It is impossible to run a church without great leaders. The leaders you have on staff each bring their own unique personality to the overarching culture of the church. So what happens when you launch a new campus? Do you split the leaders up…sending half to your new campus and leaving the others where they are? Do you bring in new leaders from outside of the church? How can these leaders effectively communicate with one another to ensure that each campus is following the brand and vision of the church? There is no one way of solving this challenge. Every church is different, in the same way that every multisite campus will differ from the original church. The important thing is to identify your leaders early on in the multisite planning process and set up communication that will allow everyone to be on the same page.
Identify Leaders Early On
Perhaps you have a large pool of leadership talent in your main campus. When launching a new campus, make sure your leaders are a part of the process. It is important to identify who will fill the leadership roles of the new campus early on. When your church grows large enough to consider going multisite, you need to draw from the talent that you have in order to develop the plans for your new campus. It is vital that you keep these potential new leaders involved in the plans so that they can help craft the culture of the new campus.
Hire Staff…Sooner Rather Than Later
It’s very possible that you don’t have any leaders to spare for your new campus. They can’t be expected to keep doing what they’re doing and run a whole new campus. If you are going to have to hire leaders from outside of the church, try to bring them in before the new church launches. We recommend that new leaders be hired six months to a year before the intended launch date.
By appointing or hiring leaders before you launch your new campus, you can bring them into the church family and make sure that they become a part of the church culture. Spending time working together helps your team develop lasting relationships that will make running a multisite church together easy and enjoyable. Also, your members will want to know who the leader of the new campus is going to be before they make the decision to attend.
Unique Culture and Community
As we discussed in the previous installment of this series, you want your multisite church locations to follow the example of the main campus, but you don’t necessarily want the new campus to be an exact replica of the first. Make sure the leaders of the new campus understand the overall vision of the church. However, most multisite churches benefit from having the leaders determine the way the multisite runs and operates based on their own personalities, or even the culture of the location where the multisite is launching.
We are not saying that you launch a new campus, leave it in the hands of new leaders, and forget about it. Great leadership comes from the top, and your main campus should be involved and connected with your multisite, but they should not be completely in charge. The multisite needs to interact with the central church leadership in order to remain a part of the larger church vision, but they must also have their own set of leaders so that they can develop their own culture or fit into the culture of the location they are launching in.
Each team (Kid’s Ministry, Worship, Technology, etc.) has their own systems and processes. As planning for a multisite begins, it is easy for each team to begin planning for their own needs, instead of considering the overall vision. During the planning process, it is important for the leaders of each team to meet regularly to share the plans and processes they are putting into place. In doing this, everyone can stay on the same page as progress develops, which allows everyone to work together to most effectively deliver the vision for the new campus. We find that without this regular communication rhythm, each ministry team will build their own “silo” and there is a duplication of efforts between ministries, or gaping holes that cannot be fixed in time for launch.
Effective communication should continue after the church launches. Establish practices that allow your church leaders in each site to communicate on a weekly basis. Make sure that the leaders get to regularly interact and plan in-person. Celebrate the unique qualities of each campus, but always remember to treat the entire church as one group, working toward the common cause of Kingdom growth.