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August 17, 2017

Unreasonable Churches

By Daniel Im

*Plus Members can listen to this entire Behind-The-Scenes interview by logging in and clicking here.

Contextualizing Ministry

We are all familiar with Mickey Mouse, Cinderella’s castle, and the magic that encompasses Disney World. Many of us recall watching Disney movies and vacationing to the happiest place on earth as children. We cherish the individualization and acceptance that Disney radiates.

So it’s fasinating that Stephen Barr planted Cast Member Church to specifically reach the 74,000 employees at Disney World. This church amplifies Disney’s culture and is structured to specifically reach and serve the cast members. This story is a beautiful case of contextualizing ministry.

Rich Birch emphasizes in his new book that churches should stop copying the models of other churches and start something new. This should be done by challenging previous assumptions in order to move the mission forward. Cast Member Church is a perfect example of that. Since it’s important for a pastor to know the people that he is trying to reach, Rich suggests three ways to contextualize.

1. Consider multisite as a response to rapid growth.

Many churches that have rapid growth tend to go multisite. These churches expand rapidly and hit some sort of growth barrier. Each of these churches runs out of room to seat people. From this point, you have to decide what your church is going to do. Is it going to start another service, build a bigger building, or go multisite?

According to Rich, any growing church that is over 400-500 people is either actively going multisite or is considering the idea. The correlation is this: a multisite should be a response to growth, not a way to create growth. Multisite is a solution to accelerate your growth; it’s not a solution to grow a stuck church. If your church isn’t growing, you might end up multiplying your problems by going multisite.

2. Consider using video or livestream.

In response to growth, there are multiple options when it comes to multisite. There is no silver bullet that works for every multisite church. Some use video, others preach live, and many more are combining the two as their strategy.

However, one thing that is more true today than ever before is the declining cost of livestreaming. So if you’re going to use video for your campuses, look into livestreaming over satellite.

Many people have a stigma toward video campuses. Some pastors think that the congregation would oppose video—as if it were a lesser means to hearing the gospel preached. However, according to recent research, many people don’t actually consider it as big of a deal as many pastors do.

To read the remainder of this article, and to listen to the entire Behind-The-Scenes segment with Rich Birch, click here for the full video and post.

This video is part of Plus Membership. To get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.


  • Multisite is a solution to accelerate your growth; it’s not a solution to grow a stuck church.
  • If your church isn’t growing, you might multiply your problems by going multisite.
  • If you’re reticent about doing video, test it with your people, and survey their response.
  • We need innovative church planters who are willing to create new churches.
  • Church leaders that want to multiply: Do it. Pick a road and run with it.


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Senior Associate Pastor of Beulah Alliance Church, a multiplying multisite church focused on reaching 1% of Edmonton for Christ. His latest book is You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love. He is also the author of No Silver Bullets and co-author of Planting Missional Churches. He co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, as well as the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Because of their love for the local church, after pioneering and leading the church multiplication initiative for LifeWay, Daniel and his wife, Christina, moved back to Canada with their three children. For more information, visit danielim.com and follow him on social media @danielsangi.


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