A Campus vs. A Church Plant?

As an advocate of both church planting and starting new campuses as a way to bring faith, love, and hope to others, I have been in a conversation many times over the years about the advantages of the two.

Here are some distinctions for a campus vs. a church plant as I have seen:

  • A campus embraces the core convictions of the main campus.
  • A campus embraces the core values of the main campus.
  • The elders of the main campus oversee and invest in the campus pastor. (This includes budget approval and financial oversight).
  • Strategic decision-making made in conjunction with the executive pastors and/or lead pastor of the main campus which includes selection of campus pastor and all paid staff).
  • Leadership development includes going through the same process as the main campus.
  • The campus pastor teams with the rest of the paid staff for training, idea sharing, and mutual encouragement.
  • The campus pastor is involved in regular meetings and communication with executive pastors and/or lead pastor of the main campus.
  • The campus joins the other campuses for message series (exceptions can be made).

In essence, the campus pastor can focus on building relationships, communicating, and counseling (the people aspects) rather than the administrative arenas.
What are some other advantages and disadvantages of each that you’ve experienced?

Showing 5 comments
  • Christian

    I can see the plusses and minuses to both, as well. However, in creating campuses, I think the biggest danger is that the church’s lead pastor can become insulated from the congregation simply because of how large it becomes. This can lead to the lead pastor becoming disconnected from his congregants.

    He’s still the head of the church, but if the congregation begins to feel like he doesn’t have time for them, the health of the church can suffer.

  • Derrick Engoy

    We’re actually gearing towards merging with another church and adding it as a second campus. The biggest downside I see, when a campus pastor isn’t initially assigned, is that the attendees of the main campus will feel abandoned, at times, by their lead pastor. Business, as usual, will seem discombobulated. Those at the second campus, specifically if it was an existing church, will feel a slight bit of “take over”.

    All in all, it’s a great journey.

  • Sako Kassabian

    That’s why there should be a plurality of leaders and not just a ‘lead’ pastor.

  • Wes

    Hey Eric,

    I appreciate your observations, and I think they are valid and mention some of the positives to campus ministry. There are difficulties, but there is something to be said for being tied to a core set of values and such from the main campus.

    One thing I’d disagree on (respectfully) is that there is necessarily an ability to focus on the “people” side of things more. That is totally dependent on the supporting staff at the campus. Depending on who is working along side the campus pastor, they may or may not have more time to focus on the people and have to worry less about the administrative aspect. All that to say, I think the philosophy of campus ministry is to get to that place (where the campus pastor is focused on the “people”) but that’s as difficult as doing so at the same time as launching and carrying out the regular weekly objectives at any church plant.

    Thanks for the great thoughts on campus ministry bro, it’s great to have conversations that sharpen our ministry endeavors.

    • Eric Bryant

      Great point, Wes! In the ideal world, the campus pastor could focus on the aspects of ministry he is most passionate about, but often we still have plenty to do that is outside of our gifting. These are the moments which require character, perseverance, and the ability to recruit and train up others to replace us.

Free Consultation

If you're interested in a free 30-min consultation with me, simply fill out this form and I'll contact you!