In this season of life, God has called me to be a Campus Pastor in an incredible church called The Rescue Church. The Rescue Church is a multi-site church which simply means we are one church that meets in multiple locations. Every Sunday morning, The Rescue Church meets in Garretson, SD; Flandreau, SD; Colman, SD; Deeside, Jamaica; and Online.
Our vision is to plant healthy campuses in small communities that otherwise lack a strong evangelical presence. Multi-site churches are gaining in popularity all over the world but it is still a brand new concept in rural communities. Because of this, I am asked repeatedly why we begin campuses instead of planting autonomous churches (which I believe should be both/and not either/or!)
Since I pastor in a multi-site church, I want to share with you five benefits I have personally experienced:
1. An incredibly strong support network.
In October of 2015, my wife and I launched The Rescue Church in Garretson, SD. I honestly do not think we would still be around if it was not for the encouragement and wisdom shared by the other campuses. We have an incredible support network since we are part of a larger church.
When it comes to rural churches, pastors tend to suffer from crippling isolation and loneliness. As a multi-site pastor, I meet with the other pastors of The Rescue Church at least twice every week. In these meetings we are able to encourage and pray for one another as we strive to be faithful pastors in our congregations.
2. The ability to reach more people.
Statistically, new churches/campuses reach more non-Christians than established churches (Enrichment Journal). A very high percentage of those in the Garretson Campus are people who recently committed their lives to Jesus. It has been incredible to see the different lives God has impacted through our ministry.
One of the best ways to reach lost people is through church planting. Being part of a multi-site church allows you to plant new campuses of an existing church. This greatly increases the effectiveness and fruitfulness of the campus since it is already part of a healthy church structure.
3. The opportunity to truly shepherd people.
As a campus pastor, I am paid a very part-time salary from the church. The majority of rural churches are not able to provide a pastor with a full-time salary. Since I am not the primary teaching pastor, I am able to devote the majority of my time to actually being a shepherd. I can use my time to be involved in the community, disciple new believers, evangelize the lost, and fulfill my ministry in a multitude of ways outside of the church office!
4. Growing larger by growing smaller.
A multi-site church allows you to have the benefits of a larger church with the close community of a small church. Many people, especially in rural communities, prefer the feel of a smaller church over a very large church. Both have advantages and disadvantages but multi-site allows you to capitalize on the benefits of a large church while retaining the community of a small church.
5. Intentional leadership development.
Unfortunately, leadership development is something that is lacking in many churches. Since multi-site churches are focused on launching new campuses on a regular basis, they are forced to develop leaders. At The Rescue Church, we are intentionally looking for people to develop into qualified and competent leaders. This means raising up young people and shaping them to lead churches!
Have you ever attended or worked in a multi-site church? What are some of the advantages you have experienced? Let me know by leaving a comment!
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