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Welcome to day three of our conversations with senior pastors featured in our new book – A Multi-site Church Road Trip. Today, we are headed to San Antonio for a conversation with Robert Emmitt, Senior Pastor at Community Bible Church.
1. Robert, your original campus there in San Antonio reaches 14,000 folks every week in a large, beautiful campus. Some multi-site churches have chosen to secure locations with a similar look and feel to that of their original campus but you chose to go with a wide variety of locations? Say a little about why you chose to do that?
Variety is the spice of life! The only people who really cared about the multi-site CBC’s looking and feeling like the original campus, were those of us who were at the original campus. The communities that we are reaching with our multi-site CBC’s don’t know anything about the original campus. So rather than try to recreate something that no one knew about, we just decided to let the pastors and leadership teams build their own church. They are all called CBC’s. They all have great music, practical bible teaching, and small group ministries. They are connected through our website. The pastor’s job is to find the best building at the best price. Whether that is a school, shopping center, restaurant or sharing another church facility. We’re open to whatever doors the Lord opens up for us.
2. What are the pros and cons of being in such a wide variety of campus settings?
The pro’s are the more different campus settings we find, the more doors we learn to knock on for the new CBC’s. I can’t think of any negatives for the wide variety. We are trying to reach, teach and help as many people as we can in Jesus name. The campus settings are secondary to our mission. That has been the history of CBC. We started in a restaurant, moved to a park, a movie theater, a store front, a shopping center and our current location. The buildings change but the mission remains the same.
3. Which of the settings works best? Why?
The permanent (at least 3 years) works best. The shopping center with a 3 year lease, is working great. The 4 acres with a new church on is great. Schools have been frustrating as they don’t really like having churches in them.
4. What is new about the multi-site ministry at Community Bible Church since we last talked?
We quit playing the CD’s of Robert, and let the pastors do the preaching. We are looking more like a church planting ministry than a traditional multi-site. We are moving from a part time pastor to a full time pastor model. It costs more, but if you want the churches to grow, then the pastors need to devote their full time to it.
5. What have I not asked that I should have?
How many CBC’s would you like to have in the next 5 years? Answer: 100 Are you on track? No.
Why not? We got bogged down in trying to manage all the details for the multi-sites. What is your solution? Tell the pastors “You can do it. We can help.” Wait a second, that’s Home Depot’s line. How about “You can do it, we’ll help you.”
We will stay in Texas tomorrow with a stop in to talk with leadership development guru Steve Stroope, senior pastor at Lake Pointe Church.
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