Your initial steps into the world of the multisite church can be intimidating—not because you’re unwilling to take them but because you don’t know where to begin. The concept of launching your first multisite location is not difficult; it is simply replicating what you currently do at another location. However, the process itself can be incredibly complex—particularly for children’s ministry.
There are a lot of moving parts within an established kids’ ministry. There are things you do, events you host, processes established and policies understood that weren’t planned or developed overnight. They took time to set in motion.
In fact, when you take inventory of all the things you must replicate in order to launch a multisite location, the list can be overwhelming. I believe there are three major steps a children’s ministry leader must take to ensure a successful multisite launch: 1) Determine your strategy, 2) Build your volunteer launch team and 3) Prioritize your programming.
If your church leadership is moving toward the multisite model, these steps can help you successfully navigate the unfamiliar waters of multisite ministry.
I’ve met a lot of different kidmin leaders who lead within a multisite model. And the reasons or philosophies that led them to multisite ministry are as varied as the churches themselves. But I’ve learned that the ways you find solutions for meeting the needs of your campuses are determined by the reason you launched the campus in the first place.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to ask some clarifying questions to help you determine a sustainable approach to multisite ministry:
What are your non-negotiables?
Do you want a child to experience the same programming no matter which location he attends? If yes, then a clear non-negotiable is curriculum. Curriculum is determined by you or your designee, and the campus leadership does not have the freedom to change it.
How interdependent and intradependent do you want the locations to be?
All locations will bear the same church name. But is it the goal for each location to have the option of becoming independent in the future? If yes, then your staff structure and supporting systems should reflect this outcome.
How will you structure for intradependence?
At LifeChurch.tv, I led a campus kidmin team. Each month I reported projected attendance numbers to a central team who took that information and determined and prepped the materials I needed to implement ministry to kids from preschool through fifth grade. This method required a separate team of people to crank out materials for all the campuses each month. As a ministry leader, my time was more available to meet the [shepherding] needs of the kids, families and volunteers at my campus.
Another option is to pull a percentage of time from each Kidmin leader at each campus to contribute toward the global efforts that benefit all campuses. This is currently the mode at my church in Tennessee. Each Kidmin staff member has a global responsibility. This allows us to leverage a portion of the time and talent of each team member that will work to the benefit the entire team.
Though these questions are not the only ones to consider, they are very important to address. As you plan for your first multisite campus launch, I highly recommend exploring them with your leadership to help you form a sustainable plan. —Gina McClain