A Conversation with Jim Tomberlin

Church Consultant Jim Tomberlin recently met with some of our staff and church leadership to engage a conversation about multi-venue and multi-site. Jim is the multi-site guru and lends a significant amount of expertise in the discussion. I could elaborate on many aspects of the conversation, but here are a couple of observations.

87% of our community sleeps in on Sunday morning. While our perception is a churched Virginia culture it appears as if the opposite is true. Obviously going to church doesn’t make you a Christian (you can be a Christian without going to a church), but church connection (in my opinion) is a spiritual indicator. Since formation happens best in community, church participation is significant. With that said, there exists a constant population in my community that doesn’t demonstrate a church relationship. That’s a huge opportunity for Cool Spring or any church in our area.

80% of multi-sites succeed where as only 20% of church plants succeed. Let’s accept the definition of success as vague either growing, stagnant or a pulse – since only a fraction of American churches are actually growing (realize an attendance increase). Regardless, this isn’t a mandate to choose multi-site over church planting, but the statistic is worth noting. Not every church is a candidate for multi-site. Not every church is a candidate to give birth to a church plant. When certain criteria exist, the likelihood for greater impact is with multi-site. That’s a huge observation.

This month I’ll attend a church planting conference with a multi-site track. The conference is born out of a commitment to accelerate the multiplication of healthy, reproducing faith communities with a specific conversation in the key shifts in making and growing disciples. I’ll keep you posted.