6 Ways to Lead a Church When You Don’t Get to Preach

How do you publicly lead a church when you’re a campus pastor, not the senior pastor?

That’s an ever increasing question. With the rise of multisite churches, more campus pastors are added to leadership circles every day. But leading as a campus pastor presents unique challenges. I want to address one of these challenges in this post:

How do you cast vision for your church when you do not preach weekly?

As a senior pastor or primary teaching pastor, there is a 30-minute segment (or more) each and every week to cast vision, set direction and encourage missional engagement. But without the sermon spot, it becomes much more difficult to be an out-front leader. A good senior pastor will fill in some of these gaps with his leadership, but each campus location presents unique challenges that require unique leadership solutions. A senior pastor can cast a compelling organization-wide vision, but it is often up to the campus pastor to localize and conceptualize the mission and vision.

So how can a campus pastor publicly lead outside of the weekly sermon? Here are a few ways I try to lead at Watermarke Church:

1. Leverage the weekly communication opportunities.

Every week in our services, we have two opportunities to lead during the service outside of the sermon. The first is the welcome segment. I posted how we structure the welcome here, including an example. The welcome is more of a navigational spot than a vision casting spot, but it still presents a great opportunity to be the point leader over the location.

Second, we have a weekly offering segment, which is a perfect moment to engage our audience with vision. Whether we follow the worship set or a baptism, this spot allows me the opportunity to connect the dots between our engagement and our mission.

Side Note: As a campus pastor, I typically leverage both of these segments every week. It is very rare that I am in the building and not communicating these segments. And at times, I’ll even dismiss the service to add a final leadership moment.

2. Join volunteer orientations and regular meetings.

As often as I can, I drop into our new volunteer orientations and ongoing, regular volunteer meetings just to share a win or thank the volunteers. It’s a great way to stay connected to the people on the front lines of our ministry environments and presents a perfect opportunity to keep the vision out front.

3. Walk slowly down the aisles.

I have the pleasure (and complications) of leading a pretty large church, so it isn’t often I get to meet with our average attendees. That provides an important opportunity for me on Sunday mornings when our auditorium is full. Since I am not preaching most weeks, I can spend time in the auditorium rather than secluded in preparation. I try to walk slowly down the aisle. I look for people holding a first-time-guest gift. Engaging in conversations before and after the service is a great way to lead out front in a campus location.

4. Walk around DURING the service.

We have hundreds of volunteers serving during each service, and since I’m not preaching most weeks, I leverage this time to walk around and connect. Again, when you do not have the luxury of casting vision or setting direction during a sermon, leveraging the sermon time to connect with those not in the auditorium is a simple solution.

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Gavin Adams
Gavin Adams believes the local church is the most important organization on the planet and he is helping to transform them into places unchurched people love to attend. As the Lead Pastor of Watermarke Church, (a campus of North Point Ministries), Watermarke has grown from 400 to 4000 attendees in five years. A student of leadership, communication, church, and faith, Gavin shares his discoveries through speaking and consulting. Follow him at @Gavin_Adams and at gavinadams.com.

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