The “Reimagine” project seeks to apply New Testament principles to present-day modes of church practice.
How will you reimagine your ministry to meet the realities of our current situation? What innovative practices can you utilize while still upholding the core teachings found in Scripture? Below you will find some information, tools and resources to help you begin to reimagine.
What Is a Microsite/Microchurch?
It’s not a house church, but it could be. It’s not a missional community, but again, it could be. It’s not a multisite, but yet again, it could be one of these as well. Ask 10 people to define microsite and you may get 10 different answers. Simply defined, a microsite is a community of believers who are connected to a local church but meet in a location separate from the church. Though many microsites meet in homes, they may meet in a public space like a park, a coffeehouse or any other gathering space. Many microsites share in the life of the sponsor church on Sundays by utilizing video or a livestream for teaching and worship with a conversational small group feel to them.
When the coronavirus practically shut the world down, most had no idea that it would impact us for so long. The inability to physically gather together caused most churches to hurriedly transition and jump into online digital ministry. And while many quickly made the adjustment to sharing an online worship service, creating online community proved to be a bit more difficult. While many churches have gone back to some sort of physical gathering, social distancing requirements still make larger gatherings difficult.
Now and in the future, many churches may have to rely on online and virtual means to connect with their congregations, making digital solutions a higher priority than they have been in the past. How might a microsite assist in helping your church engage at a deeper level?
A Solution-Filled Microcosm?
A microsite location of your church is another way to approach the mission of God to make more disciples through gospel-centered worship, community, service and eventual reproduction. Think of a microsite as a microcosm church that can be done by anyone, anywhere at any time. A microsite can be developed by training spiritually mature leaders in the competency of how to shepherd and care for a group of people. The microsite participants are encouraged to think of their gathering as “their church.” Because the gatherings normally have some sort of centralized structure, leaders can focus on the relational and discipling side of ministry.
Microsites often engage mission together by owning a shared mission. While a microsite may choose a local mission to partner with — for example a local food ministry, public school, pregnancy center, homeless shelter or addiction ministry — the microsite also owns the mission of their chosen neighborhood. This means caring for the lost, having gospel conversations with the people in their world, and viewing the microsite church as a home by which new believers can be grown into the family.
Reproducing Through the Microsite
Where a reproducing church takes abundant resources (people and financial), all it takes to reproduce a microsite is a plan, training leaders and a mission field. Microsites can be wonderful leadership development incubators that lend themselves to giving leaders the opportunity to follow God’s leadership and to branch out to a people or a place God may be leading.
Reimagine Church in a Different Way
If a believers’ weekly gathering didn’t revolve around going to a centralized building, but rather, a smaller gathering that centered around care, disciple-making, accountability and mission, what would happen if gathering restrictions reappear? Because the microsite is developed to be a smaller, decentralized form of church, is it possible that microsite is a COVID-proof solution?
Because of the smaller gatherings that are built around deeper accountability relationships, it is possible that the move of a microsite to a digital platform (e.g., Zoom, Facebook Live or Google Meet) would be more effective if gathering restrictions were to reappear. By taking a proactive approach toward training and decentralizing a portion of your church and leadership, you may find your church in a better position to rebound in the midst of gathering restrictions.
Who Would Lead a Microsite?
A microsite leader would be a leader that has come from your ministry and has shown an observed spiritual authority and maturity among your congregation. Their track record of serving and mission alignment (very important) would be affirmed prior to training.
Another important part of the microsite is establishing that every microsite also has a host-type of leader. Whereas the spiritual leader will oversee the training and spiritual leadership of the group, the host leader has a desire to gather people and create hospitable environments that people enjoy being part of.