Though multi-site churches and video venues are becoming more and more common, it is understandable to have questions about these concepts. Maybe you haven’t experienced one yet, don’t understand the reasons behind it, or wonder why campuses with exceptional communicators and leaders don’t just simply run it on their own. There are a number of reasons you might have questions about multi-site or video venue ministry. Though I can’t speak for others, I hope to provide our reasons for doing what we do here at New Life. I hope you find the information helpful and maybe even motivational. Let’s first begin by defining some of these new terms.
- Multi-site Church: Churches with multiple venues or campuses. New Life Church is one church in multiple locations.
- Campus or Venue: Location for worship and ministry that is separate from the main or broadcast campus but still part of the same church. For an example, New Life Alexandria, New Life Gainesville, and The Dome at New Life all provide worship and ministry in different locations, but all campuses are part of New Life Church.
- Video Venue: A campus or video venue is where the primary communicator is projected on screen wherever he or she is not communicating live. Though Pastor Mike Hilson preaches live periodically at all campuses, he is traditionally live at the main or broadcast campus.
- Campus Pastor: The campus pastor provides local leadership and pastoral care to the campus or venue congregations. Just to name a few, the campus pastor is responsible in casting local vision/mission, managing building/staff/ministries, providing counseling/weddings/funerals … and the list goes on!
- Senior Pastor: The senior or lead pastor of the entire church, including all campuses and venues. Senior Pastor Mike Hilson is the primary communicator and provides the weekly messages.
Now to answer some of those questions. First, I want to address the leadership question. There is no doubt that each campus has exceptional communicators, leadership, and teams that have the capacity to lead large and growing churches. That’s why we recruited and hired them! The reason for multi-site ministry isn’t a lack of leadership. In fact, the only reason we can pull off this type of ministry is because of our leaders. It just isn’t our model to do church in the “traditional” way. The concepts of video venue and multi-site ministry go beyond what we are doing at each campus and include the larger New Life movement across the D.C. Metro area. It also encompasses the additional campuses we will plant throughout this region in the future.
So if a lack of leadership is not the reason, then why would a church choose to become a multi-site video venue ministry? There must be a good reason to press through the very real and inherent challenges associated with doing ministry in this way. And we believe that there is good reason! The best reason of all is to reach new people with hope of New Life through Jesus Christ. I am sure you would agree that we can accomplish more together than we can apart. Shared resources that exist through the multi-site model allow us to be good stewards by leveraging things like time, leadership, skills and abilities, money and other resources in order to reach more people. We want to make a bigger difference and create a much larger movement for Christ. Simply put, it allows us to take the hope and love of the gospel further, faster. There might not be anything more important than that.
If you simply struggle with these concepts because they are new and different, you are not alone. Pastor Mike himself resisted this very model until God said it was time. I never would have considered the role of Campus Pastor, until God showed me that it was exactly what He had for me. I know some within our primary leadership team didn’t know if they would be able to wrap their minds around watching the message on video each week. They chose to give it a few weeks and found that they loved the church, its people, its mission, and the impact it was allowing God to make in people’s lives. In the process, they nearly forgot that they were watching the message on video as they came to know and love Pastor Mike. Now they’re big proponents!
Even though we all had concerns, we also have some things in common. We believe in the hope that can be found in God through Jesus Christ. We believe there are many people out there whose lives, marriages, kids and families would be radically changed if they discovered that hope. We wanted to be a part of something bigger than us. We wanted to join a movement to bring “New Life to New People in New and Innovative Ways!” We are so glad we did and I hope you choose to visit and give it a few weeks. I think that there is a good chance that you will discover what we did … that models don’t really matter. What matters is being a part of something that is making a difference. We’d love to have you along for the ride! I hope to see you this weekend!
Campus Pastor at New Life Gainesville