We encourage you to watch this video video about multisite to learn more about this process, and visit Canal Fulton UMC’s website to learn more about their congregation. In addition, here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Questions and Answers

Q: What exactly is a multisite?


  • One Church meeting in several locations
  • All sites share the same DNA, VISION, BUDGET & LEADERSHIP
  • NOT a self-governing congregation

Q:  What are the benefits of a multisite congregation?


  • More intimate worship/connections
  • Team-based preaching and constructive feedback within preaching group
  • Opportunities to involve more people in the process of spiritual maturity and leadership
  • Leverage the advantages of a centralized office and infrastructure
  • Experience of other places have found a 90% success rate of sustainability for multisite

Q: Why should Church of the Lakes embark on this vision when all is stable?

A: Our central mission is to “Know Christ and make Christ known through worship, prayer, fellowship, discipleship and service.” Our congregation has a long history of reaching out to the wider community and inviting them to become disciples of Jesus. Fifteen years ago, Church of the Lakes planted a daughter congregation, Crosspoint that has grown and expanded the kingdom. This vision of multisite is intentionally not spinning off an autonomous congregation but we are expanding our geographical vision. Experience from other congregations has shown that new multisite churches attract people who were not previously involved in a congregation. Cornerstone multisite endeavors (in Grand Rapids, MI) have shown that each campus averages over 300 people every week and that 75% of them were not involved with the main campus; instead they were all new to the faith.

Q: Why Canal Fulton UMC?

A: Canal Fulton is a growing suburb and the present congregation has many strong existing programs including: their preschool, fellowship groups, scouting ministry, and small groups that will continue and expand with the merger. Leaders of our Church, District & Conference felt that Pastor Don Ackerman possesses the gifts of leadership, and of building community. He will be instrumental in the merger.

Q: Are we taking over Canal Fulton UMC?

A: No, we are planning a merger with Canal Fulton UMC. Much like a marriage we will combine resources, including but not limited to: our mission, finances, organizational structure, congregations and staffing.

Q: Will Church of the Lakes change its name?

A: Since we would be one church in locations, Church of the Lakes will become Church of the Lakes Lake Cable Campus; while Canal Fulton UMC will become Church of the Lakes Canal Fulton Campus. A new logo will be created that will capture this new vision.

Q: When will all of this happen?


  • A town hall meeting will be held on Monday, January 14th at Church of the Lakes to discuss the vision
  • A special joint church conference will be held on Monday January 21st at 7:00 pm at the Canal Fulton UMC, at which a vote will occur where members from each congregation will cast ballots for or against this proposal
  • If a majority vote at both congregations is in favor, the merger will take effect July 1, 2019
  • A launch team, made up of individuals from both churches, will participate in a five-month academy starting in the late winter to provide bridges for a smooth transition

Q: Would moneys designated for a specific project at one campus remain or be folded in to the general fund for both churches?

A: All money designated for specific projects will remain utilizing our memorial fund. Our general budget will be revised to include the contributions and expenses from the Canal Fulton campus.

Q: Will this change anything in our present worship service?

A: No, other than your pastors continually inviting you to pray about serving on this launch team!

Q: Will our Sunday bulletins be for our congregation only or will we be seeing information that really does not pertain to us?

A: Weekly announcements in the bulletin and enews would have items that pertain to all of us, both the Lake Cable and Canal Fulton Campuses. Though each campus will still have different fellowship events and groups, the entire Church of the Lakes congregation will be encouraged to participate in all of them. Both campuses will be doing the same sermon topics, and all-church small group studies. However, if there is an event or small group through the Canal Fulton campus that you are interested in, we hope that you will take advantage of it.

Q: Will our Pastors be preaching at the other campus?

A: For the past two years, Jared and Bryan have shared notes and ideas and learned from one another. Now Don will be part of this process. Don will be the primary preacher in Canal Fulton while Bryan and Jared will be the primary preachers at the Lake Cable Campus. However several times throughout the year, there will be a rotation of the preaching team. In other words, Pastor Don will occasionally preach at the present facility and Pastors Bryan and Jared will occasionally preach in Canal Fulton.

Q: Will we be required to worship at the Canal Fulton campus? 

A: We do not make any requirements for which campus or service you attend. However, some people from each current congregation will be asked to be part of a Launch Team to help with the merger transition. It will be up to those individuals if they choose to remain at the Canal Fulton campus or return to the Lake Cable campus (or move on to the next multisite location) after the transition period is complete.

Q: What exactly is this Launch Team?

A: We will be inviting a team of pioneers from each congregation to commit to a training of 5 months in a focused academy process. They will commit to the Canal Fulton site for at least 1 year. This is a crucial piece of the process to create a shared energy and vision of the combined groups.

Q: What if there are problems with the Canal Fulton building or financials?

A: Canal Fulton UMC is currently making improvements to their building, such as a new roof. At this early stage, a team from the present Church of the Lakes is inspecting the building in Canal Fulton to look for long-term items to address. These inspections will help the trustees plan for any upcoming expenditures just as they do with our current building.

Q: What will all of this cost?

A: Experience from other congregations noted that to start a multisite ministry requires a fund of approximately $200,000 to draw upon for renovations, signage, worship leadership, and audio-visual equipment. During our Capital Campaign, we committed $100,000 to this vision and the East Ohio Conference has committed to matching funds.

Q: How long will be have to pay for this second campus?

A: Through our Answering our Call Of The Lord Capital Campaign and the matching funds committed from the East Ohio Conference enough money has been pledged to help with needed updates in order to modernize the worship space for the Canal Fulton campus and help this vision get underway. Beyond these expenses we anticipate that Canal Fulton will be able to remain self-sufficient through their own contributions while utilizing our combined resources for some cost savings.

Q: How will all the financial offering work?

A: The Canal Fulton Congregation will continue to receive offerings which will be tracked and distributed accordingly:

  • 70% of the offering will be used at the site to compensate the pastoral support
  • 20% will cover the administrative costs at the central office
  • 10% will be tithed for missions to the local community

If you have additional questions, please email Pastor Bryan.