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Building an Effective Central Services Team in a Multisite Church Model

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If you’re leading in a multisite church or if you’re thinking about becoming a multisite church, at some point you’re going to have to make some big decisions about the role of your Central Service Team. Somewhere along the way you’re going to be faced with building a Central Service Team, Ministry Development Team or All Campus Staff Team…different churches attach a different label to it. But essentially it’s a centralized team of people tasked with supporting decentralized campuses that are geographically separated. Think of it as a matrix leadership model. The Central Service Team influences each campus while the Campus Pastors are responsible for the ministry on each of their respective campuses. Through learning from other great friends in the multisite world and facing this personally in the context I lead in, there are four (4) healthy perspectives of a great Central Services Team that I’ve discovered.

1. Content:

This team ensures that content is the same across campuses. This includes teaching on the stage during the weekend services, as well as content for Children’s Ministry, Student Ministry, Small Groups and so on. One of the powerful benefits of a multisite model is that great teaching can be delivered to each campus no matter their size or location. Instead of taking time to “recreate the wheel,” specific campus staff can focus their attention on leading volunteers, developing the ministries, and shepherding the congregation.

2. Consistency:

The Central Service Team is also tasked with working to make sure that ministry best practices are consistent on each campus. One of the other great strengths of a multisite model is the opportunity it brings to replicate learnings from innovation. As you launch new campuses in new communities you’re going to face unforeseen obstacles. Those obstacles will force you to innovate, and every campus will have the opportunity to benefit from it. Consistent ministry practice will allow you to ramp up efficiency, drive down cost, and allow newer campuses to learn from the mistakes of others who have gone before them.

3. Communication:

As you have more and more campuses, communication will have the tendency to become more and more difficult. That’s where your Central Service Team comes into play. They have the opportunity to develop the processes to keep everyone on the same page. Whether it’s the business department, the weekend worship team, kids ministry, small group, or missions. This team uses cascading communication strategies to help everyone stay on the same page, moving the same direction.

4. Consultant & Coach:

There are a couple of characteristics you’re looking for in a Central Services Team Member. But one of the most valuable to me is the ability to take on the posture of a coach or a consultant and to know when to do which. A consultant offers expert outside input and allows the individual to choose to implement or not. The consultant is not responsible for the implementation. Great coaches can see things the player can’t see while they’re on the field and they help the player break down game film and get better. It’s more hands on than consulting. Either way great consultants get invited back and recommended to others while players keep coming back to great coaches for input on their game. That’s what I’m looking for. People whose input and presence are welcomed by campus staff.

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

2 Responses to “Building an Effective Central Services Team in a Multisite Church Model”

  1. Todd McKeever May 20, 2015 at 7:03 am #

    Love your blog and truly have been mentored several times from a distance from you.

    One question is could you help me navigate the difference of a Central service team and a Mothership type direction that you have blogged about at another time?

    I may be just confusing myself, it wouldn’t be the first time and won’t be the last. Thanks for any further clarification you may help me with.

  2. Steve Cooper May 20, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    Tip #4 proves particularly important in the coaching/counseling context also. I know life coaches with a background in counseling that have difficulty separating the two practices. You’re spot on with the comment that your staff members need to know and apply the difference between coaching and consulting and when to use each. Thanks for another good post.

    PS. I’m sorry we didn’t work it out to have lunch while we sojourned in the Phoenix area. We have moved on now, but maybe it will work out someday. Be well!

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