Q&A: Multisite Church Systems with Ministry Management Services Founder Dan Droubie

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Dan Droubie served as New Life Community Church’s Administrative Pastor for thirteen years, in the Chicagoland area.  In that capacity, he pioneered highly effective systems to handle wide ranging administrative and logistical infrastructure questions arising from the development of multisite church operations.  Dan has recently launched Ministry Management Services, which assists church plants, multisite groups, and other nonprofits to improve their infrastructure and administrative systems throughout the US.   The following is from Dan’s recent interview with Wagenmaker & Oberly partner Ryan Oberly.

What are some key administrative and logistical considerations for churches and other nonprofits venturing into multisite operations?

A lot of leaders are sold on the value of multisite as an evangelism tool, as a way to reach communities with the gospel and for leadership development.  However such leaders are not sure how multisite churches operate at the tactical nuts-and-bolts level.  It is critical to help churches think through their operations in a multisite environment.  Care should be taken to think through the Org chart: the things to be centralized or decentralized, budgeting and accounting processes, and other important aspects of their ministry that are impacted by their desire to go multisite.

There are different ways that churches become multisite.  Some churches plant in new locations; other churches merge.  Since each scenario has its own unique joys and challenges, it is helpful to have someone involved who has been through several new church plants or church mergers.  An experienced advisor can point out where the landmines are and help churches avoid the common pitfalls.  Ministry Management Services addresses that need.  I have been part of many successful church plants and mergers.  I apply my experience to help church leadership teams think through circumstances and develop strategies to maximize opportunities and avoid pitfalls.

How do the needs and systems change as the multisite operations evolve?

Consider this example:  Let's say that you have two sites and you have two separate accounting ledgers.  That can create some pain and extra work, but it may be bearable at the 2-3 location level, and it may be worth the trouble to have clearly separate reporting for the two campuses.  However, once the church grows to 5 or 6 sites, the pain from managing and reconciling 5-6 separate accounting ledgers can become a real problem.  So creating a single ledger that can still effectively report the income and expenses of each campus is an important process to have in place - it's scalable as you add campuses. 

This is just one example of the importance of having good processes in place to accommodate the rapid growth that can occur from multisite.  Growth in the Church is a great thing.  However, if you don't have the right processes in place, the multiplication effect of multisite can multiply the damaging effect of poor processes. 

It has been a true joy working with Dan over the past several years, to address many of the legal issues that arise in church mergers and multisite church operations.  We wish him the best with the new consulting venture.  To learn more about Ministry Management Services, visit www.ministrymanagementservices.com