Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Views from the sites : King's @ Lee

Phil Varley, Site Leader on being a multi-site church

What surprised you most about going multi-site?

It dawned on me how different it was setting up a new work at Lee – we were not known in the area and had no history on the new patch, unlike the Catford and Downham sites. Also we were ‘hidden’ in a side road with no visible presence on main thoroughfares like the other two sites and there are some really good churches within easy walking distance of our building.  I was really pleased how many good people wanted to come from the Catford site and be involved in this new venture! The pioneer spirit was there and we saw gifted people rising to the challenge - there was a huge amount of energy!

What challenged you most?

  • Setting everything up from scratch. There was a real volunteer challenge – to find the right people for the tasks and ensure we were providing essential ministries and had appropriate skills available, establishing new work patterns, getting equipment and furniture. While there was initial energy and ownership to serve, I foresee a future challenge in maintaining that when we are through the honeymoon period. 
  • The time-scale in which it all had to be done. The period from December to March was fairly manic! We had surveyed the King’s people in November to find out who was interested in coming to the Lee site and from then on the amount of work required and the speed at which important decisions had to be made and preparatory work done was ‘full on’. Looking back, I feel it was too small a time-window and needed a longer lead-in time.
  • Of course the challenges don’t end with set-up. The challenge for the next season is to push on and see something lasting established in the community. That will be more like success!

What is it like dealing with what is more a ‘planting’ situation and opening a completely new location?

This is so much easier than being a single church plant. We have all the benefits of a large church in terms of financial support and people resources – and we start with our own building! That’s a big plus when you see churches operating in facilities that have to be cleared at the end of the meeting. Nor do we have just six people in a small group – or 25 in a school hall. We began with 150 people who knew what we were about. We are already seeing visitors, week by week, too. However, because we are a smaller context than the Catford Hill site, I believe we can develop a greater relational feel and while retaining the strengths of the wider King’s ethos and culture, we can bring colour and depth to our community.

Whatever happens I don’t want us to be doing the same things this time next year. I want those of us at Lee to use our gifts to change a community and to broaden and deepen what we are currently doing. I want us to be authentic, making a difference, and in reaching the people of our area I want to see space for creativity and the arts, reaching those in the area who have not yet heard of us – or the love of God. Our fantastic building lends itself to such things! This is part of setting the unique culture of the Lee site – for the glory of God and to reach people for Jesus. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Views from the sites : King's @ Downham

Ben Welchman, Site Leader on being a multi-site church

What surprised you most about going multi-site? 
How well the launch went! And people were so gracious in accepting a younger leader.

What challenged you most?
Taking on the leadership of a group of people with whom I had no previous relationship or history! Not knowing their stories, the quality of their character or their gifts, while still needing to run a Sunday meeting requiring children's workers, youth leaders, welcome team, worship team etc - and also aiming for diversity in every team.

What is it like dealing with a merger situation? 
The church at Downham was already part of Newfrontiers - there was a huge amount of common ground in shared values and common history within Newfrontiers and strong relational links between leaders over some years. All this helped!

Changing the philosophy of ministry?
This was the biggest area of difference between Downham Way Family Church, as was, and King's Church. While the vision and values of two churches may be identical, the way these are worked out can be very different. Steve (Tibbert) has talked about this a lot which was really helpful.

Changing the culture is a slow process that requires patience, taking people on a journey as they may have only known one way of 'doing church'. People need to understand why we are doing things differently, grasp how they can make a contribution and, most importantly, see that the new way works. These are all important in building trust in leadership and preparing everyone for the next step… and the next!

It also requires resolve to avoid the temptation to give in and settle for old ways of working just to keep people happy. Occasionally we have to tread on some toes - some people like the way they used to do things! This increases the emotional demands on you with every task.

I’m constantly thinking about the pace of change - too much too quickly can mean people are more likely to disengage, lose a sense of ownership and feel that the new approach is being imposed on them. Move too slowly and we can miss the opportunity and the fresh momentum provided by launching as a site.

Benefits of resources from the ‘mother-ship’? 
As a site leader in a multi-site church you simply don't have the same kind of pressures as a church planter or a one-site church leader. If I was leading a church of 160 people rather than a site of 160, I would have to grapple with raising money for buildings and handling budgets, as well as employment and legal issues. Whilst I have picked up more administration and facilities issues than I expected, there is someone else on the King's team who has overall responsibility for the premises at Downham. Consequently I can focus on running Sundays, developing leaders and teams and strengthening ministries like midweek groups. That’s a real privilege!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Views from the sites : King's @ Catford

Malcolm Kyte - Site Leader on being a multi-site church

What surprised you most about going multi-site?

  • Nothing too surprising - due to lots of church planting experience!
  • Knew it would take a time for things to settle – gaps will eventually get filled. I am quite relaxed about the fact that details are not pinned down and confident they will be gradually resolved.
  • Numbers of people filling the empty chairs on Sundays so that it didn’t feel very different overall – but then that has always been my experience in planting churches – the seats fill up again fairly soon but it takes longer to fill the serving gaps and get new people giving regularly.
  • How many people suddenly came to the church almost overnight.
  • How well it went!
 What challenged you most?

  • The amount of hard work it took to get to launch day – Christmas to March 2011 was intense with numerous meetings to plan and prepare. The combination of leafleting / advertising campaign / outreach week / 40 days of prayer / t-shirts / new website / refurbishing two buildings / launch etc was pretty exhausting!
  • Working out how to address the volunteer challenge.
  • Working out my new role as Catford site leader.
  • Working out how we work as a Catford site team – who needs to be in which meetings.
  • Readjustment of all our roles.
  • To what extent the ministry staff team leaders were responsible for just Catford or all three venues e.g. youth / children / pastoral care / safeguarding team.
  • Working out how to integrate large numbers of new people into small groups – which will take several more months.
  • The ‘staff stretch’ on Sundays and the need to develop more lay leaders to take on key roles – which will take several more months.
  • Working out the meeting pastor role. (Still working it out!)
 What are the issues for the ‘sending’ church site?

  • Losing key staff and volunteers all in one go.
  • Working out who had actually gone to the other two sites.
  • Integrating large numbers of new people.
  • Getting to know new people.
  • Not having a separate Catford site budget.
  • The whole sense that at Catford it was ‘business as usual’ rather than a major shift in the way we do church. For those staying it didn’t feel very different on the surface and the danger is that you don’t readjust your thinking at all.
  • Missing those who used to be there on a Sunday.
  • Communicating the change to those staying – importance of FAQs booklet on multisite / everyone feeling a degree of ownership / ‘selling’ the concept to those who are staying put.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Multi-site: where to go for help and advice!

On our multi-site journey Jim Tomberlin from Scottsdale, Arizona has been extremely helpful. He is a recognised expert in this area having seen Willow Creek Community Church successfully through its own multi-site strategy. Look at the enclosed link – there’s even a free e-book!



• Multi-site churches outnumber megachurches.

• Two-thirds of multi-site churches are denominational.

• Multi-sites reach more people and mobilize more volunteers.

• One in three multi-sites added a campus through a merger.

• One in four multi-sites has a campus in another language.

• One in five multi-sites birthed a "grandchild" campus.

• One in 10 has an Internet campus.

• In-person teaching is utilized more than video.

• Average size of a church going multisite: 850.

• Eighty-five percent of multi-site churches have three or fewer geographic locations.

• Average attendance of a multi-site church: 1,300.

• Multi-site campuses have a 90 percent success rate.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Multi-site: we are King's Church!

We are one church, with 3 sites and 5 meetings.

We have one name

We have one vision

We have one set of doctrines and values

We have one eldership

We have one staff team

We have one budget

We have one legal identity

We have one philosophy of ministry

We have one website