Tag Archive - decentralize

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Launching Multisite Campuses is the Easy Part

Jim Tomberlin, a strategic partner of the Unstuck Group and the nations foremost leader in the multisite movement recently said to me that, “Launching multisite campuses is the easier part of multisiting. Managing the inter-campus relationships and the restructuring necessary to accommodate a growing multisite strategy is the more difficult part. Multisite is not for the faint-of-heart!”

He’s right. Every parent knows that the process of making a baby is fun, but once the kids arrive on the screen everything changes. It’s one thing to start a new campus or two. That’s the exciting part. But multisite changes everything. That’s why only a handful of multisite churches ever get past 2 additional campuses. In fact, in their research, Leadership Network discovered that:

“Only 15% of multisite churches get beyond 2 additional campuses.”

You can’t launch new campuses and expect everything to stay the same. It takes courage to restructure and adopt new systems to accommodate a growing multisite strategy. Successful multisite churches are willing to live with the tension between their campuses being both centralized and decentralized at the same time. Decentralization doesn’t mean complete autonomy, and centralization doesn’t mean complete control. It’s a both-and solution.

1. Decision Making

Effective multisite churches push strategic decisions up and implementation decisions down.

2. Accumulation & Transference of Organizational Knowledge

You’ve already paid the dumb tax of learning and leveraging your “ministry best practices.” Great multisite churches take the time to write them down and replicate them.

3. Efficiency

Multisite churches that get past 2 additional campuses learn how to cut out the redundancy in the organization and develop “central service teams” that serve all campuses (for example: one centralized business department, among other things).

4. Innovation

Multisite is an innovation rich undertaking. It’s a nimble and flexible approach to “new markets” where innovation can take place in the smaller risk embracing culture of a newer campus and then learning passed along to more established campuses.

Interested in learning more about multisite? Join the first Multisite Leadership Coaching Network that starts in April!

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Posted in Leadership

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5 Articles that will Help your Church Make Vision Real

Thank you for making June a great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s great staying connected with you through social media and hearing about how helpful different articles have been. So, thank you for connecting with me through the content on this blog! You made these the top 5 Posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

#1 How Centralizing Ministry is Crippling Your Church

While at first pass centralization may seem like an efficient approach to greater ministry impact and moving further faster, it’s not always the best thing for the advancement of the mission of the church. In fact here are 6 ways well intentioned churches are unknowingly crippling their ministry impact for the sake of centralization.

#2 4 Ways Spiritual Leaders Violate the Trust of the Church

Trust is the fuel that leadership runs on, especially in church-world. When trust is high there is an environment for momentum, wins are celebrated, and people follow leadership because they believe in the leader and where the leader is taking them. When trust is low skepticism runs high, progress comes to a screeching halt, and the tenure of the leader is short-lived. Below are four ways leadership of church leaders is commonly eroded.

#3 How to Raise the Speed Limit at Your Church

Everyone is going to spend eternity somewhere. And there is a moment coming when you and I will no longer have the opportunity to affect change on the world. Jesus will come back and set everything wrong…right. Until then we’ve been given a window of opportunity to join Jesus in a sacred mission of reconciling the people of the planet to the purposes of God. That’s why it’s rare that I ever meet a church leader that wants to slow down. Most have a white hot passion to see people far from Jesus come near to him. While as church leaders we can’t control the movement of the Holy Spirit there are things we can do organizationally to set the sail.

#4 3 Ways Leaders Lead at their Best

Over the last 15 years I’ve been blessed to lead worship with many talented musicians and singers. I’ve led at camps and retreats. I’ve led for different generation, for different gatherings, for different churches. I’ve led in large venues and small venues. And through it all I’ve discovered three principles that allow me to lead at my best…truth is, these principles apply to anyone who leads a team.

This was a great guest post by Matt Thompson the Worship Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church’s Tempe Campus.

#5 Why Shared Leadership is Better Leadership

Leadership is a gift that is meant to be shared. It’s how leadership is both best developed and best exercised. Shared leadership is not for everyone though. It requires a tremendous amount of personal security and deep levels of trust at the highest levels of the organization. But if you can master shared leadership then you’ll move at a pace you never thought was possible.

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Posted in Leadership

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How Centralizing Ministry is Crippling Your Church

Many churches are enamored with the idea of centralization. Internally you’ll even hear churches talk about ideas like efficiencies, being streamlined or getting rid of redundancies.

In many multisite churches it’s even common to hear the term “Central Services” thrown around, a workgroup that is essentially designed to do away with redundancies and duplication of efforts between campuses. For instance, having one business department instead of staffing a business department or function on every campus. Seems smart right?

While at first pass centralization may seem like an efficient approach to greater ministry impact and moving further faster, it’s not always the best thing for the advancement of the mission of the church. In fact here are 6 ways well intentioned churches are unknowingly crippling their ministry impact for the sake of centralization.

1. Slows Decision Making

In a centralized system decisions get pushed up in the organization instead of down. It forces high-level staff members to deal with low-level problems. And it takes decision making away from those on the front line who are closest to the problem and probably know the most about it. Whenever Sr. level leaders are dealing with the wrong issues it slows the pace of any church or organization

2. Makes Communication Cumbersome

When communication has to be filtered through one person (the gatekeeper), or funneled through a chain of people you’ve got problem on your hands. Layers of bureaucracy, policy, and multistep communication chains slow progress towards the mission. And it creates more opportunities for miscommunication, misrepresentation, and misinterpretation of decision-making and actions to be taken.

3. Creates an “Us vs. Them “ Mentality

Whenever “we” have to wait for “them” to make a decision, and “they” don’t understand what “we” are dealing with on the frontline because “they” are somewhere back at a centralized headquarters it creates an “Us vs. Them” mentality.

4. Undermines Innovation

In any organization or church one of the most important sources for innovation and creative problem solving is the frontline employee or volunteer. Centralization takes away power from that individual to creatively solve their own problems and as a result people don’t learn how to think, rather they’re trained to just take orders. As a result creativity and innovation begin to dry up.

5. Requires very little Trust

When someone doesn’t need to be trusted to think and act through the filter of the culture of the church or organization it’s demoralizing. Conversely it’s an empowering thing to know that one is trusted, it boosts one’s spirit and often encourages them to rise to the occasion and actually increase the level of their game. Trust is the fuel that the best leaders and churches run on and if you’re not careful centralization can begin to erode trust and damage your culture.

6. The Gospel was Never meant to be Controlled

Ultimately the dance that church leaders do regarding centralization vs. decentralization comes down to an issue of control. And the Gospel was never meant to be controlled or managed it was meant to be unleashed.

Photo Credit: JustinJensen via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership