We had a great conversation with Kevin Penry last Thursday. Kevin is the central operations leader at LifeChurch.tv and has an amazing amount of knowledge and experience in building a multi site church. LifeChurch.tv, in addition to being the creator of YouVersion, preaches the gospel to about 50,000 people a week in 5 states at 16 campuses.
Kevin left me with several take aways:
- A church with autonomous campuses isn’t really using a multi site model, they are more an affiliation of churches. This is not a bad thing if it’s your goal, but if your goal is to gain the benefit of multi site there needs to be some centralization.
- Language is important to the multi site model. Inherent to being a multi site is the struggle of central control, yet it is no ones desire to be controlling. Using language like “support” instead of “control” changes not only the perception but also how we live out the model. Also inherent is a “business likeness” of a large organization, we can seem very “corporate” which feels exclusive, so instead lets be “global” which feels much more inclusive and will remind us all always to be inclusive.
- Are campus pastors great leaders who pastor well or great pastors who lead well? Leading and pastoring are not synonymous, they’re separate spiritual gifts. Leaders tend to be more organization and system focused while pastors tend to be more people and caring focused. A central support model should free campus pastors up to focus on pastoring their congregations and teaching people how to pastor others (leading by example).
- The central support model seems incredibly scalable. The things that need to be done over and over again the same way are done by a central team, making these processes very efficient and cost-effective. New campuses can be launched more quickly and consistently and in a multi site model this allows the Church to grow and share the good news with more people.
We will be talking with North Point church on Monday, who I believe also uses a central support model and hopefully we will be talking to Willow Creek on Thursday who uses a main campus model. Through all of these discussions I am really looking forward to identifying the right model for us to begin developing for our culture.