The ‘Strawberry Runner’ is a common model for church planting in Australia. Also known as the satellite model, or multi-campus model, this approach keeps a new congregation strongly connected with the base. Staff allocated to the new campus or setting remain on the team for the sending church.
The strawberry runner model makes it possible to start a congregation in non-traditional settings in which a conventional church may not connect.
Advantages for this model include the capacity to adapt to local needs while retaining the resources of a larger church. The small congregation can focus on providing an intimate setting for discipleship and provide an opportunity for members to attend the large celebration offered by the sending church. Small congregations renting property for worship can benefit from the security and credibility of offices and facilities offered by the home base’s permanent building.
One disadvantage is that some ‘strawberry runners’ will wish to become separate congregations, maybe before the sending base leadership is prepared for that. The sending church may be depending on the giving income from the new congregation.
Another challenge is the energy required to sustain a multiplicity of congregations in different settings.