(Photo: Christian Post/Alex Murashko)
Two movements among Christian congregations in the U.S. today, churches with multiple locations (multisite) and leadership development (discipleship), continue to gain momentum as new innovations are being introduced. In addition, perhaps in an even newer development, a growing number of churches are intentionally developing a culture of generosity, an effort to help carry the gospel message outside the church, says the director of new media and technology for the Leadership Network.
"The multisite (one church, multiple locations) movement continues to gain momentum," Todd Rhoades, of Leadership Network, told The Christian Post via email. "We're seeing no slow down at all in the number of churches being involved in multisite ministry. In fact, we're seeing new waves of innovation in the movement itself: including international campuses, online campuses, the move from big cities to rural environments, and more churches partnering to redeem facilities and struggling churches through church mergers."
Rhoades, along with Leadership Nework, hosted a webcast conference on Tuesday called, Church Innovate North America. Guest speakers, which included pastors from around the country, spoke about multisite churches, leadership training, and generosity.
"Churches that intentionally focus on leadership development are able to multiply their reach and programs into the community," Rhoades said. "They are also better able to sustain long term impact by developing leaders to continue and grow their ministries."
The growth that was talked about during the webcast included not only church strategies, but a network strategy when it comes to church planting. Rhoades said there are a couple of areas of development in church planting.
"We are seeing a couple of things here, including the growth of church planting networks – groups that focus on church planting," he said. These networks are "planting multiple churches across the country at the same time under the same banner. They know what's working, and try to duplicate/multiply results through new church plants."
Speakers discussed the area of generosity, perhaps a new way of framing tithing and volunteering, as a way for Christians to grow in their faith.
"A growing number of churches are beginning to see that highlighting their emphasis on generosity is a way of maturing people AND carrying the church's mission outside the walls of the church," Rhoades said. "Generosity doesn't just pertain to money, but also time, talents and other resources. Churches that are intentional about generosity from the top leader on down find that it's contagious – and that generous churches and generous leaders create generous individuals. It's a real faith growing thing."
Pastor Joe Hismeh of Fellowship Bible Church in Topeka, Kan., was described by organizers of the event as someone whose intentional preaching and casting of a vision for generosity during the last year had a remarkable impact on his congregation. His church has been able to completely fund their ministries, increase their outreach giving by over 70 percent, and pay off all debt.
Hismeh stated that, "Generosity has become a value in our church because I was willing to follow God on this."
God's word on the matter is that "we need to excel in giving (2 Cor. 8:7)," he said.
On the Web: http://www.leadnet.org.