversation. New church buildings today are smaller, multipurpose, multivenue, community-centric and environmentally friendly buildings.

Denominational Strategy. Denominations are being dragged into the multisite world by their leading churches doing it and their declining congregations in need of revitalization. Progressive denominational leaders are seeing the opportunities to grow their strong churches through multisite and salvage their struggling churches through mission-driven mergers.

Missional Movements. A small but growing number of multisite churches are going beyond adding one or two campuses to multiply exponentially. These churches are becoming missional movements of reproducing churches through multisiting and church planting, nationally and internationally. These movements are becoming the new “denominations” of the 21st century.

Church Staffing. The multisite campus pastor role did not exist a few years ago but has now become one of the most sought-after positions in the church. The “Senior Pastor” title is fading fast for “Lead Pastor,” and “Teacher” is preferred to “Preacher.” Growing churches are increasingly going to a teaching team model with a senior leadership team of three to five people. As baby boomer senior pastors retire, more churches are looking for new senior pastors with multisite experience.

Video. Although in-person teaching teams are increasing—the use of video sermons, testimonies, promotions and announcements is becoming more mainstream in local churches. The larger the church and the more campuses, the more inclined to utilize video.

Church Names. They are a-changing. Churches are changing their names because they either have cultural baggage or are geographically limiting for a multisite strategy. These new names are typically shorter and without the denominational label.

Community Transformation. Church leaders are focusing less on “coming to church” and more about “being the church” in their local communities. They are focusing on doing good works and sharing good news through multiple campuses, small group “missional communities” and collaboration with other community-minded local churches, ministries and organizations.

Jim Tomberlin, founder and senior strategist of MultiSite Solutions, is the author of several books including 125 Tips for Multisite Churches, Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work (co-authored with Warren Bird) and Church Locality: New Rules for Church Buildings in a Multisite, Church Planting and Gigachurch World.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Phil Niebergall

    Beginning research on multisite or other format for serving several smaller churches from a 600+ main campus. Looking first for material, including studies, to review.

    1. Sapna

      Great post. I’m in the process of deeopvling small groups in advance of our 3rd site launch. The connections we’ve developed since we’ve launched our first group have been solid. This Fall I’d like us to multiply, and then add another altogether new group as well.Thanks for the encouragement about using the home setting as the platform for communication. It’s a great idea.

  • Makori

    I can see this playing out right where we are at with this prceoss right now. We are 6 months in with our first satellite campus and being the campus pastor, I see your points making so much sense and needing attention as we move forward with our Multi-site strategy. It can be really frustrating at times when breaking new ground.


Stay Up To Date

Subscribe to Newsletter

"He is a veteran leader, who is able to combine a wealth of knowledge with an intuitive grasp of the needs of the local pastor."

The Chapel
Scott Chapman – The Chapel, Lake Country, IL

"Jim is one of the country’s leading thinkers on the multi-site movement."

Craig Groeschel – Lead Pastor

"Jim came along side Celebration Church from the very beginning of our multi-site journey. His insight, strategy, and understanding of what it takes to be a healthy church was huge to us as we began this new journey. Since partnering with Jim, we’ve gone from one church meeting in a single location, to five campuses meeting throughout Wisconsin."


"If you’re planning to go multisite and want someone to walk you through implementing your strategy successfully you’ll want to connect with Jim…you won’t be disappointed."

Community Christian Church
Dave Ferguson – Community Christian Church, Naperville, IL

"With our Branch Creek Campus, LCBC Church is better positioned to reach more people with the good news of Jesus throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania. Having Jim Tomberlin at our side was a definite benefit..."

Lives Changed By Christ Church, Lancaster, PA
David Ashcraft – Senior Pastor

"Jim Tomberlin was a huge asset to us during our recent move to multisite. His experience and expertise helped us navigate our staff and church through a church merger and greatly assisted us in the union of two churches. I highly recommend Jim to anyone prayerfully considering either mergers or multisite churches."

Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Church

"If the Holy Spirit is in it, Jim and his team can help you develop a plan to that honors God and everyone involved."

The Bridge Church Cleveland, GA
Patrick Ballington – Lead Pastor
Read More Testimonials
Subscribe to Newsletter Stay informed about our news and events