The language we use as church leaders has the potential to shape the culture of our church because it frames peoples thinking. Often the language we use when we launch a new ministry can set it on an unintended course simply through the way we’ve helped people understand it. Here are some negative language patterns I’ve seen present in multisite churches over the years. Avoid these patterns to give your vision the best chance to thrive!
- Us vs. Them // It’s dangerous to start referring to the various campuses of your church as “them” because it’s starts to set up emotional walls and separates the team.
- Avoid: “They broke some more gear again this weekend.”
- Alternative: “We continue to have gear breaking at our campus in Springfield.”
- Mothership, Headquarters, etc. // Don’t treat your original location with extra reverence through some sort of extra special name. What if you always referred to one of your kids as “The Good Son”?
- Avoid: “Our next leadership development event is back at the mothership.”
- Alternative: “The training next month is at our Ritson Road Campus.”
- North, East, South, West Campus Names // When people arrive at a new location and find out that this location is the “West Campus of Cool Community Church” there is a subtle message that the real thing is east of here! Also this naming scheme limits the number of campuses … surely you’re not going to have the North North East Campus!
- Avoid: “Are you going to join us as the West Campus when it launches?”
- Alternative: “We’d love to have you join the Stoney Creek Campus this fall!”
- Unnecessarily calling out technology // If you use video to deliver the teaching at your campuses there is no need to always point that out to people. It would be like 15 years ago standing up and saying “In just a few minutes Pastor Mike is going to use a microphone and stand on a stage with lights.” We’re past the place where you need to call out the technology.
- Avoid: “Today our teaching is coming in via live video stream from our Chatham Campus.”
- Alternative: “Pastor Mike is kicking off a brand new series today!”
What do you think? What is some language pitfalls that people need to avoid when talking about multisite?