Sabbatical Week 3: Visit to a Multi-Site Church where the Buildings self-fund!
I first met Chad Pullins when my office was offering a workshop for churches wanting to go multi-site. Healthy churches that take on satellite locations are popping up all across the world. Chad has a unique approach. He emphasizes that the parent church must first hammer out its DNA for mission and why we want to expand our footprint for the Kingdom. Chad led Crossroads Church in Fayetteville, N.C. (a United Methodist community of faith) in assessing the New Testament model for church expansion. They identified God's calling at this juncture in their life together and then started a second site. They intentionally learned from John Wesley's model for starting a church in a particular place based on the hurts and hopes of the people in that community. Today their locations are critically placed to minister to people with addictions, loneliness, family challenges and financial strains.
I sat down with Chad and two of the campus pastors, Nick Rich and Kyle Burrows, in the coffee shop area of their gathering space at the parent campus - Crossroads South. These pastors serve as a team, build a common series for the combined campus and then teach the same message at all locations. The church serves Fayetteville as one body in multiple locations. This city has a very large military population which is a blessing and challenge. Military families tend to be very interested in the church and highly committed. Yet they move about every 2-4 years. So leaders are raised up and sent to new places. Crossroads is a mission sending body in this way. They intentionally disciple all their members so they make great missionaries at their new military base community.
One aspect of the Crossroads network that caught my attention was the way they fund their facilities. Fayetteville is a military town and highly blue collar and middle income. So facility costs are a huge challenge. They set up a separate LLC that owns their buildings, runs the coffee shop and handles the rental usage. At present, 60% of the facility costs (mortgage, utilities and upkeep) is funded through the LLC. This is very unusual and a great idea for churches. They rent their large meeting spaces for receptions, dinners, community events, etc. And their coffee shop is open 5 days a week.
Chad, Nick and Kyle shared with me that one of their priorities is doing life together as disciples and families. So they are intentional to share family meals, retreats, read books together and just have fun. This feeds their accountability, relationship building and avoids clergy family isolation. I think it improves teaching and leading the church as they learn from one another, have strong relational support and have natural connections for accountability and input into one another's campuses and ministry.