Franchising Church

January 19, 2005 by

Borrowing from McDonald’s, churches are beginning to franchise–or offer multisite locations, as it’s commonly described. The solution allows larger churches to expand beyond the limits of their facilities and location, often reusing elements of the church service for these satellite locations.

It’s not a bad ideas, as long as community is emphasized. Unlike McDonald’s, people are important to the church and there needs to be a communal connection between a group of believers. Satellite churches can’t turn into fast food locations where you visit the corner franchise for the sake of speed and convenience.

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Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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5 Responses to “Franchising Church”

  • kevin
    January 19, 2005

    It seems to me that denominations were really the original church franchise–not necessarily sharing the actual elements of a service (sermon, songs, skits, etc.), but certainly sharing a lot of the behind the scenes elements (statement of faith, business/legal/financial help, organizational structure, staffing–especially in transitions, and potentially even marketing).
    It seems like it might be helpful for some denominations to begin following this satellite model, especially as the pool of available clergy is stretched thin.

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  • AnneJackson
    February 2, 2005

    We do this at the church I work at. We have our Main Campus services (Sat @ 5, Sun @ 8, 9:30, 11:10, 5 & 6:30 – all identical) and we have 2 at our “Westside Venue” which is an off site location. It’s a video venue – we tape our 8am message and broadcast it at the venue services, but we have a live band. We have some pictures and stuff up at our website, We needed more seats at prime-time, and this allowed us to get an addtional 500 people to hear the most important message of their life!

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  • AnneJackson
    February 2, 2005

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  • John
    June 6, 2011

    The so called “Great Comission” and role of church workers (cf. Ephesians 4) is not about going into all the world to make scalps for Jesus and then tossing them into a corner after they have been obtained. It’s goal is to teach others HOW to “observe all things that [Jesus] has commanded.” People do not learn by lecture but this is the mode of “teaching” when the church comes together. The church workers are to edify the body, help to bring them to maturity so that they (THE BODY) can do the work of ministry. And so there must be room for the Body to minister when it gets together and not just use the people as a source or recruitment to bring others into the church building to participate in a performance and forever listen to a lecture.

    Typically, if a person shows some promise and a heart for the LORD they are told to go off to Bible College to receive training and this training typically involved studying many books ABOUT God and writing papers on those books. Upon gradulation they come back to the church congregations and teach the people knowledge/information. Why did the person leave the congregation in the first place for training elsewhere? Was it not because training does not take place “in church” where one mouth speaks and everyone else is to take on the uniform (and passive) role as ears?

    This is not biblical. Consider: Eph 4./ 1 Cor. 12/14; John 15.

    Growth comes in not maintaining a service but in meeting together with the LORD and the LORD being able to work through ALL of HIS BODY without the limitations put on Him and the condesending attitude and contempt placed on her via the tradition of men. The Order of Men is not the same as the Order of God (the Kingdom of God). When Man rules God does not.

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  • Noreen
    June 7, 2011

    John, I hear your heart in your post above. I’d like to suggest that there are a couple of key elements of the multi-site/video venue model that you might not be aware of and which, in fact, specifically address some of your concerns.

    What a video venue does is bring a church closer to the people who need community. The existing church with the large infrastructure imports that to a neighborhood or location to make it easier for people to meet together and support each other in following Jesus. The new site has its own pastor who, because he or she doesn’t have to spend time crafting a weekly teaching, can focus more directly on shepherding their smaller flock. Multi-site churches each have their own worship team, facilitating smaller, more intimate settings to lead people into the presence of Christ as they worship.

    Multi-site churches are good stewards of resources, leveraging technology to save time and money on stuff that’s already in place (solid biblical teaching, printed communications, vision, support systems and staffing, etc.), freeing up the smaller, newer site to devote its resources to discipling people.

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