Marian Liautaud, Author at Alignment Conference
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Marian Liautaud


How to Think Strategically (and Spiritually) About Church Expansion: An Aspen Podcast with Thrive Christian Church

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Whether you’re considering the launch of your first multisite campus, thinking about planting your tenth church, or exploring the relocation of your existing church space, you must think strategically about that expansion process.

The two guests on this fifth and final episode of the Alignment Conference Podcast know that reality all too well.

For nearly three years, Bob Gray, project developer at Aspen Group, and Graham Richards, senior pastor at Thrive Christian Church, worked alongside each other exploring new growth opportunities within the church. And this past summer, all that work came to fruition with the opening of Thrive’s new site in Westfield, Indiana.

In this episode, Bob and Graham reflect back on that process, discussing the questions they worked through, including:  How do you know when it’s time to make a change, and, what kind of change should be made?

On October 17, Thrive Christian Church will host the 2017 Alignment Conference, giving church leaders a chance to see firsthand the impact that a new, strategically-designed space can have for a church. Listen to this podcast, and you’ll be well prepared for this year’s event.

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How to Respond to Your Church Planting Call: An Aspen Podcast Featuring Patrick O’Connell

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The tug. The calling. The spiritual tap on the shoulder. However you describe it, you’re certain that God has laid it on your heart to plant a church. But you’re less certain on what to do next.

Where would you plant it? How do you gather a team? Do you have staff ready to launch these new churches? And if so, how will they actually do it? Who’s going to pay for it? What kind of budget is even needed?

Or maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum. Maybe you’re an experienced church planter who now leads multiple campuses. How do you not only hold it all together but also maintain energy as you try to keep your organization moving forward?

In episode 4 of the Alignment Conference podcast, Patrick O’Connell, director of NewThing Network, answers several key questions about church planting and expansion strategies. Whether you’re brand new to church planting or a seasoned veteran, Patrick shares a wealth of information for church planters and leaders who are eager to answer God’s call to plant a church.

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3 Key Reasons Why Churches Launch New Sites

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When Aspen Group partnered with Barna Group on the More Than Multisite research project, our teams went into this study thinking that leaders in growing churches want to know how to plant or “go multisite” and to learn best practices in terms of branding, facilities, organizational structures, and so on.

In the past, space constraints would have been the main driver for churches looking to launch new sites. According to our findings, facility constraints or accommodating growth barely register as primary reasons. Even among the secondary reasons for adopting their particular model, these drivers are mentioned by only one-quarter or less of any group. Read More


Taking New Ground for the Kingdom: An Aspen Podcast Featuring Dave Travis

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Whether it’s pursuing a new geography, a new people or ethnic group, or a new generation, growing or expanding your church through a multisite approach involves taking new ground for the Kingdom.

But what are some of the biggest challenges you’ll likely face as a pastor when launching your first multisite church? And how about church mergers? Is that a consideration for your church? What’s your plan for leadership succession? Better yet, what makes a great multisite leader in the first place?

Don’t worry. You’re not the only one asking these questions.

In episode 3 of the Alignment Conference podcast, Dave Travis, CEO of Leadership Network, pulls from his 20+ years of experience with multisites to offer his thoughts on the obstacles you’ll confront along the way toward launching your next congregation, ways to prepare your leadership team, and what to consider with church mergers, acquisitions, and adoptions.

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Is Your Church Ready for Multisite?: An Aspen Podcast Featuring Jim Tomberlin

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You’ve thought about going multisite. You’ve even talked about what that could mean for your church. But how do you know if you’re ready to make the move?

After all, multisites seem risky—church planting too. You’ve seen other churches in your community try them and fail. If only you knew what mistakes they may have made, and how you can avoid them.

Fondly referred to on this podcast as the “godfather of multisite,” Jim Tomberlin is the founder of MultiSite Solutions and a recognized leader in the multisite movement. In Episode 2 of the Alignment Conference podcast, Jim offers three questions you can begin asking now to know if you’re in a good position to move toward multisite, along with several lessons learned from churches who made some mistakes along the way to launching their next church.


Taking Flight: A Podcast Interview for Church Planters with Mark Jobe

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Pastors: are you throwing your hands in the air, ready to quit? Not sure where to go next in your ministry or what God is calling you to? Experiencing burnout or exhaustion? Whether you’re a seasoned pastor or you’re diving into your very first church plant, chances are slim that everything in your ministry has gone off without a hitch. Maybe you’re at a point in your life where you simply feel… stuck.

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Responding to Your Vision of Church Expansion: An Aspen Podcast

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If your church wants to expand to more locations, you must first know the questions to ask:  What does “going multisite” mean? And a “church plant” . . . is that the same thing? How do other churches make a decision to expand? How might it affect the leadership and operations within my church?

In Episode 1 of the Alignment Conference Podcast, Brooke Hempell, senior VP of research at Barna Group, shares what she learned when asking church leaders around the country these same questions—all compiled in the More Than Multisite research study.

And if you’re not a numbers person, don’t worry. In this conversation, Brooke helps make sense of the data in applying it to your vision of church expansion.

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5 Models for Church Expansion

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Whatever the churches in your neighborhood look like, stop for a moment, and consider the church that isn’t there. At least, that isn’t there yet.

What will it look like? Who will attend? What will its relationship be with the people who live, work, and play in your zip code? How will it be built to reflect the values of those pastoring and attending the community?
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Announcing Aspen’s 2017 Alignment Conference: Launching Your Next Church

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“The idea of multisite churches began as a bandaid solution for megachurches that found themselves out of room,” says Jim Tomberlin, founder of MultiSite Solutions.

Now nearly three decades old, the multisite church model has proven it’s not a passing fad. But it’s changed a lot in that time, and its next phase will look nothing like its first.

Today’s multisite church includes hybrid variations of the traditional one-church-in-multiple-locations model, often incorporating planting as part of a church’s multiplication strategy. These new approaches call for new skill sets and structures to support rapid growth and change.

But where do you go for answers to the hard questions that surface in the midst of church expansion? And how do you think strategically about multisite and multiplying churches when so many new models are emerging?

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