7 Channels for Campus Pastors to Gain Influence (Without Teaching)

Are you a campus pastor who’s wondering how to gain more influence in your campus when your church’s approach to multisite doesn’t allow you to teach regularly? 

Or maybe you’re a lead or an executive pastor whose campus pastors have come to you requesting more teaching opportunities. 

Perhaps you’re considering the leadership of your team and wondering how you can help them gain more influence with their communities, but you keep returning to the idea of giving up teaching time in order to make space for them.

The latest statistics on the multisite church movement are pretty clear that the more campuses a church launches, the more video teaching is a regular part of the model. [ref] While a video-exclusive model is in the minority, there are a lot of campuses where video is the primary teaching mode, which often leaves campus pastors wondering how they can gain more influence than they currently have.

Just recently I was talking with a lead pastor from a church that launched its first campus eight months ago. During a coaching session, the pastor honestly wondered if they were leveraging their campus pastor well in the new location. This lead pastor asked me, “How can we help this person gain more influence in their campus and in their city if we don’t ever let them teach?” 

Over the years, my discussions with pastors have revealed this issue to be the most frustrating piece of the campus pastor experience. They’ll often say things like, “I either need to start teaching here on the weekends on a regular basis, or I’m walking into some other place where I can teach all the time.”

The topic of helping campus pastors gain influence without them teaching regularly is an important issue for us to wrestle with as we consider the multisite church movement. Time and time again, I return to these few ideas to help campus pastors gain influence in a video-heavy model of multisite church where they’re not teaching on a regular basis:

Don’t begrudge announcement time

The five minutes of announcements during your church’s service is an incredibly powerful time. 

Every weekend, your church sets aside a small part of the service to move people to action. While teaching should be about transformation and worship is often about transcendence, announcements move people from where they are to where you want them to go. 

I encourage campus pastors to spend time, effort, and energy on using these five minutes for all they’re worth. Think of it as a huge advantage that you get to leverage these few moments every weekend to see people connect more deeply with the mission of your church. 

Get to know your groups and teams

Intentionally connecting more people in your church with your team system is a massive way for you to gain influence in your campus. 

We all know that people grow in circles, not rows. When people choose to join a team or get into a group, they grow and develop through the lessons gained from those experiences. Campus pastors who thrive in a primarily video-driven multisite church have an inclination towards helping people plug into teams and groups. They see themselves as a groups pastor and therefore do the things that groups pastors do. This looks like providing extra training for groups and teams and visiting with them on a regular basis to check in. 

Just stop and think about that for a minute. What if you visited every small group connected with your campus every autumn? Imagine the relationships that you would build in your church by being face-to-face with every one of the people in those groups. The same goes for teams. When was the last time you dropped by to see your kid’s ministry team on a Sunday morning to simply say thank you, to encourage them, or to connect what they’re doing with the vision of your church? 

Another powerful element of this level of connection is that when you successfully help someone grow from a first-time attender to a fully committed group participant and/or team member, you’re helping people make significant steps closer to Jesus.

Train your future leaders

There are abundant opportunities for you to develop leaders within your campus. 

As a campus pastor, maybe you should step forward to own the leadership pathway at your location. Instead of worrying about teaching on a Sunday morning, what if you tried to identify the upcoming leaders and move them into apprentice roles in your church? What if you gave the people leading those apprentices the skills they need to build new leaders? 

What if you chose a small group of maybe 10 or 12 leaders to push the campus forward and met with them monthly? Follow the Dan Reiland approach. Give them a book, tell them to read it, and then come together and discuss it.

This sort of training is highly influential as you move people through the leadership pipeline in your church. We all know that it’s not our job to lead the masses but to influence a smaller group of individuals to lead within the congregation. Taking time to build a leadership pipeline through consistent training will gain you incredible influence not only in the short term but also in the long run, as those on your leadership team in turn build into the lives of the people in your church.

Meet one-on-one throughout the year

The reason most churches choose to use video as the primary teaching tool is because of the efficiency it adds to the system. 

As a church, we choose to empower an individual or a small group of individuals to teach on a regular basis, and we transport that teaching through video to a number of locations. That enables our staff to focus more time, effort, and energy on people. We concentrate our teaching investment in small numbers so that a broader number of people can do the heavy lifting of pastoral care and personal development.

I strongly recommend that campus pastors have at least half a dozen one-on-one meetings every week of the year with first-time visitors, up-and-coming leaders, parents who are struggling, and many others. Your influence in these areas would do nothing but increase and flourish as you reach out on a personal level to the people who are asking for help and care. 

How many one-on-one meetings do you have booked this week? Challenge yourself to book even more for next week.

Community connecting

Growing churches do an incredible job of motivating people to make a difference in the community by getting people out of their seats and into the streets. To do this well, your church needs leaders who network well into the community. One way for a campus pastor to gain more influence is to be a community expert in the area around their campus (however you define it—your town, city, county, etc.).

Going out of your way to form connections with civic organizations, nonprofits, small businesses, or political leaders will help you gain external as well as internal influence. Then, when your church decides to reach out with some sort of community engagement program, you’ll have the relationships already in place to connect your church to the broader community.

Teaching in other venues

Many leaders are gifted communicators, and it’s good to remember that there are so many places where you could use your teaching gift.

If you have a gift for teaching, is the main stage at your campus really the only place that you can leverage that gift? Have you offered to speak at an upcoming youth retreat at the church? What about spending a few weekends teaching in the kids’ ministry? What about speaking at that local Christian business-persons’ prayer breakfast that happens once a month in your town? 

Look for other venues where you can hone and share your teaching gift. These opportunities can be beautiful for you as you develop your teaching gifts, and they’re also great for the church as you expand your platform.

Cross-campus responsibilities

As your campus stretches past the launch phase and you move into a more regular mode of leading, it’s entirely appropriate for you to inquire if there are other areas for cross-campus leadership. Maybe you have a heart for missions and want to help the church do a better job with their short-term missions, or maybe you’d like to dive deep into the processes to ensure that you’re maximizing your follow-up with every first-time guest across all the campuses. You get the idea. 

Leveraging your leadership across multiple campuses will give you more influence as you help steer the church in more than just one location. In this way, you’ll have the joy of being able to invest back into the whole church, not just your location.

Looking for more help with your announcements? This FREE 3-part video series is for you.

Are you looking to improve the hosting of your weekend services?

Have you already tried improving this area but aren’t sure what to do next?

Are you ready to take the next steps to increase engagement in your announcements and ultimately your church? I’m releasing a FREE three-part video series designed to help your church with better weekend hosting. The lessons in this series come from my practical experience of hosting hundreds of services in multiple contexts and coaching many other leaders in this area. The three videos are:

  • Video #1: 5 Reasons People Aren’t Listening to Your Hosting. Your first video will clearly define for you why people aren’t paying attention to the announcements in your services.
  • Video #2: The One Best Practice to Ensure Higher Engagement with Your Announcements. In this video, you will understand what the single most important practice thriving churches change about their announcements to improve engagement.
  • Video #3: 3 Church Hosting Myths Debunked. Finally, you will dive into three misunderstood myths about hosting announcements that move people to action.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.