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The Simple Key to Launching a New Multisite Campus Well

keyIn the last four years our church has launched four new campuses. I feel like the fourth time we finally did it right, with our communication, support team, and systems working together well. The key to getting this right was one simple concept—weekly launch team meetings. I’ll explain what I mean by that in a moment. First, I want to tell you how we came upon this simple concept.

This May we loaded a church van with various pastoral team members and drove north to spend a day with pastors of The Chapel, a vibrant multisite church in the northern suburbs of Chicago. We drove over three hours in each direction to do this, but it was well worth the drive. The Chapel has been doing this longer than us and has more campuses and had a lot to teach us.

At one point in the day, I asked Rex Minor their Executive Director of Transformational Community (Rex always seems to have a cool job title), “What is one thing that The Chapel does really well?” He replied, “We do a great job of launching new campuses.” So I asked him, “What the key to that?” He replied, “Our weekly launch team meetings leading up to the launch.” Then he explained how the meetings works.

We were just gearing up for our fourth campus launch in Charleston, IL, so Rex’s advice was extremely timely. We instituted weekly launch team meetings and it made a tremendous difference. Like our fourth launch, our first three launches involved a super team of people who were very committed to Jesus and his cause, yet those first three times we experienced a considerable amount of angst, frustration, and miscommunication. Doing a weekly launch team meeting fixed a lot of that. Here’s how it works.

Once a week you have a brief stand up meeting of the key people—the new campus pastor, your executive pastor, the children’s ministry pastor and worship pastor of your original campus (or if you already have a central support structure your “champions” ), your tech person, and your communication pastor/director. We did our meetings on Wednesdays right after lunch. They took about 20 minutes.

One person—probably your executive pastor—should lead the meeting and one person should take notes. Each week you look at your key systems and who needs to do what in the next week. You begin by looking at last week’s action items and let people report on their progress. Then you look at what needs to be done the next week. Then you pray together, asking for God’s help in all of this, and dismiss. That’s it. It’s very simple but these brief weekly meetings make all the difference because they keep communication flowing and give everyone involved a weekly accountability deadline.

You can bet that with future campus launches, we will always do weekly launch team meetings in the months leading up to the launch. I recommend you do them too, unless you particularly like frustration, angst, and miscommunication.

What questions do you have about launch team meetings? What advice do you have on how to launch new campuses well?

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2 Responses to The Simple Key to Launching a New Multisite Campus Well

  1. pastormason January 4, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    This is very interesting Jim! The weekly launch team meetings, do they include all the key staff people of the original church as well as the key people of the new campus leaders? Do these meetings cease once the launch of the new site happens?

    • jimegli January 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      Good questions. For us the meetings have included the children’s pastor, tech person, executive pastor, assimilation pastor meeting with the new campus pastor. Since the children’s director and worship director of the new campus are volunteers and live some distance from the offices (at the original campus) we don’t include them. Once the campus launches the launch team meetings end.

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