One of the most popular developments in church life over the last fifteen years is that of churches having multiple sites, or campuses. “One church in multiple locations” is the new by-word of growing numbers of churches.
Congregations are multiplying their reach by launching smaller versions of themselves across their cities and, in some cases, in locations as far as several states away. By doing so, they make church more accessible to more people.
So, this “multi-site” movement might be confused with fresh expressions of church. After all, we say this Fresh Expressions movement is about taking the church Jesus loves closer to where the people Jesus loves actually are.
These two approaches, however are very different. Here are some distinctions:
One church certainly can take both approaches—launching new campuses and new forms of church. For years I was the pastor of a church that did both. My personal experience is that fresh expressions of church are much simpler and cost-effective, and more likely to engage people who do not know or follow Jesus. Both approaches, however, are meaningful means of expanding the Kingdom of God.
Travis Collins is Pastor of First Baptist Church, Huntsville, Alabama, and Director of Mission Advancement for Fresh Expressions US. He holds a PhD in Christian Mission and is the author of From the Steeple to the Street and Fresh Expressions of Church.