5 Traits to Look for in a Campus Pastor

One of the questions that popped up on Twitter recently was related to hiring a campus pastor. The senior pastor who contacted me was curious to know what to look for in a campus pastor.

It probably won’t surprise you to know that I don’t think there’s a magic formula for finding that right person to fill this type of role at every church. The “right” person at one church may be completely the wrong person at another church.

For example, if your multi-site strategy includes trying to replicate everything exactly the same at every campus, you probably don’t want a strong visionary leader. Instead, you need more of a manager. If, on the other hand, you need someone to act more like a church planter to help shape the ministry in a different community than your current campus, then you probably need someone who is more entrepreneurial. You don’t want primarily a person who is always waiting for specific instructions from the top leadership team on what to do next.

That said, I think there are a handful of common characteristics you need to prioritize when finding your next campus pastor. The right campus pastor will:

  1. Embrace the DNA of your church. Every church is unique. Your campus pastor needs to both embrace and champion your mission, vision, and values. That’s why it’s best if whoever you’re sending out to lead your next campus has had some time to learn who you are as a church.
  2. Communicate well. It doesn’t matter if your teaching is on video. The ability to communicate is still essential to this role. Two big things the campus pastor has to talk about are vision and money. If they can’t do that well, they are the wrong person for the role.
  3. Relate well with people. This is especially true for churches using video teaching. No matter who is teaching content, someone needs to pastor people. A purely theologian-type or administrative-type, as an example, will not succeed as a campus pastor. Ideally, you will find someone with the “Woo” or “Relator” strengths to connect with people.
  4. Lead through volunteers. There are only a handful of churches in the country that can afford to hire a staff to make ministry happen at a new campus. The rest of us have to find a strong leader who can build teams of volunteer and empower lay leaders. The most common theme I hear among multi-site churches is that the lack of success at a campus is a direct reflection of a lack of leadership.
  5. Make it happen. Good campus pastors are driven. You don’t have to kick them in the pants to motivate them. If anything, you’ll need to encourage them to take a break and slow down. Good campus pastors know that multi-site comes with unique challenges, and they’re motivated by that. You need someone who can look problems in the face and trust that they’re going to do whatever it takes to deliver results.

In case it helps, here’s the profile we used to identify potential candidates for the Oak Leaf campus pastor position that we’re currently in the process of hiring:

Sample Campus Pastor Profile

Remember…this profile works for our church, but this may be the wrong person to hire for your church. Hopefully, though, this provides an example of what you need to think about before you begin to try to find your next campus pastor.

What’s your experience? What would you add or delete from the list of campus pastor characteristics? Join the conversation by sharing your comment.

Previous article3 Tips for Writing a Worship Song
Next articleWhat's Your Leadership Capacity?
Tony Morgan
Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.

Get the ChurchLeaders Daily Sent to Your Inbox