A few months ago I had the privilege of being one of the guest presenters at Leadership Networks Multi-site Innovation Lab. During this two day experience eight multi-site churches gathered to develop a plan to move from a few sights to ten or more sites. One of the questions that came up frequently in these two days was how to keep multi-site campuses unified toward the same vision when they’re so spread out. At Seacoast we have thirteen campuses spread across three states so this is something we have to continually work on. Here are a few things we’ve learned on our journey.
Clarify your DNA. Know you’re strengths and reproduce those. For example one of the marks of Seacoast is the way we do our worship response time. We went to great lengths to make sure each of our campuses reflect this aspect of who we are. One of the biggest mistakes churches make when going multisite is launching a campus without thinking about who they really are and what they can truly replicate. Once a campus launches it begins to take on an identify of it’s own that may not reflect the vision and values of the organization if careful attention isn’t given to shaping the DNA from the beginning.
Engage Each Campus in Evaluation and Innovation – Geoff Surratt who leads the Multisite efforts at Seacoast does an amazing job of engaging our campus pastors in conversations about critical issues regarding the future. By bringing them into the discussions they feel apart of a team that executes the vision rather than hired hands who have to carry out the vision. If you are hiring guys who are leaders as your campus pastors then they want to have a voice and be apart of the decision making process. It has been fascinating over the years to watch how some of our outlaying campuses can impact the programs, schedule and feel of Seacoast. Everything doesn’t just flow from the original campus anymore. All of our campuses are encouraged to share ideas and innovations. Recently one of the biggest events we did all year long was initiated by one of our smallest campuses.
Communicate regularly – Shawn Wood who takes responsibility for communicating the details of the weekend experiences does an outstanding job sending regular communications to our campuses keeping them aware of scheduling and major events that are ahead during the year. A lack of communication is one of the fastest ways to destroy a unified effort. I love Maxwell’s statement about communication when he says, “People tend to be down on what they aren’t up on.” Your outlaying campuses will begin to feel disconnected and disrespect if they are finding things out too late or after the fact. To keep your sites unified put together good communication systems.
Meet Consistently – Every month we have an All Staff meeting where all staff members from all campuses join together for a half day of meetings. This day goes a long way in pulling us all together and keeping us all on the same page. Our schedule for the day is as follows:
- 9:30-11 Ministry Meetings. Small groups, missions, first touch, students, children, worship, administrative assistants and campus pastors all have meetings where they discuss issues related to their ministry.
- 11-12:15 Celebration. During this time we worship together, celebrate victories from the month, introduce new people and hear a challenging message from Pastor Greg.
- 12:15-1:30 Lunch. While the Campus Pastors gather to eat lunch with Pastor Greg others are free to eat with who ever they would like and spend time connecting.