Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What is the ideal location for a multi-site?

All our reading and research, plus the advice of others with experience in this area, tells us that the ideal location for a further site is 15 minutes’ drive away from the sending church. The new site should have about 140 people attending and ideally living in the area - on the ground as it were - who will carry your DNA into the new site. This gives a core of people to work with, who can provide the care and support for all the new people coming in.

The key issues to consider were:
- distance from the sending/’mother’ church
- critical mass (around 140 people)
- a group of people who know your ways in Christ.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Why multi-site? Why not a church plant?

‘This is a good question and one which needs a good answer! During my sabbatical I had the privilege of shadowing Nicky Gumbel of Holy Trinity Brompton for the day. He took me round his nine meetings on three sites (soon to become four sites) all within cycling distance of each other in West London. Known around the world as the birthplace of the Alpha course, this is an impressive church. It was fun to cycle between the sites in Nicky’s wake and to discuss at length with him the reasoning around going multi-site. While totally committed to church planting, Nicky Gumbel has concluded, as I have, that particularly in urban centres, where appropriate property is so rare and so expensive, the multi-site concept provides a large church with the opportunity to continue to grow, and therefore to build a resource base for its wider vision for reaching the nation and those nations beyond our borders.’

Quote from Good to Grow by Steve Tibbert with Val Taylor – published July 2011 by Authentic Media

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Why would you go 'multi-site'?

Before outlining some of the lessons we are learning at King’s about our transition to being a multi-site church, it is probably helpful to place our journey in context. Following a period of growth that has lasted for over a decade, two major building projects on our Catford site and the establishment of three Sunday meetings (two in the morning and one in the evening), our morning meetings became full again. We considered starting a third meeting on a Sunday morning on the Catford site and concluded the logistics would be very challenging. Such a step would not have been ideal on many counts.

So the impetus to become a multi-site church was initially driven by a lack of space to contain the growth we were seeing - not primarily as a strategy to stimulate further growth. Ideally, as with the move to multiple meetings, multi-site initiatives should rise from the need to manage current growth rather than as a means to start growth from a static position.

It has been interesting to see that six months after launching two sites, our overall attendance is up 30%, but further, to note that 50% of our new people still come to our Catford 11.30 meeting first - confirming that particular meeting as our current major growth point. At the same time the other two sites are also showing encouraging growth signs as they are established. If King’s Church has growth momentum, then becoming a multi-site church has increased the rate of that growth. By launching two new locations 15 minutes’ drive from our existing site, we have opened up a sphere of operation to reach thousands more people.

It would also be helpful to read alongside this the Move to Multiple Meetings paper (see side panel of this blog) as many of the principles included in the move to becoming a multi-site church are similar. For example, we aimed to have 140/180 people on the ground in both our Lee and Downham sites at launch just as we had when we began our second and third meetings at Catford.

To see our three sites, take a look at the short video clip on our website



Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Communicating the gospel to a Muslim culture

Concluding a look at Honor & Shame by Roland Muller...

The Bible has three salvation themes which correspond to the types of culture – guilt, shame and fear. In the west we emphasise the guilt theme and filter our understanding through it.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were guilty – this led to the plan of salvation. But they were also ashamed - this theme also runs through the Bible. And when Adam hears God’s voice he is afraid – a third theme.

Our inability to understand shame-based cultures is matched by our inability to impact much of that world. Well-meaning western ways may lead to unforeseen consequences in a shame-based society, where the hearers may feel the missionary is shaming them by drawing attention to certain areas of their lives. Church attendance may occur simply to avoid shaming the missionary.

Muller is keen that we should not develop different models of salvation for the different settings but should address all three elements in each. He identifies certain key areas to address:
  • Repentance. Accept His way and turn from pride (= pursuing one’s own honour) and from fear. 
  • Sacrifice. This deals with sin, shame and fear.
  • Redemption. Our western concern with guilt meets the shame-based view where a mediator pays to cover our shame and redeem our honour
  • Propitiation. Removal of wrath by offering a gift.
  • Reconciliation. Restoration of the relationship between man and God. This is more than the removal of guilt, it is God bringing us into the Father/Son relationship – shame is removed and honour restored.
A three-fold message is needed – hope for those in shame, freedom from the bondage of fear, cleansing from guilt – each culture enters through its own door. Paul had a threefold message – the Jews were shame-based, the Greeks were guilt-based and the Barbarians were fear-based. New believers who receive only one of the three threads will not ultimately be strong in their newfound faith.

Muller believes that cross-contextualisation of the gospel is simply knowing how to start the gospel message from a place of common understanding.

The influence of each of the dominant cultures has changed with the passage of history. Muller concludes by observing that currently Islam is growing in influence and evangelical Christianity is recorded as the only religion growing by conversion. He asks - what of the next century? To whom will it belong?