Multi-site Vision (and the math behind it)

In ministry, almost everything we implement boils down to simple math. For example, if you want 500 people in small groups you’ll need 50 small group leaders. If you want to take 100 junior high kids to camp you’ll need 10 youth leaders (and a lot of prayer). If you want to increase your attendance you’ll need more seats, parking spots, services, volunteers, etc.

The bottom line is ministry success is often built on simple math. I would even argue that the implementation and execution of vision is built on simple math. For this reason I want to introduce a math formula I feel is critical to moving vision forward, especially when doing multiple campuses and sites! Are you ready? Here it is…

Vision + Clarity + Focus = Performance 

I love this! It gets my heart pumping, so let’s talk about it. Here are 5 principles to seeing your multi-site vision move forward as you focus growing and expanding through sites, campuses and/or venues.

#1 Clarity is more critical than vision. W. Edwards Deming once said, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” This is so true.  Too often I hear people share great vision that makes absolutely no sense. Vision is the big picture, a conception of an image that indicates where you want to go. Clarity is the filter for our vision, not the vision by itself. Clarity helps us to know our stuff and how vision will become reality. I get pretty fired up when I hear a Kingdom minded leader share their vision, ideas and dreams. It’s compelling and exciting. At the same time I become frustrated when they can’t back it up with strategy and tactics. Vision always needs a strategy and plan attached to it. Nehemiah was a great visionary. I love how when King Artaxerxes asked what Nehemiah needed to accomplish his vision, he just about literally pulled a piece of paper out of his back pocket with a list of resources and a plan needed to be successful. In the same way, we must have clarity on where we’re going and what’s needed to get there!

#2 Participation isn’t transformation. I’ve blogged on this before because it’s important to me! Don’t mistake participation for transformation! We get so excited about events and people showing up that we sometimes mistake it for actual transformation. With multi-site, many of the models and strategies that have been embraced are really event-driven; they’re about the “big event” and the “big launch.” All of a sudden, you see Campus Pastors and their team become a bunch of event planners.

This is something we talk about all the time with Campus Pastors and Church Planters. Often leaders will launch a site with some success, but they don’t know what to do next.  They are missing a discipleship strategy; a growth plan. They’ve got people coming but find themselves making attendees, not disciples. It is vital that you think through everything and you think way beyond you’re your multi-site strategy and model. If you don’t do this you’ll end up starting a worship service only – not a venue for transformation and discipleship.

#3 Your vision must be bigger than the church you lead. Looking through a church lens is small thinking and tends to be focused only on what a singular church can do. When you look through a kingdom lens things are different. For multi-site churches, I think that’s huge. Our vision must be bigger than the church we’re leading and our obsession must be the Kingdom for the church to have the greatest impact. When we look through a Kingdom lens opportunities look different, strategies have greater depth and the way we see our community looks different. Focus on the church and you’ll get the church…Focus on the Kingdom and your results will be greater.

#4 Your personal plan and ministry plan must be in sync. Last year, I decided that I needed a personal mission statement, so I called a friend who charges over $1000 an hour to help CEO’S discover just that. After a fun but strenuous exercise I landed on my personal mission statement. Simply stated, “I exist to help Kingdom leaders and organizations thrive.” Just typing that makes my heartbeat and creates intense emotion within me! I have walked with several high functioning leaders through the same exercise and have watched them fill up with passion as they discover their personal mission. The bottom line is simple…If what you’re doing and what you’re passionate about aren’t aligned then your passion bucket will be empty and ministry won’t be fun and successful. We are at our best when what we are called to be and what we are called to do are in total sync!

#5 Relentless focus will mitigate momentum killers! First of all, I believe momentum is usually a byproduct of great vision and great vision needs momentum to move forward. There is definitely a relationship between vision and momentum. For context I define momentum as a series of wins needed to move forward and vision as the ability to see forward (or into the future).  You can’t move someplace with momentum if you don’t see it.  Keep the vision in front – in focus – and then let momentum carry you there!

Check out our next Multi-Site Road Show ( on September 15 in the Seattle area.

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