Our recent webinar on Making Multisite Work included Live Q&A throughout the presentation. There were so many great questions to answer! While we tried to answer everything, a few deserved a deeper answer than our limited time allowed. Here’s a bit more dialogue around some of those multisite questions.
What are some key talking points to help an “addition” minded congregation move to a multisite congregation? – Kristy K.
An “addition” minded church is usually focused on growth at one location through multiple services, a building expansion, etc. To shift the conversation to a multisite approach, begin sharing where people are driving from to attend that location. Discussing the distance factor helps shed light on why those people from further away are attending but may not be fully engaging as you would hope in volunteer teams and small groups.
Also, shedding light on the “invisible lines” that sometimes really do exist between communities helps people think beyond a single site location.
Finally, show the cost of expanding your current facility versus the cost of launching new campuses. Often the “reach potential” is much greater through multisite than building expansion.
“With a ‘matrix’ [staff structure]clearly presented, what ground rules do you need for guys that have more than one boss?” – Dan P.
A matrix staffing model can be both difficult and rewarding for those who report to two different people. It is important to develop some specific guardrails and language. Here are a few to consider:
- Remembering each other. Push leaders toward a practice of sharing any best practices and pitfalls they discover.
- No surprises. Encourage everyone (supervisor, direct report, influencer, etc.) to develop the habit of communicating thoroughly so all are informed, not just the person above you.
- Staff story sharing. This is a valuable moment where teams can “thank the passer,” pointing out assisting teammates across the organization. Doing so builds value despite position on an organizational chart.
- Keep short accounts. When frustration or miscommunication arises, keep relationships healthy by quickly addressing those elephants in the room before they become overwhelmingly large.
- Clearly define your multisite reporting structure. Clarify the specific functions of supervisors and influencers. This is especially helpful when new people join your staff team.
“When you are early into the multisite journey it is nearly impossible to have a purely central services team from a financial perspective. What strategies do you suggest for helping teams navigate the ‘dual hat’ challenges that come with a person serving on both a central and campus team at the same time?” – Bill B.
At the first campus launch, a central services team will more than likely be made up of several campus staff members wearing multiple hats. It is important for leadership to monitor their workload and pace. Setting up a meeting rhythm really can assist those serving in multiple capacities. If they have to continually work hard to set up a meeting with people across multiple locations, frustration builds quickly.
Also, you can support these multi-role staff members (think utility player) by helping them physically attend both campuses. Often, the greatest pressure that builds is the tension created by not being able to be in two places at once. You may need to cross-train other staff to cover them in their absence. Taking this approach also provides this utility player with an excellent opportunity for leadership development and multisite perspective, deepening your team’s bench!
“What are the indicators of a healthy multisite launch?” – Kevin G.
Some key indicators that often show up in the churches we work with are attendance growth, kids attendance, baptisms, volunteer participation and group participation. Those last three essentially measure the willingness of people to take next steps.
Beyond those, anything that can indicate the effectiveness of outreach to this new community is a strong indicator of health. Things like new family check-in numbers, asking guests how they found out about you (and resourcing that marketing channel), first time giving units, and baptisms all point to a healthy new campus because they indicate trust from families in your community.
“What strategies should you exhaust first prior to launching your first campus?” – William B.
Your church can begin taking steps today that will allow you to reach more people at one site and also prepare you for new campuses. Building and sustaining multiple weekend services stretches and develops volunteer teams. Adding a second venue on your existing location trains you for leadership development and leadership multiplication. It also provides multisite launch teams with a great training environment.
Utilizing IMAG video sets your teams and congregation up for video teaching technology that could be a part of your multisite strategy.
Finally, utilizing a teaching team allows your church to connect with different leaders and builds toward a healthy campus launch that is not dependent on one personality.
Looking to learn more about multisite?
Webinar Replay: If you missed our webinar, you can watch the replay including great Q&A discussion.
Multisite Research: We recently released our latest research on One Team. Multiple Locations. How Successful Multisite Staff Teams Overcome Distance and Lead Together. Download it here.
Multisite Services: Our team has 40+ combined years of experience at successful multisite churches across the country. Learn more about how we serve churches like yours.
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