“A Multi-Site Church Road Trip” Q&A

At Mosaic, we started our first campus off-site from our main building in East Los Angeles in 1998 when we began meeting in a nightclub downtown.  Now in 7 different locations across California, we have enjoyed the beauty of partnership at the highest level, and we have also experienced the challenges with this strategy.  The authors of A Multi-Site Church Road Trip asked me to pose a couple of questions to them during their blog tour.  Here is the first one.

My Question:
How do you determine what may be centralized vs. what is decentralized? For example, does a campus Children’s Ministry leader report to the campus pastor or to the Children’s Pastor or both?

Their Reply:
Whether you are opening your first off-site location or have almost as many campuses as Baskin-Robbins has flavors, the structure issue is a constant challenge. In our first book, Multi-site Church Revolution, we profiled the basic structure of a typical multi-site church as it adds new sites. In A Multi-site Church Road Trip, we take a look at the following four structure questions that every multi-site church must answer with every new site they start:

1. Who makes the decisions? Deciding who makes the big decisions, the small decisions and all the decisions in between is a major part of getting the structure question right. As the number of campuses and their distance from the original increase, there tends to be a greater decentralization of decision-making.

2. Do you need a central support team? Typically, when you cross the threshold from three to four campuses, it becomes necessary to have more centralized support in terms of creative arts, IT, accounting and HR.

3. How do ministries interrelate? There are several models that seem to work here. In rapid growth models, typically the “design” of ministry is developed centrally and executed locally. This scenario often results in “solid lines” of accountability back to staff on the original campus. In other more decentralized models, the direction is set centrally and campuses have freedom to design ministry to more accurately fit their context.

4. How does the campus pastor thing work? One of the key learnings of some of the most successful multi-site churches is the employment of a campus pastor at the original campus as well as the satellite locations. This frees the senior leadership to provide direction for the entire church and provides greater pastoral care for the original campus.

Finally – plan on morphing. Whether you have two or three campuses or your vision is for a one-hundred-campus multi-site ministry, your structure needs to be regularly examined for effectiveness.

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For further dialog, see more Q&A at the authors’ blog www.multisiteroadtrip.com or contact them via Twitter: @geoffsurratt, @gregligon or @warrenbird. Click to order Multi-Site Church Roadtrip and to order Multi-Site Church Revolution.

Showing 4 comments
  • Nathan

    The question is, who decides on who makes the decisions that get decided on by the Decider? 😉

  • Greg Ligon

    Great question! 🙂

    Typically, the elders (or equivalent in other governance structure) provide direction to the senior leadership team. In many cases, they give decision-making authority to this same team who in turn distribute authority according to their multi-site structure. That answer your question?

  • Nathan

    I was kind of being facetious. 😉 I remember a leader at a huge organization once talking about a need to schedule a meeting where they would schedule a meeting to decide about a decision. Was kind of funny to me…

  • Greg Ligon

    Gotcha – the red tape tango!

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