In-Person vs. Video Teaching: Multi-Site Churches
Over the last two weeks, we announced that the U.S. now has at least 8,000 multisite churches (by the broadest definition) and also 5 trends in how multisites launch and grow. On March 11, we’ll release an illustrated report covering over 25 major findings. It’s titled the Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard—you can sign up at the bottom of this blog to receive your complimentary copy.
“How does the main teaching work, especially as churches add multiple campuses?” That’s one of the most-asked questions about multisite, and so our survey included a number of questions about various practices. A few of the findings:
• The likelihood of video teaching increases with both attendance and number of campuses. The larger the overall church, the more likely it is to use video teaching. There is also a clear progression of the role of video teaching as the number of campuses increase. In-person teaching is practiced by about half of multisite churches until about 6 campuses when video dominates.
Our 2013 survey showed an increase in video usage since our 2010 survey. Back in 2010, 20% used video teaching almost entirely (which increased 27% in the 2013 survey), 46% used in-person teaching almost entirely (same percent as 2013 survey), and 34% used a combination of in-person and video (which decreased to 28% in the 2013 survey).
It’s interesting to note also that the approach of a “rotating teaching team” peaks among churches with two campuses. This logically makes sense as that’s probably the easiest size for shuttling teachers back and forth between campuses.
• Churches are still exploring ways that video teaching works best for their context. You might assume from the findings in the previous paragraph that new campuses are mostly video. Not so. In fact, newest campuses feature in-person teaching more often than video.
• The majority of video teaching (69%) is pre-recorded rather than live. The most popular approach (43%) is to record the message at an earlier service, and then play it in one or more locations the same weekend. Some churches (17%) record the message the weekend before or “at an off time” (9%) such as Thursday afternoon or Saturday morning.
However, almost one third (31%) of multisite churches still broadcast their messages “live or almost live” to their other campuses. “Our congregations feel very connected when [the teaching pastor] takes opportunities to go off script and speak directly to a specific campus,” one survey taker added.
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