Multiplication Center

Multisite: Things to Consider Before you Launch a Campus

March 29, 2013

Last week we launched our next InnovationLab focusing on Multisite at Leadership Network. Seven teams from across the country traveled to Dallas to learn together on this 12-month journey. Each of the teams represents a unique ministry context but all had one purpose in common: launch their first multisite location in the next 6-12 months.

Two incredible resources joined our Leadership Network team to create an environment for learning:

  • Kevin Penry – Operations Leader at presented ideas around how their church began the multisite journey 10 years ago.
  • Jim Tomberlin – Founder and Senior Strategist at Multistite Solutions shared the “pot holes” churches face when considering multisite as a strategy.

Critical Success Factor for Multisite

One of the conversations during the week centered around critical success factors for launching a multisite location. No matter what model of multiste your church chooses, there are some critical issues that must be considered if you will launch successful locations. These include:

  • Campus Pastor – Both presenters agreed: the single factor that impacts the success of each multisite launch is the campus pastor. This person has to be able to develop leaders, communicate vision clearly and implement the strategy defined by the ministry. According to Mutisite Solutions, nearly 70% of campus pastor hires are from inside the existing staff or congregation and should be on staff at least 6 months before the launch. Have you identified a potential Campus Pastor if you are considering multisite as a ministry strategy?
  • Paradigm Shift – Multisite is a paradigm shift for your church. You do not launch another campus without a clear plan of how to replicate your DNA, vision and existing ministry services – worship, kids and first impressions – to name a few. Your church has to change to be a “multisite church” instead of a church “with” a multisite location, a key learning that our churches struggled with. If you are planning on launching another campus, have you considered leading the “shift” that will take place in your church?
  • Trained Launch Teams – most multisite locations begin with 2-3 full-time equivalents, so trained launch teams are critical to the success of the campus. Churches often consider strategies such as having the core team for the multisite began worshipping and serving together before the actual launch of the campus. This strengthens the campus and solidifies the relationship of those in the core, while training the launch team before they arrive at the new location. Spend significant time preparing the launch team – an investment that will solidify the success of your campus.
  • Launch Core – According to Jim Tomberlin, studies have shown that the larger the launch core, the greater chance for success of your multisite location. As you prepare for multisite, consider areas where you can launch with 150-200 people. And remember: the number of people you begin with may have a significant impact on the success of your campus.

Several other success factors were considered, but these represent some of the “key” learnings from our teams.

Future Learnings
I will continue to share future ‘aha’ moments discovered by our team in the weeks and months to come. Even greater learnings are yet to come as these and other churches continue to innovate in the area of multisite.

Are you looking to launch a Multisite Campus?
At Leadership Network, we’re committed to helping churches launch healthy, successful multisite campuses. If you are looking to launch your first campus in the next 6-12 months, the Multisite JumpStart InnovationLab is for you. Fill out an application HERE and we’ll be glad to consider connecting you in a future Lab experience.

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