Multisite Misconceptions: The Campus Pastor isn’t that big of a deal.

We’re looking at three common misconceptions that I’ve seen as churches consider launching into the multiplying their influence through this becoming a multisite church.  I’ve seen these misconceptions in the churches I’ve worked directly for . . . and in the churches I’ve served in an advisory role.

“Everything rises and falls on leadership.” – John Maxwell

“Speed of the leader, speed of the team.” – Lee Iacocca

The role of a Campus Pastor is a tough one . . . at any given moment most multisite churches are asking these individuals to be . . .

  • the local primary vision castor but not be in the primary “vision defining” seat.
  • a team rallying machine while working within a matrix where they are placing people onto other people’s teams.
  • a communicator to large groups of people, however not the person responsible for the main message on Sundays.
  • a shepherd to people at various stages of their spiritual journey while also rallying a team to support the broader community.
This is an amazing individual who can keep all those things in balance . . . and still keep their sanity!
Often before multisite churches launch . . . they under estimate the importance and role of the Campus Pastor.  At one point in the history of this movement it was thought that a “face with the place” would be enough . . . basically an emcee to make the “video thing seem less weird”.  This is so far from the truth . . . they are critical to the health and longevity of the campus!
We made a bunch of missteps on this front early on in my own journey with this multisite church reality.  For a while we couldn’t keep Campus Pastors for longer than 12 months!  Most of that was us being unclear what the role was and wasn’t . . . please think through and structure this role clearly!
Here are 4 critical questions to ask about potential Campus Pastors in your church:
  1. Do they have a bias for action? Do they wake up in the morning and say “what can we push forward today?” We need unsettled leaders in these roles who want to take new hills.
  2. Is this person a “people magnet”? Do they have the ability to draw people to them wherever they go? (Harder question: Would you be on this person’s team if you weren’t serving in your role?)
  3. Have they actually lead something growing? Past performance is the best indicator of future reality.  Does this person have experience leading something growing and thriving?
  4. Do the “bleed the mission”? These individuals are going to be making weekly (if not daily) calls and decisions about making your church work in some new location.  Do they get it?
What have you found critical in acquire, training and releasing Campus Pastors?  I’d love to hear your thoughts! [Leave a comment or two now!]

Later this week we’re going to look at a critical area in the pre-launch phase of multisite churches.  Plus I think I’ll end up using the word “piss”.  Stay tuned for that!  😉


  1. Rich, are you saying some of the pastors that have served and left campus pastor roles in churches you have engaged with in the past typically missed one of the critical 4 facets of their personality, identity and leadership skills?

  2. @kkcoolj … yes. Typically a combo of a couple of those factors. Now … a big part of it was also us not being clear on what the role was. Thinking it was an emcee rather than a significant leader. I own that lack of clarity … a part of my reason for sharing. No need for other churches to pay the ‘stoopid tax’!

Leave a Response