Can Multi-Site Work in a Rural Context?

Many churches have embraced a multi-site strategy with a lot of success.

When people find out that I pastor a church in rural South Dakota that has four multi-site locations (in South Dakota, Illinois, and Jamaica) as well as an online, iCampus, they are often quite surprised.

I have a feeling if I told them our church was in Dallas or Atlanta, they wouldn’t think that much of it. But the thought of a small church reaching a rural context with a multi-site strategy is somewhat of an unusual concept, although that’s beginning to change).

Over the last decade or so, we have seen many churches embrace a multi-site strategy with a lot of success. But often, we see that playing out in larger churches in urban and suburban areas. We assume that for multi-site to work, it needs to come from a large congregation with numerous staff, lots of money, expensive technology, and skilled people to operate that technology.

Essentially, the thinking is that because of the challenge of limited resources almost all small-town and rural churches face, utilizing multi-site to reach a region beyond their small town is simply out of the question.

I’m here to tell you that multi-site can and does work in a rural context.

So what does your rural church need in order to go multi-site? While the following is probably not an exhaustive list, I’ll offer up six essentials to get you started:

You need a call from God.

While I could offer many reasons for why a church should consider going multi-site, I could also come up with a list of reasons for why not. At the top of that list would simply be this: If God has not called you to multi-site, tell him thank you and keep doing church in a single location to the best of your ability.

Multi-site should not be entered into just because it’s trendy, or because ...

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