You might be ready to Branch
or create a CAMPUS if....
- You are feeling constrained by your walls.
- You feel a calling to support sibling UU congregations nearby or extend your reach to a new part of town.
- You sense an itch to extend your geographical reach, or to expand your mission to reach a new population of UUs.
- Your church has a culture of wanting to help other UU congregations thrive.
- Your church is a bit evangelical, wanting to share the Love and Grace of Unitarian Universalism.
If these ring true, you might be ready to become a Branch Multisite or a Campus Multisite!
Branches and Campuses are both outward looking. They have rich cultures of generosity, so they feel that focusing on members within their walls is not the point of church. They see themselves as serving the region around them rather than the people "inside."
There are some crucial differences between a Branch and a Campus model.
Here's the skinny:
A Branch Model is...
• made up of one established congregation and the smaller congregation(s) which they support and partner with
• bound by a gift of resources
• motivated by a "spirit of help" (resource support)
• hoping to ensure survival and vibrancy
A Campus Model is...
• made up of one established congregation that starts a new site (campus)
• bound by shared staff, programming and mission
• motivated by a "spirit of serving more” (i.e., a desire to extend, expand, and evangelize)
• hoping to expand ministry to a new population or evangelize their wider region more effectively.
In both cases, the models begins with one "hub congregation" offering support to their partner(s). But what begins as a one-way relationship quickly evolves into a two-way exchange of gifts. Larger congregations supporting their "branches" soon discover those branches bring new ideas and new perspectives. Churches who create an additional campuses often do so with the explicit intent to reach new populations, and thus quickly receive the gifts of greater socio-economic, cultural, and racial diversity.
It helps to think in metaphor. Branch models get their name from the way a tree's trunk and root system supply nourishment to its branches. In the same way, an established church nourishes smaller ones with the nutrients of shared sermons, RE, and small group resources. The Campus model gets its name from colleges who add new sites to make it easier for students to access them. Campus models were previously referred to as "satellites." This term is usually abandoned because it implies a more one-way and dependent relationship than actually exists. However, the metaphor of a satellite does capture the original intent of Campus models to extend their reach and mission to new "orbits" and areas of "space." Both models emerge from a generous heart, with branches wanting to reach out to others in support and campus models wanting to reach new people and populations.
If your generous heart is feeling constrained by the walls of your
singular building, maybe Branches or Campuses are calling you!