A few years ago, I announced to my church that I wanted us to start a multi-campus strategy and that I would be asking many of them to pray about leaving our Central campus to be on mission. Now, here we are, just days away from launching our third campus, Church at The Mill Lake Cooley Campus, and we could not be more expectant about what God has in store.
You may be wondering what a multi-site model is and why we need it. Why add other campuses when your church is healthy and growing? To be honest, if our goal as a church is a strong staff, committed members, plenty of guests, and a beautiful campus … we have a major problem. That cannot be the goal. Churches all around us are dying. We live in the buckle of the Bible belt, and no matter what direction you drive in our city, you will pass at least a half dozen churches that reflect this truth. I am not being critical. I am not throwing rocks. We minister to many of these churches and love to help them in any way we can. But over 85% of churches like ours in the state of South Carolina have plateaued or are declining, meaning there are communities all around us not being fully reached with the hope of the gospel.
We want to be an integral part of our local communities, prayerfully and strategically starting campuses as we partner with them, care for them, and impact lives with the gospel. We are so grateful for the impact our church has on Spartanburg County, but we do not believe that God wants us to keep what He is doing in our church to ourselves. We do not need to hoard it; rather, we need to reproduce it. And we cannot reproduce it without reproducing leaders.
This is why we also want to raise up and equip leaders, pastors, and preachers of God’s Word. I realize there are many differing multi-campus strategies in churches today, but in my journey as a pastor, the Lord has given me a great burden and passion to help train the next generation of men who will faithfully shepherd God’s people in their community and faithfully preach God’s Word. So with this model, we will be one church, with three campuses now and the hopes of more in the future. Each campus will be led by a pastor who preaches live and joins a campus staff in shepherding and leading the members and guests of that location under the guidance of the Senior Pastor, who preaches weekly at the Central campus.
God has truly blessed our church, and we want to leverage our influence to help other communities. The multi-campus model will help us develop the next generation of pastors and leaders in the church, and when we have a network of men and women who are trained to lead the church in our surrounding communities, we won’t have to spend time wringing our hands, wondering what the future holds. We will know that lives are being changed and the gospel is going forth all around us.
I hope you will pray for us and even partner with us as we seek to grow this model of healthy and dynamic churches in our area.