Multisite churches are a global phenomenon—with massive, often untapped potential for global missions. In Multisite Missions Leadership, former missionary and veteran missions pastor, Nathan Sloan, acknowledges the unique complexity of multisite churches, but also expresses the tremendous opportunities for leveraging them beyond their local impact. Along the way he invites readers into the journey of his own church (Sojourn Church in Louisville, KY) from “pillar” (one church with a single service) to “collective” (a collection of churches collaborating as one church). Thus the ebook provides very personal and practical guidance for leading missions well in a multisite setting. It also includes a detailed list of books for missions leader development. For current and potential missions leaders in multisite contexts, this resource is one of a kind.
The following is an excerpt from Nathan Sloan’s forthcoming book Multisite Missions Leadership, coming January 2020.
Global missions leadership in the local church is a niche staffing role. It seems to be growing at a steady pace, but it will always be a small group of ministry personnel. Because of this, little has been written or developed to help missions pastors and lay leaders grow in their specified field.
Most of the training and development that happens among missions leaders is a weaving together of pastoral theology, field missiology, and leadership trends. If little is available to vocational missions leaders, seemingly nothing has been written for missions leaders in multisite churches.
It may seem like an extremely narrow group of people for whom to develop resources, but often multisite churches have the personnel, resources, and influence to make significant impact in gospel advancement from the North American church context.
“Often multisite churches have the personnel, resources, and influence to make significant impact in gospel advancement from the North American church context.”
These multisite missions pastors and leaders receive help not primarily from books or other written resources, but from ongoing relationships with other multisite and large church missions leaders, as well as those in the larger global missions community. The resources they value most are insights they exchange with one another. These conversations might take place at conferences, overseas trips together, monthly meetings, or through scheduled phone calls.
Priority in this relational learning model is placed on learning from the failures, successes, and best practices of those in the trenches of local church missions ministry. Missiologist Eric Wright hits on this idea of collaboration when he says, “The world hasn’t been evangelized yet because Christians are attempting to do it independently, rather than together.”
Growing in leadership and practice through ongoing relationships is a beautiful outworking of this idea of collaboration for greater kingdom impact. Though more formal materials need to be developed, this model of relational learning is in many ways better than traditional forms of ministry development.
There are creative ways you can grow as a multisite missions leader when more traditional forms of ministry development are limited. Are there other missions leaders in your area from whom you can learn? Consider gathering regularly as a small group to share ideas and experiences.
Are there other churches around North America or beyond that face many of the same challenges as you and your church? Consider establishing relationships to better encourage one another and share best practices.
Are there other churches that are doing global missions well? Consider reaching out to ask if you could spend a day with them to learn and share ideas. Do whatever it takes to continually be a learner in the area of missions leadership.
Nathan Sloan is the Pastor of Sending at Sojourn Church Midtown in Louisville, Kentucky. His role includes leading local mercy, church planting, and international missions. Nathan has a Doctor of Missiology from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Before being a pastor, Nathan and his wife Sarah served as missionaries in Kathmandu, Nepal, training national pastors and working with an unreached people group. At Upstream he currently serves as a consultant, contributor, and Chairman of the Board.