Have you ever watched a plant grow from seed form to bloom? The growth is gradual and often feels slow, but there’s something exciting about the process. There’s great anticipation for the thing that is about to grow from the ground. In the same way, God is growing His church, and there are few things more exciting than getting to partner with God as He works.
It’s the heart and vision of VOUS Church to reach those who are far from God and bring them close to Him, and we get the opportunity to do that as a multisite church. We’ve seen God’s faithfulness as He continues to expand our local reach with two physical locations and global reach with Church Online. Over the last couple of years, as we’ve transitioned to broadcasting services to multiple locations, we’ve learned a few things along the way that we hope will encourage you no matter what stage your ministry is in.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
One of our values is that excellence is our spirit. We will always do the best we can with what we have. And in order to be excellent, we have to be prepared. We move in the direction we look - we can’t prepare if we don’t know where we’re going. Every Plan A has a Plan B, and Plan B has a Plan C. As we prepared to launch our second location, there were two key elements we focused on:
The COVID pandemic flipped the world upside-down, and churches were no exception. Our volunteer roster took a hit. Before we could consider launching a second physical location, we had to intentionally rebuild our servant leader roster. Launching our iTech location marked the time when we went from serving together at one location to serving at two locations. At both locations, our team is made up of staff and servant leaders. It’s one thing to have a team; it’s another to have a prepared team. We focus on training and empowering our servant leaders across all of our teams. Equipping our servant leaders with the tools and knowledge they need, combined with the gifts God has given them, develops servant leaders who are committed to the team and serve with a sense of purpose and ownership.
Before launching a new location, we took inventory of our equipment. What did we already have? What needed to be purchased and what could be rented? Because our second location is inside of a school, we had to consider the transportability of our equipment. As you’re preparing and planning to launch another location, evaluate your mission, your needs, what you already have, and make technical decisions that work best for you and your church. We opted to use Haivision for our point-to-point stream and Resi to stream Church Online. We have an encoder and decoder to send and receive feed to and from each location so we can monitor what’s happening live from both locations at all times.
A word of advice when it comes time to execute after you’ve prepared: don’t assume you know the play! Falling into a routine can be dangerous territory when it leads to ineffective communication or things getting left behind. The solution can be simple - our broadcast team likes to follow checklists with every service to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Collaborate With Other Teams
Teamwork makes the dream work. We like to say that our church is not built on the talents of one but on the sacrifices of many. Our broadcast team is in charge of capturing the feed that is shared with Church Online and our satellite location. Before our broadcast team captures any feed, there has to be a collaboration between cameras, audio, lighting, and stage design to ensure everything flows together succinctly. Our broadcast team at SoMI (our broadcast location) is in constant communication with the team at City (our satellite location) during live services before sharing the captured feed with our film team. After the film team edits the footage, it’s handed over to our creative teams where the content is shared across social media and streaming platforms. Teams are interdependent, working together to accomplish the same mission.
Keep The Culture Consistent
At the end of the day, even though we’re broadcasting to two physical locations and Church Online, we are still one church. Our church’s identity and culture must be consistent in every space we occupy, and there are steps we take to unify our church members even though we’re not physically in the same place. Point-to-point is a great way to unite locations. During the announcement moment in each service, our SoMi location hosts interact with our City location hosts. We also incorporate point-to-point in the Culture Room moment for Church Online. No matter the location, our hosts communicate the same values, use VOUS lingo, and follow the same service flow and schedule to maintain consistency across locations.
Community is another important part of our church culture, and we’re intentional about cultivating community within our teams. Our broadcast teams gather outside of church to hang out together to build and strengthen relationships. And we look forward to midweek events like VOUS High Nite or Crew Catch Up when our City and SoMi broadcast teams get to serve together at the same event.
No matter where you are in the growth process, God will equip you for the vision He’s given to you. We believe the best is yet to come as we, the local churches, partner together with God to build the global Church.