Let's Talk Multi-Site

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted some thoughts on multi-site leadership.  And even though I haven’t been writing about it, my head has been swimming with multi-site details.

This month has marked two major milestones for Cross Point in multi-site leadership:

  • Willy Maxwell came on as our new Campus Pastor for Dickson.  This was the first time we had a campus pastor transition at an existing campus and I’m so grateful for how well it has gone.  Willy is an amazing leader and I’m so excited about this year for Cross Point Dickson!  (Willy also blogs some great stuff about multi-site, you should check it out.)
  • We launched our fifth campus – Cross Point Downtown.  This was our first campus geared to a very specific audience – 18-25 year olds/college students.  The energy of this place is amazing!  (I won’t bore you with my sob story of how old this crowd makes me feel 🙂 )

Navigating these two major milestones has helped me define 3 Critical Elements that every site needs:

1) A Great Leader. This is true of everything in life.  “Everything rises and falls on leadership”.  In multi-site, the campus pastor is key.  Visionary.  Trustworthy.  Committed to the over-arching vision of the church.  Ability to manage staff well. Just to name a few.  John Atkinson has a great post on the qualities of a campus pastor.

2) A Team of Influencers. The best campus launches begin with a team of sold out volunteers who will do whatever it takes to make that campus happen.  They are passionate about creating a place to invite friends, neighbors and co-workers.  This team needs to not only have hard-working, whatever-it-takes attitudes, but they also need to be people who have influence in the community.  You want a team of ambassadors who will talk about the campus everywhere they go.

3) Location. Location. Location. Finding a great location that fits your budget and meets your needs is one of the greatest challenges to multi-site, especially if you don’t have the means to build what you want (I’m guessing that’s at least 99% of us doing multi-site.)  The most important thing that we’ve learned in choosing venues is that if you are going to be in leased space (school, theatre, etc), choose a location that is known by the community.  Choose something that is in the heart of where people live and work.

It’s impossible to launch the perfect campus, however the more we do, the more I’m realizing how critical these three elements are to the success of a campus launch.

What has made your multi-site ministry effective?

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  • ArtieDavis January 26, 2011  

    Great reminders Jenni, was talking about this last night, thanks for the simplicity and the bullet points!

  • Anthony Coppedge January 26, 2011  

    I would add to your list (which I completely agree with) the need to graft each satellite campus into the EXPERIENCE and SHARED VISION of the main campus while allowing for the unique DNA of these external campuses to reflect their local communities.

    You can’t replicate the main campus, but you can duplicate some of the key elements of the church vision and offerings. Things like brand consistency, leadership and scalable process thinking are necessary to duplicate. At the same time, the worship style (not experience), the volunteer base and community outreach should be very unique to each campus. This requires a great deal of intentionality, coupled with the ability to say “no” to good things that are not part of the DNA, will help satellite campuses grow beyond the brand recognition of the church.

    My 2 cents,


    • Jenni Catron January 26, 2011  

      Great addition, Anthony. I totally agree!

  • Pingback: Have You Hit The Lid? « MultisiteVisions January 31, 2011  
  • MultiSiteGuy February 7, 2011  

    MultiSite Fast Facts:
    -50% of all multisites start in a school
    -one third of multisite campuses are result of a merger
    -40% campuses launch within 15 minutes driving time from sending campus
    -48% campuses launch within 15-30 minutes driving time from sending campus
    -70% campus pastors come from sending church
    -The campus pastor decision is the most important decision going multisite
    Welcome Willy Maxwell!