Is two really better than one?

Rob Ward asked the following question in a previous post and we thought that it deserved a reply in the main section of the blog: 

"Rich: Not that I understand much
about this but, regarding the tech issues, wouldn't it be easier to
start out in one location and then branch out to multiple sites?"

Great question Rob!   I think you've hit on a key issue that we need to talk a little bit about.  In some ways adding a location in Barrie and Orillia is twice as much work . . . setting up two of every volunteer teams.  In other ways setting up the two locations is exponentially more work . . . adding new functionality like the ability to produce video in Barrie that would be sent to Orillia the following week.  Are two sites really better than one? It's a totally legitimate question!

First of all, we meet in the largest building in Oro.  If we end up moving out of the facility on Line 7 it's going to mean a move in some direction.  We're faced with the reality that finding a home for our community means that people are going to have to change their driving patterns on a Sunday morning.

Our church is privileged to have people from all over Central Ontario that attend.  When most of our people are inviting their friends to church they have to explain that it is a 20+ minute drive out to Line 7 to attend a Sunday service.  The incredible part of this reality is that people are willing to make this drive and keep doing so every week.  Because there isn't a viable option for us to continue meeting in Oro we are forced to explore facilities in both Barrie and Orillia as great next steps.

If we were to choose one location over the other we are turning that twenty minute drive into a forty minute drive for the friends of a large percentage of our community.  So . . . we've been working on finding a solution that would allow us to bring the church closer to the majority of our people making it easier for us to invite our friends.   Another key factor is that we want to position ourselves well to launch more locations down the road.  The reason behind the transition we find ourselves in is because of wanting to move into being a multisite church in the future.  We don't want to alienate those people in Muskoka and the north end of the GTA that travel to church currently.

We are exploring the option of opening two locations because it allows us to move the ministry into the heart of more densely populated areas which we believe will give us the ability to engage more people with incredible story of Jesus.   This move would also allow us to serve the people that are currently apart of our community better!

So Rob, to answer you question directly . . . yes . . . it would be easier to launch in one location to start and then branch out in the future.  But the elders and leadership believe that the stretch of launching two locations is worth the cost to reach more people.  Does that make sense?  What do you think?

Rich Birch
Executive Director of Operations
Connexus Community Church

p.s. We were in some of the facilities that we are evaluating as potential locations in Barrie and Orillia this week . . .  I am pumped to talk with everyone about these potential meeting spaces.  I think they would serve us VERY well.  The excitement with the people who were touring the facilities was electric!  (More about this stuff in future posts!)



  1. Tim L. Walker says, September 23, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Great job on updating the RSS read and using an alternative to typepad on the comments. 😉

    Rob: great question, and Rich, great answer. What about the staffing logistical challenges for 2 churches right off the bat? Can the current staff handle the responsibility of running 2 churches? Even with the help of volunteers, I would fear it would be stretching the current staff quite thin (especially in such a short amount of time). Would love to hear more of the specifics of how this would play out.

  2. Carey Nieuwhof says, September 23, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Hey Bassman…insightful question about staffing. That's one we've talked through and prayed through alot. We have an awesome team right now and every staffer has been invited to join the Connexus team, so that's a great base from which to begin.

    Obviously, size of congregation and size of staff are related, so we can pre-plan a bit and anticipate need, but we have to monitor givings very carefully in the first six months to make sure we don't overextend anyone. We also have to watch our growth, be it positively or negatively to get the staffing ratio right. A general rule of thumb is one full time staff person for every 100 people in worship on Sunday…right now we have eight full time staff and about 850-950 on a Sunday, so we're close. Volunteers are obviously a huge part of ministry, and trust me, each of you will be invited to step up like we've never stepped up before as we make the transition. I'm sure we'll discover gifts we didn't know were present and as people who are uninvolved step up for the first time, we'll see the power of team more fully released.

    That said, yes we would like to do a few strategic staff adds…likely in tech and certainly something more permanent in groups (Rose Meeder has offered some great part time help). Also, our family ministry will need additional staffing soon. You're right to observe that we'll be on a change curve which means it's not the same as staffing for a status quo ministry.

    Last point: because our campuses would be so close together and we are already at multiple services and multiple weekly environments in our present site, our team is already used to multiple 'venues'. That really makes the transition to two campuses easier. Part of the multisite vision is one staff in multiple locations, but eventually staff would have particular campus responsibility, even if we're part of the same staff. Plus, we all have a blast working together. 🙂

  3. Tim L. Walker says, September 24, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks Carey! We appreciate you taking the time to keep us more in the know. 🙂

  4. Joanne says, September 25, 2007 at 6:09 am

    I very much hope the church can stay in Oro.

    However if not, it is good to remember, that according to the past Census southeast Barrie has the dubious distinction of being the most unchurched area in the whole country of Canada.

    S/E Barrie is the the huge area around Big Bay Point Road/Young Street/Huronia. It is densely populated and demographically it is full of young families. Already quite a few people in this area come up to Trinity, so either way, it is a huge area for potential growth for the church.


  5. Rich Birch says, September 25, 2007 at 6:39 am


    We're planning for either situation – staying at Line 7 or going portable. We'll see how God will lead!

    South Barrie would indeed be a logical choice for a location – that's for sure. Keep your eyes peeled as we talk about locations in the coming days.


  6. Cathy Penelton says, September 25, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Hey Guys! Wow. How exciting to see God's people jump out in faith and real excitement about finding effective ways to be His hands and feet.
    Praying for this adventure daily.

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