Like it or not, multi-site churches are here to stay. And they’re no longer just a staple of the mega-church that's outgrown their main campus. Today, smaller churches - even relatively new church plants - are "going multi-site" to better serve (and reach) new communities. In fact, according to Lifeway Research, over 5 million people attend services at over 8,000 multi-site churches every weekend.
With the trend growing stronger each year, we’ve put together a 3-part resource for church leaders who are thinking about launching new campuses. There’s a lot to consider, so we’ll cover topics such as video venues versus live teaching, how to handle social media across multiple campuses, and today - building a team for your multi-site campus.
Fundraising aside, launching a new campus is much like launching a brand new church plant. A core group of solid people is essential. Multi-site churches typically have the advantage of having a wealth of volunteers (usually from the main campus) to help with setting up, tearing down, and tying up the logistical and technical loose ends.
However, it’s essential to have a full-time team of paid staff dedicated to the new campus. So what paid roles are essential for a new multi-site church? Here’s our take:
Perhaps the most important hire for the multi-site campus is the campus pastor. The campus pastor may not teach on the weekend, but he or she will serve as the “face” of the campus. Regardless of who is preaching on the weekends, and whether or not that is done live or via video teaching, a congregation needs a leader they can go to - and one who can connect with the community.
Video teaching may be the newest trend in multi-site churches, but there’s no substitute for live worship with a group of believers. For this reason, an on-site worship leader is an essential hire. He or she should be capable of leading a band, leading a congregation, and have a heart for worship. Creating an atmosphere of authentic, humble worship is essential - which is why finding an authentic, humble worship leader should be a top priority.
The children who come through your doors need a safe, organized, and fun environment to learn with their friends. A bad or unorganized experience for children creates a less-than-stellar first impression for the whole family. Adults in your community will often base their decision on which church to attend solely on their experience with child care. This is why choosing (and paying) an awesome children’s leader is so important. A safe, engaging environment for children is essential for any church gathering - and the hiring the right children’s leader is a great start.
Using Your Volunteers
The great news: statistically speaking, your core team is going to have lots of help from volunteers. According to Lifeway, over 85% of multi-site churches have reported that volunteer participation actually increased after starting their new campuses. This statistic certainly makes sense, as members who are moving locations and feel they are helping build the new campus from the ground up will be more likely to help out.
Uniting The Team Together
However, a multitude of volunteers shouldn’t cause you to skimp on the core staff. On the contrary - this trend actually makes the importance of these three key hires even more pronounced. You’ll need a great children’s leader to put the right volunteers in the right places, a worship leader who can lead, rehearse, and schedule talented musicians who are giving their time, and an engaging campus pastor figuring out logistics and casting a vision for the campus.
There’s no doubt multi-site is here to stay. Building the right team and making the correct hires is a great first step in reaching a new area in your community. This is the first of our three-part series on multi-site churches. Next post, we’ll look at the (modern) age-old dilemma - live teaching vs. video teaching.