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?