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July 1, 2017

Funding the Vision of Becoming a Multisite Church

By Geoff Surratt

Launching a multisite church is the goal of many churches. Some pastors have detailed plans, visions, and dreams for their churches to expand to multiple locations. But when it comes down to it, it all depends on cost. How do you plan to fund your multisite church?

What is the cost of doing nothing?

Before getting a budget together, it’s important to sit down with yourself and ask what the reason is for your expansion. What is the cost of doing nothing? What is it costing the church and the Kingdom if you don’t reach out to new communities? These questions focus on the reality behind why expansion is so important and will help motivation behind funding. Is there a community that desperately needs the help of a life-giving church? These are some things to consider while planning for a budget.

Do we go multisite, or do we build a bigger building?

When it comes to expansion, there are two options. Your church first needs to decide whether it is better to build a bigger building or create a multisite campus. Multisite is typically a less expensive option, but you have to look at the costs of doing both before deciding. If you decide to create a multisite church, you must then choose which model you are going to use.

What model of multisite are you going to use?

There are three main models for multisite: video teaching, regional campus, and low risk model. Choosing a model will greatly impact the budget. Video teaching usually involves one camera with a playback mechanism for other campuses but can be expensive. A regional campus model duplicates the original site. This option can also be expensive when you’re occupying a building 24/7 as opposed to renting it. The last option is a low risk model. This option does not involve video teaching or a permanent site and can typically be launched with less than $5,000 in budget. Each model is very different and greatly impacts the funding.

How many sites do you think you’ll launch?

Before going multisite, you need to think through how many campuses you intend to launch. Will it be one or two? Three or more? Each campus that you plant should be similar to the first. Considering how many sites you are going to duplicate will affect how much money you put into your first site.

What are our financial expectations?

Know how you plan to fund the church. Do you expect each site to pay for itself? Will all of the sites operate out of one large budget? The shared purse budget is a strategy used where all of the church’s money is put into one budget, and the funding from campuses comes from there.

Do you see one site spinning off into its own church plant?

From a business perspective, you need to look at this multisite as an investment. You will need to find the balance knowing that the investment will no longer be a part of its original campus. This will affect how much money you put into starting it.

Where will you come up with resources to fund?

Now that you’ve thought through some of the logistics of funding, the real question is where will the resources come from? There are a couple of different ways to go about funding.

First, there is a general fund. Leadership of a church will sit down and put money aside out of a general fund for starting campuses.

Second, there are special offerings. This can be a one-time offering, usually around the holidays, asking people to put money toward multisite campuses.

There is also the capital campaign option. You explain to the church that part of their money is going toward the original campus and part is going to the new campus. This encourages people to give to both campuses.

Another funding tactic is kingdom partners. This option involves sitting down with high complicity tithe givers in the church, explaining to them the vision of the future pants, and asking if they would be willing to give beyond their usual tithe.

The last option is known as pay-it-forward. Campuses pay back what they were originally given, and churches set a percentage of their budget aside to fund future campuses.

Funding your multisite may seem overwhelming, but these questions will help you to narrow your focus as you explore and best prepare for your church’s multisite needs.

*This content by Geoff was adapted from our course, Moving Toward MultisiteAre you moving toward multisite? Trying to figure out how to launch your first campus, or your next one? Check out our course, Moving Toward Multisite and unlock 18 modules packed with essential training so that you can move toward multisite.


Geoff Surratt

Geoff Surratt (@GeoffSurratt) has over 30 years of ministry experience and enjoys helping church planters just starting out, pastors growing a ministry, and megachurch leaders figuring what is next.


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