Harbor Churches

One Church Family. Where you live.

2900 Baldwin Street
Hudsonville, Michigan 49426

Multisite FAQ’s

Questions and Answers about Second Campus, Satellite, or Multi-Site Ministries

by Don De Kok, coordinator of church multiplication for Dakota, East Sioux, and West Sioux Classes, RCA

There is a growing interest, not only in the RCA but in the wider Christian world, in second campus, satellite, or multi-site ministries. These titles all refer to similar concepts in ministry. Sometimes house churches or cell churches are included in this discussion as well. The important thing is not to get hung up on titles or labels, but to get hung up on how to expand God’s kingdom in the culture in which we live. Bill Easum wrote recently an Internet article that says churches of 200 members are four times more likely to birth a new church than churches of 1,000. Size is not the issue–kingdom attitude and vision are.

These types of ministries can be an important and vital part of reaching our culture for Christ. We have reached the “easy” people. Now it’s time to find ways of reaching the people who are still choosing to sleep in on Sundays even though our churches are offering many opportunities and ministries. Second campus, satellite, multi-site, house, and cell churches can be a strategic means of expanding God’s kingdom.

  • +What is a satellite, second campus, or multi-site ministry?

    Put simply, it is the mother church meeting at two or more locations. It is an outreach ministry of a mother church that seeks to bring Christ to people who are not reached by the mother church. It may meet at a different location than the mother church and may have a style of ministry very different than the mother church. Size is not the issue. The issue is whether the ministry reaches unsaved people. It can be led by staff or lay people from the mother church.

  • +Is a second campus ministry a new church?

    No. Though to most anyone, it would seem to be its own church, it is still part of the mother church, under the leadership of the mother church, may use the resources of the mother church, and may be funded by the mother church. It is the mother church now meeting in two or more locations.

    In the Harbor Churches, no single site functions as the “mother church” but the organization as a whole is led by a single governing Consistory, Senior Pastor and leadership structure.

  • +Is a second campus a duplicate of the mother church?

    Yes–if you want to bring what is done at the mother church to a different part of the city or area. In this case, preaching may be done via closed circuit TV. Worship can be handled live or through media hookups.
    No–if you want to reach a different group of people through a different style of ministry. In this case, preaching will probably be live at the second campus and worship style will differ from the mother church.

    Most of the Harbor Churches are not duplicate sites but, instead, a unique expression of the Harbor Churches vision within specific communities.


  • +What benefits does a second campus ministry give the mother church? 

    • Allows the mother church to develop a new DNA to reach people.
    • Provides more doors for people to come into relationship with the church and Christ.
    • Allows the mother church to support multiple outreaches using multiple styles to reach various people groups.
    • Opens leadership opportunities for people at the mother church and the second campus.
    • Brings vitality and vision to the mother church.
    • Enhances mission in the local community.
    • Utilizes the gifts and creativity of people.
    • Does away with “worship wars” because the second campus meets at a different location.
  • +Who provides leadership and oversight of a second campus? 

    The consistory of the mother church is the one who gives birth to the idea of a second campus. Overall leadership and oversight comes from the mother church consistory. Within the Harbor Churches system, each campus also has a Campus Leadership Team lead by the Lead Pastor of the campus in order to provide spiritual leadership within the campus.

  • +Who gives leadership to a second campus ministry?

    Most churches have people who have a passion to reach those who are not in relationship with Christ. Encourage these folks to be part of the core group. Many times these folks are also involved in other ministries in your church. It is important to free them from those ministries, as a second campus ministry should take priority for their time and energy.

  • +Common misconceptions about a second campus ministry

    • It will take leaders away from our church. In reality, it opens more opportunities to raise up leaders in both ministries.
    • It will take money away from the mother church. Since this is one church meeting in two locations, all offerings can go into the same budget.
    • I won’t see my friends. I won’t see my children or my grandchildren. These are real issues. People love to come to church and see their extended families. Proper teaching will be necessary to help people understand that kingdom expansion is more important than everyone being at the same building at the same time. If families see each other at church, they can just as easily see each other after church or during the week.
    • The second campus could become competition to the mother church. In most communities, more than half the people don’t have a church home. Do the math–there is plenty of room for both ministries to reach people. Statistics show that churches who give people away to a second campus actually increase in both attendance and offerings within the next 12 months. We must continue to remind our people that the goal is kingdom expansion, not the size of our church.
  • +How many people are needed in a core group?

    The more the better! Many gifts are called for. If a mother church could bless and commission 40 to 60 people to this ministry, that would give it a good start.

  • +What about children of the core group?

    All the ministries and opportunities of the mother church are available to the children, teens, and adults of the core group. They need the support and nourishment that the mother church provides. As the second campus ministry grows, it will probably begin to create ministries of its own for the people who attend. No timetable is set for this.

  • +What style of worship would a second campus be?

    Whatever will reach the target group. It could be traditional or contemporary, rock, rap, or country, informal or formal. If you are trying to reach senior citizens, you will tailor the ministry differently than if you are trying to reach Generation Xers. Remember that second campus ministries usually target a more specific demographic than is presently meeting at the mother church.

  • +How large does a church need to be to birth a second campus?

    It needs to be big enough in heart and kingdom vision to want to reach people. Can you birth a second campus without crippling the mother church in leadership and finance? Harbor Churches would like all of its campuses to function above 200 in worship regularly, which means any campus could birth a new campus if it remains over that threshold.

  • +What do consistories need to know about second campus ministry?

    • They were selected by God to lead his church to victory.
    • The purpose of God’s church is to bring lost people to Jesus.
    • Most communities are at least 50 percent unchurched.
    • People forming the core group of the second campus need to be released from duties in the mother church.
    • The core group must be prayed over and commissioned for the task.
    • The core group must be offered regular encouragement.
    • Regular communication must be given to the mother church concerning the progress of the second campus ministry.
  • +What does the mother church pastor of a church with a second campus ministry need to know?

    • Their support or lack of support will make or break the ministry.
    • Their encouragement to the core group is vital.
    • They should often pray publicly for the second campus.
    • They should help the mother church congregation understand the importance of outreach.
    • They should provide ways for people of the mother church to be involved with the second campus–through prayer, prayer walks, being part of the core group, taking over a core group member’s present responsibilities at the mother church, and encouraging mother church members to worship at the second campus from time to time.