Considerations and options in this growing model for churches
By Stephen Roberts
The number of new multi-site ministries is difficult to calculate, seeing as the term “multi-site” can mean so many things.
But one thing is clear: the multi-site church model continues to explode. It won’t be long before every community in the United States has at least one church that is part of a multi-site congregation.
This proliferation of multi-site facilities is not only recognized by people looking to plant churches — it’s also being observed by equipment manufacturers. This means that innovative products and solutions will continue to be developed, as well as drop in price.
Internet bandwidth requirements continue to increase for the average consumer, and are increasingly mobile — with 4G speeds rivaling the average household cable modem. Additionally, more fiber lines are being run in cities across America, which allow for tremendous data speeds and large files to be moved consistently from one location to another.
On top of all this, the cost per byte of data is continuing to fall as market forces work to introduce competition and new service providers.
Why Go Multi-Site Anyway?
For many, the decision to move to a multi-site ministry is economic in nature. Perhaps the current campus can no longer support the growth in attendance and the church doesn’t have the funds to build a new, larger facility.
A smaller facility that will supplement the main building and spread out the attendance is a great option.
For those pursuing multi-site, you will be happy to learn that you no longer have to spend a boatload of cash on gear to get a quality experience. Innovative technology and dropping prices across the spectrum have made video venues a viable economic model for almost everyone.
There are many items to consider when planning for a multi-site ministry that can inform your production decisions. By carefully considering these on the front end, you will save headache and money in the long run.
Visual continuity is a big issue when taking content from one venue and transporting it to another. For example, if the acquisition venue (where you are filming) has a beach ball theme, and the receiving venue does not, then it can definitely destroy the illusion.
To combat this, you can create a projection backdrop of the pastor in the acquisition venue that can be changed when needed, or you can plan on getting a tighter shot with the camera to reduce the amount of background that is seen.
Keep in mind that the content in video venues has to be duplicable. If your first church can accept content in real-time via a T1 Internet circuit, and your next venue is in a more remote location without a T1, you will now have two standards and systems to work with. It’s not impossible to do, but it does make things more complicated.
It gets hard to juggle if you have one facility that is live, another that is almost live, and another a week behind. Keep in mind that the solutions increase in price and complexity the closer you get to “real-time” streaming.