by Dave D’Angelo, Executive Director of Development at NewPointe Community Church
Operating as a multisite church is challenging. Launching each of our new campuses created pressure, but it was good pressure because the payoff was so near. But there are even greater challenges that come with being a multisite church that never seem to stop. These include challenges of calls for clearer communication from every direction, unending examples of vision slip among campuses, and new questions that challenge the effectiveness of your ministry model in new community contexts, among many others.
Tension like this can be good but it also can be overwhelming. Taking time as a team to dialogue through some critical questions will bring valuable perspective and clarity to your operational “how” as a multisite church. Not answering these will only further deepen the tension into something worse. Here are a few to get you started:
- Are we duplicating or translating? Duplicating is franchising with exact replication. Translating means more campus autonomy and freedom. Many churches land on each side of this scale, and some right in the middle. The key is deciding for your church. If you don’t, your staff will, and what’s the chance they will all decide the same? (hint: they won’t.)Will your campus teams focus on duplicating ministry or translating ministry DNA? Each church has to decide what this looks like. The only wrong answer is not answering this question.
- What calls can I make? Every church has key components that drive their ministries. Things like: Mission, Strategy, Metrics, Programming, Execution, People, etc. A lack of clarity on who specifically makes the call when it comes to each of these areas will quickly develop into a roadblock for your church. Every staff member will have opinions and can contribute to the dialogue, but someone has to make the final call. Until that person or team is identified, look out.Between the senior leadership team, central team (ministry direction setting group), and campus teams, lanes and boundaries must be determined. If not, the blame game is nearby, and a culture of suspicion isn’t far behind.
- Where’s the scoreboard? One shadowy tension that is under-acknowledged in a multisite context is the temptation to compare from campus to campus. It’s natural, and nearly unavoidable. One way to fight this magnetic pull is to change the narrative. Give each campus its own scorecard and publicize these to your entire team. Defining wins and success is critical, but so is sharing that information.It would be foolish for a church with attendance of 300 to feel unsuccessful when compared to a church of 2,400 – right? But this comparison happens all the time without an intentional scorecard. Anytime an athlete looks at the scoreboard and quickly sees that they are winning, momentum and morale build. Ministry leaders need the same.
Take time as a team to find your answers to these questions. Try to view the time, dialogue, frustration and fulfillment as an investment in the clarity of your multisite operating model that your staff and volunteers deserve.
Follow Dave on Twitter @davedangelo.