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New Rules for Church Buildings in a Multisite World

The church is not a building. The church is people. Jesus did not say, “I will build a building.” He said, “I will build my Church.” There is a big difference. Though the Church is a universal and spiritual reality, it also has a visible and physical expression.

Whenever followers of Jesus gather together in His name, they meet in a place. They are the ecclesia “assembly,” a tangible expression of the body of Christ. These assemblies meet in a place. This place becomes sacred space not because of location or architecture but because Jesus is present with them in a spiritual and corporate sense.

Buildings are not the primary goal, but they do serve a purpose; they help church leaders leverage location and facility for maximum Kingdom impact. In the new book I co-authored with Tim Cool entitled, Church Locality: New Rules for Church Buildings in a Multisite, Church Planting, and Giga-Church World, we take a closer look at the locations and facilities that reproducing churches are utilizing today to extend their reach and impact.

When talking about the convergence of church locations and church facilities we coined a phrase to focus this conversation: Church Locality (location + facility =locality).              

For church plants and the 8,000 multisite churches in America, location and facility matter greatly. Where does the church meet? Where is the right location? Which locations provide the greatest opportunity to reach people? What are the potential pitfalls of a specific location?

New rules have emerged for church buildings and church plants. Several options now exist for multiple campuses. The book drills down to the core of where the best options are located. Church locality is about the convergence of location and facility. This book gives practical insight into the best location for optimal church health.

The early followers of Jesus began the habit of meeting regularly together on the first day of the week (Sunday) to commemorate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week.

They met to worship, to be instructed, to pray, to break bread together, and collect offerings to help the poor and spread the good news (1 Corinthians 16:2). They met in buildings—temple courts, homes, market-places, synagogues, schools, and even underground cemeteries called catacombs. Eventually they constructed buildings and built large cathedrals.

Today there are new factors that are dramatically shifting the way we build and utilize church facilities.

The emergence of multisite strategies, resurgence of church planting and the exponential growth of giga-churches are changing the church building conversation. Growing churches today are utilizing existing commercial facilities, re-purposing existing church buildings and constructing community-friendly facilities to reproduce themselves for greater outreach and impact. In “Church Locality” we have compiled practical articles to help church leaders when thinking about buildings and site selection for new campuses, church plants and church construction. It’s about being good stewards and making the best use of these places where visible communities of faith gather together.

Are you leveraging  your church location and facility for maximum community impact and Kingdom gain? 

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Jim Tomberlin is founder and senior strategist of MultiSite Solutions, a company dedicated to assisting churches in multiplying their impact. Over three decades of diverse ministry, Jim has pastored a church in Germany, grown a megachurch in Colorado and pioneered the multisite strategy for Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. Jim is the author of “125 Tips for MultiSite Churches” and co-author of “Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work.” Jim is based in Scottsdale, AZ. You can email him directly at jim@multisitesolutions.com, subscribe to his MultiSightings blog or follow him on Twitter at @MultiSiteGuy or @MergerGuru.