Tools & Trainings E-NewsletterIssue 39 March 31, 2009
|Go Small to Go Big |
Why is small such a big deal? Small does not cost at all. Small is easy to reproduce. Small is more easily changed and exchanged. Small is mobile. Small is harder to stop. Small is intimate. Small is simple. Small infiltrates easier. Small is something people think they can do. Big does not do any of these things. We can change the world more quickly by becoming much smaller in our strategy.
If I can be vulnerable for a moment I want to share with you my greatest phobia. Until now, this was a secret known only to my wife and three kids (and boy do they have fun with it), but it is time for full disclosure. I am not afraid of large dogs, strange people or standing in high places. I have no problem in the dark or an enclosed place. I have a phobia about bugs. There, I said it. An individual bug doesn't really bother me. I am glad to remove a spider found in the bathroom by one of my daughters without hesitation. It is when bugs swarm that I am creeped out. This has always been my greatest nightmare. Even as I write this and imagine it in my mind I feel shivers on the back of my neck. The feeling of ants all over my legs is the worst! I hate it.
The truth is we should all be a little freaked by swarms of insects; they are so overwhelming that there is almost no defense. You can have a double barrel shotgun and an automatic machine gun at the same time and you are absolutely defenseless against a swarm of killer bees. You can shoot at the swarm, and you may even hit a couple of the bees, but the swarm doesn't even need to duck when you shoot. It will come without any slowing or adjustment after you have fired all rounds. And that is also why a decentralized movement can literally be unstoppable.
While for years now the church has invested in growing larger, the new missional movement is trying to get smaller in its focus so that it can get bigger in its impact.
Small is the new big.
Neil Cole (From Church 3.0: Upgrades for the Future of the Church).
|The Gathering in Globe|
CMA Conference 2010
doing a "Gathering in Globe, AZ"
A woodstock-esque festival-
retreat, reconnect, refresh
April 9-11, 2010
Online Registration ends April 1
Upcoming Trainings- Organic Greenhouse
Portland, Maine // Story 1
@ SouthCoast Community Church
Online Registration Ends April 11
Hamburg, Germany // Story 1
With Neil Cole & Dezi Baker
Details and Registration (in German):HERE
FL // Story 1
@ Northland Church
Early Bird Registration open now
Other Organic Church Learning Opportunities
Click HERE for more Details and to Register
Trainings in the planning stages:
Long Beach, CA // Story 1
Twin Cities, Minnesota // Story 1
Detroit, MI // Story 1
Canada, Kenya, Germany, Norway
Neil Cole teaching a Church 3.0 Workshop
South Texas House Church Conference
April 30-May 1
San Antonio, TX
Only $30 with 3
More Details & Registration HERE (PDF)
Local Coordinator: Gail
210-525-9954 or email
Video about this
|Featured Article |
The Multi-Site Model
by Neil Cole
One change that is sweeping through the Western church today is the
multi-site model, where one church spins off several branches or sites.
This phenomenon is so popular that a recent book by Geoff Surratt, Greg
Ligon and Warren Bird called A Multi-site Church Road Trip has
the audacious subtitle: Exploring the New Normal. According to
their book, on a typical Sunday in 2009 some five million people-almost
10 percent of protestant worshippers-attend a multi-site church in the
US or Canada. Leaders at some forty-five thousand churches are seriously
considering the multi-site approach according to a recent survey by
LifeWay Research. Before you jump on the bandwagon, I want you to think
about a few things.
What does it mean to be a multi-site church? Basically, it is one
church meeting in more than one location. Some use the term "campuses,"
or "services," others call them "satellite churches," "polysites" or
even "house churches" or "missional communities." With such a wide range
of descriptions I imagine one could say that our organic church
networks or even CMA as a whole could represent this idea, but I
personally believe that would be a stretch. Listening to those
considered the forerunners in this model, it is clear that they mean one
church in multiple locations...not multiple churches like we would
There are, of course, variations on this theme. Some are video-venues
where different styles of worship are offered at different sites,
sometimes even on the same campus, but the same sermon from the same
preacher is beamed in to them all on a larger-than-life screen. Others
are spread across a city while some branch out across a state and a few
go even interstate. Some are on the internet; a few are even branching
out internationally. For some it is a way to grow their church when
there is not any possibility of building a larger facility. For some it
is a way of building a network of churches. Many like it because they
can have church for a variety of different tastes. Some even would call
it church planting, while others say that it is counterfeit church
planting. I heard one person describe the Mars Hill Campus strategy as
"Just add water and Driscoll and POOF you have a new church." For the
next few blog entries I will weigh in on this subject. All seat backs
and tray tables must be in their upright position. Fasten your seat
The idea of satellite church campuses is not new. One could argue
that the New Testament is one gigantic multi-site church. Certainly,
there are examples of churches in the Bible that are meeting in a
variety of locations. Paul wrote to all the Christians in Rome and at
the end of the letter described them all meeting in a variety of
different homes throughout the city. All of them got a special greeting
from Paul and his companions. Could this be the first multi-site church?
There are some similarities, but also some drastic differences
between the Romans church and today's multi-site churches. Both have
groups meeting in different locations and yet they are still considered
one church. Both seem to have localized leadership for each "campus". It
is hard to tell with the Roman church, but perhaps these New Testament
churches had a variety of styles simply because they are in different
places with different people.
But I think the differences between the Romans and their
counterparts today are more obvious. The multi-site churches of today
all have a centralized headquarters, which is not evident at all in
Romans. The Romans churches were a network of simple churches all
meeting in homes rather than a large church with multiple congregations.
The multi-site churches of today are mostly starting satellite worship
services and forming congregations around them, whereas, in Romans these
are spiritual families tied to households and are much more than a
worship service. In fact, there is no mention at all about worship
services beyond the service of worship that each disciple is to offer
before God (Rom 12:1-2).
I must be honest and confess that I
have not been smiling at the spread of the multi-site phenomenon. I
know some do it well, but many do not.