When it comes to launching a new multisite campus, whether it is your first or your fifteenth, it is critical that your decision-making process is as objective as possible. Making a launch decision based on subjective information can be costly in terms of finances, energy, and influence. Just because you have a group of members excited about the possibility of a new campus in their area, or you have the finances and the facility lined up in another area, doesn’t mean that’s the best location to launch next.
So how do you make the right decision?
Recently I had a conversation with Layne Schranz from Church of the Highlands about how they make decisions regarding new campus launches. Among other things, Layne shared a dashboard they use that includes 22 things they consider when deciding which location is the right location for their next campus launch.
The Church of the Highlands team uses a simple color-coding system to give them a quick visual look into which locations, based on data and facts, are the frontrunners for their next campus. Green means the criteria for that factor has been met. It is good to go. Yellow means something is still missing – more work must be done. Lastly, Red means that either they are not ready or there is uncertainty about the launch.
I’ll share their whole dashboard in a follow-up email. But here are 5 key things you need to consider when deciding where to launch your next campus.
These are the things that must be in place in order for a campus launch to be successful. Some of these seem pretty obvious, such as a location, a campus pastor, the worship team, production, kids ministry, audio, and finances. But have you prioritized each of these essential elements? Do you weight these items differently, or do you treat them all the same?
This is one of Church of the Highlands’ “essentials” that may not be so obvious. Ask yourself: Is this an area of town where we can buy land or find a vacant building that we could turn into a church?
Lance shared that the city of Birmingham has a few communities where they actually could go into a high school and have church but there is absolutely no land available. In that scenario, Church of the Highlands would have to go into that school knowing they’d be portable forever. In this scenario, the exit would always be red on their checklist. That fact doesn’t automatically exclude that location from consideration, but it does factor in.
Every location has a lid. It’s either adult seating, your parking, or your kids’ ministry capacity. When it comes to deciding where to launch next, you need to know where your lid is. If all other factors were equal, how does the reality of a location’s lid impact your decision-making process?
Always have more leaders than you need. No matter how great it is, your vision can’t outdistance your leaders. If you aren’t developing campus pastors today, you won’t have the leaders necessary to launch campuses tomorrow.
Church of the Highlands is consistently developing leaders with the right gift mix (they look for ‘gatherers’ and ‘team builders’) who could one day lead a campus. This process begins with their Growth Track and small groups and includes their own ministry school (Highlands College Evenings) to further develop those working adults who may have a calling to serve in full-time ministry.
You don’t have to have as robust an in-house development track as Church of the Highlands, but you do need an ongoing pathway and process for continually raising up and developing leaders for church growth and multiplication.
Your Fiscal Strategy.
Always have more money than you’ll spend. Church of the Highlands sets its budget on only 90% of the previous year’s revenue. Doing so creates margin that allows them to do many things, including responding quickly to opportunities for growth and expansion that God sends their way.
Church of the Highlands Campus Launch Dashboard
These are five key ideas to help you think through your campus launch decision-making process. In the next few days I’ll send the full Church of the Highlands launch dashboard, so watch your inbox for that email.