Okay, so we’ve been a multi-site church since before I arrived at South Hills in December of 2010, however we recently just acquired a campus and have huge ambitions over the next 24 months. I thought I would write down a few thoughts on our acquiring journey thus far for those who are thinking about expanding…
• What’s your multi-site philosophy? It’s a great question that must be asked by as the children’s pastor. Try your best to get in the multi-site strategy meetings. That philosophy impacts you in a huge way and if it’s not defined can lead to months of chaos or stress in the unknown.
• Do your best to mentor and have leaders in place before you launch or acquire. Sometimes lead pastors have to jump on an opportunity that can’t be passed up and I always want to be ready to send leaders. Who are you raising up whom you could release today? If the answer is nobody—find someone and mentor that person.
• Decide ahead of time what we call “3 Do’s of Kid Nation”—What each campus Must Do, May Do and Never Do. Our lead pastor had us think about these things and it’s a very helpful list. It’s used to decide if a campus is able to be acquired by us and who is capable of leading Kid Nation at that campus.
• Write out clear job descriptions. People want to know what is expected of them, especially when something new is being launched.
• If merging or acquiring a campus, go in with a lot of grace, love and support. We found that the children’s team thought we were replacing them. There was not a lot of communication going on before we stepped onto their campus and they didn’t know what to expect. We reassured them and continue to reassure them of their place and have provided more clarity, leadership and resources for them to continue to minister to children.
• Who is responsible for what?! When going multi-site, you must think about what the campus pastor is responsible for, what the campus children’s director is responsible for and what you as the overall children’s pastor is responsible for. We are still trying to fully grasp this.
• Communication, communication, communication!!! Communicate and over communicate about everything!!
I’ve talked with many multi-site leaders and the one thing I’ve learned is that everyone does it differently. There is no right way or better way. What works for one church may not work for your church. Also, stay flexible. As you plan out your multi-site strategy you’ll find that it will continue to change and evolve. I’s okay, just take time to pray and really think about what the future looks like and the best systems to get you there.
If you have a multi-site church, I’d love to hear your stories and how you run your children’s ministry.