As the number of multisite churches continue to increase, so will the demand for campus pastors.
In an earlier post, I introduced the difficulty of discerning whether or not you have what it takes to be a campus pastor. After all, there is no universal job description for a campus pastor since every church does multisite differently. Make sure that you read that post before continuing on – it’ll give you the foundation for these next five points.
Most likely, if you’re considering campus pastoring, you’re also considering a church planting or senior pastoring role. The point of this post is to help you figure out if campus pastoring is the right road for you to head down on.
Here are five signs that you SHOULDN’T be a campus pastor:
1. I’m not a risk taker
- There’s a myth out there that goes something like this: Church planters are the real risk takers, while campus pastors are just playing it safe. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Both church planting and campus pastoring are about the advancement of the gospel and seeing God’s Kingdom come and his will be done in a local community. There’s nothing safe about that.
- When you launch a campus, it is going to feel more like a startup since it’s new. That gives you the opportunity to experiment, take risks, and try new ways of doing ministry that perhaps couldn’t be done at the more established sending campus – just make sure you’re not ditching the DNA of the church when doing so.
- Essentially, if you are risk adverse, you won’t thrive as a campus pastor. In fact, you probably won’t get much done either. Since most multisite churches are still trying to figure out central support and DNA, you, as the campus pastor, have the opportunity to help define that by being on the front lines. In fact, the most successful campus pastors take the initiative and risk to help define those grey areas, rather than waiting for someone else to make the decision.
2. I’m bad at encouraging financial stewardship
- When comparing campus pastoring with church planting, it’s easy to feel like the campus pastor is getting it easy, since they can just rely on the sending campus for seed money, budgeting and shortfalls. However, unless someone is bi-vocationally church planting, most church plants will receive that same type of support from the denomination or network that they’re planting from.
- Successful campus pastors need to take ownership over their budget. Unless your campus is focused on college students or is in an economically challenging area, you should aim to match and exceed your budget year-over-year. If you don’t pay attention to this detail, and just expect the main campus to carry your weight, then you should also expect your position to be a temporary one.
3. I can’t bear the weight of leadership responsibility
- You may not be the senior pastor, but you still carry a heavy weight of responsibility over your campus. If you expect the senior pastor to care more about your people than you do, or pray more for your campus than you do, then you’re in the wrong position. Campus pastoring is not a cop out. You need to bear the weight of responsibility over your campus.
- Also, you need to be careful to never create an “us vs them” mentality. From the church’s perspective, you are a part of the senior leadership over your church, regardless of whether or not you sit on the executive team. So take full responsibility over the decisions that are made by your senior pastor and the executive team, and convey them to your campus as YOUR decisions.
4. I don’t like administration
- Unless you’re launching your campus with 1,000+ people and several staff members, you will need to bear the administrative weight of operating as a campus. The campus pastor role requires a high level of coordination and collaboration with central support (if your church even has central support), and other divisions and departments. You and your team will have many dotted line and solid line relationships, so an administrative mind is required to keep things together. The same is true for a new church plant as well. The only time you would be relieved of thinking administratively is when you’re part of an executive team in a mega church and have an executive assistant dedicated to you.
- I recommend David Allen’s Getting Things Done method plus Evernote to keep things administratively together.
5. I’m better at discipling than evangelizing
- When you are launching out a new campus, it’s easy for that new campus to feel like they’re just going to receive more care and shepherding. In turn, it’s way too easy for the campus pastor to spend the majority of their time with their flock, discipling and caring for them, while letting the evangelism/missions pastor take care of all the outreach. If you make this mistake, then your campus will not grow, and your campus will never be able to birth another campus. Just like you would do if you were a church planter or senior pastor, have an inner three that you’re heavily discipling, but then create a culture of mutual caring, the priesthood of all believers, and an understanding that we are all sent out on mission with God (John 20:21).