Ekklesia reports a new church growth phenomenon:
The number of US congregations that host worship services at more than one physical location has grown to more than 5,000 in the last decade, according to a new report – writes a correspondent for ENI/RNS.
Researchers say these “multisite” churches, which may share worshippers across town or many miles apart, are growing at a much larger pace than traditional mega-churches.
Without the burden of additional expensive buildings, congregations find they grow faster in new places, said Warren Bird, research director of Leadership Network, who announced his conclusions last week.
“It’s a combination of both evangelism and saying, `People may not come to this particular building. How can we take where we are to where they are?’” he told Religion News Service.
Bird, the author of books on the multisite trend, has tracked the number of churches meeting in more than one place for his Dallas-based church think tank; he combined his findings with Faith Communities Today surveys.
Multisite churches have grown from fewer than 200 in 2001 to 1,500 in 2006 to an estimated 3,000 in 2009 to more than 5,000 today. In comparison, US megachurches have grown from about 50 in 1970 to about 1,650 in 2012 in North America.