Multisite Churches After COVID-19
By New Churches Team
Many churches are making contingency plans around their multisite campuses and plans for after COVID-19.
One thing that will almost definitely come out of this season is that more churches will have an Internet campus. This approach is good for the future of multisite churches, as it means that more people are becoming comfortable with seeing their pastor on a screen. Over the past 30-40 years, church attendance has dropped from 2-3 times a week to 2-3 times a month. One thing we don’t know yet is how attendance will be affected when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. People might consider staying home and attending their church, or another church they found, online. Keeping an Internet campus allows you to stay connected to those members who now prefer attending church online.
From a financial perspective there are several things to consider.
- If your church was setting aside a reserve fund to start a new campus soon, will you be able to keep that fund? Or during this time of lower offerings, will you need to use that fund for regular operations? If using that fund keeps you from taking on debt, then that approach might be something to consider, even if it means delaying or changing your plans for opening another campus.
- Also, it is likely that many churches will close. Their buildings will become available, which could be a future option for multisite campuses. But as Internet campuses become more normalized, will it be wise to take on the debt of a building?
- Larger and mid-size churches may have more difficulty during this time than smaller churches. Smaller churches that only have one or two people on staff, who may be bivocational, will have an easier time continuing to pay their staff than a large church that has large staff numbers employed. The smaller rural churches that are very community based will find a way to get through this. Larger churches that aren’t as community based will struggle more, even though they will likely have a much better Internet experience. All churches should focus on building an army instead of an audience.
- Regardless of what happens, multisite will likely continue, but people won’t be willing to put as much risk of investment into it. They will likely start with a very small staff and a low budget and not add things until they grow. The time of fully finding a large campus from the beginning won’t be as common.
Adapted from the New Churches Q&A Podcast Episode 484: The Future of Multisite Churches. Click here to listen to more to church planting, multisite, and multiplication tips.