I am the CP at a satellite. This is our church's first time doing this and we have run into a lot of bumps in the road! Our journey has been pretty rough.
I would like to discuss the differences between satellites and church plants.
We all feel like we have been sent off to do some mighty thing, but have minimal church/congregational support. I feel like the children's/family ministry portion has been rough because we stepped out of the mold from the home church and went a completely new direction. So, for us, it has the feel of a church plant. Of course, that is only an assumption because I have never been a part of a church plant! HA.
Hey Amber! Welcome to the multi-site group! Tell us more about what you are doing and maybe we can share insights from our bumpy road!
Does your church use a satellite feed from the main campus, or do you have a pastor who preaches live? How far are you from the central/main campus? How many leaders came from the main campus to kick it all off? Is there any leadership oversight from the main campus in the area of children's ministry? Lastly, (as if I'm not nosy enough) was there an intentional plan to step out of the mold of the home church's children's ministry?
Maybe the rest of us can share our mistakes and what we did right in our satellite journey.
Hi Norm! Thanks for the warm welcome. This seems like a great community.
Our church, Christ Church: Macomb (or CC:M for short) uses video taken from the teaching minister at the main campus, Rochester Church of Christ. We have a site pastor who welcomes and prays and is the upfront person but doesnt teach. We are about 10-15 miles from the main campus. We have 12 leaders(6 couples) on the leadership team. Each couple does their own specialty in ministry as directors. We do have a point person from the main campus, who is the equipping minister, in general oversight.
It was intentioned from the start that CC:M be more relaxed, informal, and real than the main campus and far less traditional.
As far as the Childrens portion, I took about 20 steps forward from where the ministry was at the main campus. They just recently hired a new CM who is slowly trying to turn the "Whale" of a church around to be something different. I had the privilege of starting from scratch!
We have had very little volunteer support from the people at the main campus in every area of ministry, not just CM.
To me it sounds like an interesting situation for a satellite campus, but not completely unusual. The real beauty of Multi-Site is that when multiple campuses are doing the same thing, then the work load and resources can be shared. However, if the new campus is intentionally different from the original campus, then there will be a little less sharing.
A lot of this depends on how this new campus is seen from leadership and how it is communicated to the church body. In some multi-site environments, each campus is considered an equal no matter what the size. In other environments, there is a "main" campus and "other" campuses. Depending on how this is viewed will often determine the kind of support the campuses will receive. This will often be communicated all the way down to the attendee as well.
Regardless of all off this, both working on the "mega-church" campuses as well as the smaller campuses, the success of the campus is usually on the shoulders of those who lead that campus. I've worked in environments where we (as children's staff) worked together as collaborators and as individual campuses all doing our own thing (sharing only a little). Although really working together as a team is the most effective an efficient, doing your own thing is simply what it's like to be at a church without any other venues.
So, here is the only advice I would have. Be sure that if you are going in a new direction, be sure that it's been blessed by those who are in leadership. When things are tougher than you expect, you'll need their support, even if it's just in words. As much as you can, partner with the other campus in sharing resources or responsibility. This may not work if you are too different, but the more you can share, the more time you'll have for developing and recruiting volunteers and pastoring the kids.
I know it's hard work. In many ways, working in a smaller church is a lot harder than working in a big church... so much is resting on your shoulders. Focus on leadership, recruiting and developing that team. It's easy to run it all yourself, but don't let the ministry depend on you that way.
We are launching our first satellite in October and I am Children's/Preschool Director of the new satellite. We sound similar to the others in setup - we are 10-15 miles from main campus, we have video feed of preaching, but a campus pastor who does a devotional/prayer and a live worship band. Kids ministry will be a mirror image of kids ministry at main campus, except for the portable environment. We are lucky in that "main campus" was portable in a school for 8 years and have only been in a church facility for a couple of years, so the staff really understands the portable environment that we are going back into! We have total support of the main campus staff so far and they expect us to carry on the "feel" and reputation of main campus. If you guys have any feedback about the difficulties of "staying the same" in a satellite environment, let me know! This is my first time in a satellite environment so I am excited to see how it goes!
We are also launching our first multi-site in Jan 09! This campus is approx. 5 miles from the original campus. It will be a portable video venue with a campus pastor. I will be the Children's Director (birth - 5th grade). We are planning to use the same "programming" at both locations. One of my biggest concerns is communication (staying connected - input flowing both directions between campuses). Any advice or info that you can pass along would be great!
Our satellite staff will office at the main campus until we find new office space, but even then we plan to spend one office day a week at the main campus so we can all meet together. I think having all the CP's in one room together that often will help. Do you have that option?
We have 4 satellite campuses and it has its good and bad. The difference I see is that a church plant will be a launching pad for an autonomous church, where as a satellite is still part of the central campus and will have a staff that will be led by a Sr. Pastor of all satellites and remain part of the mother church, so put. An example would be, we all share the same Children's Ministries name, but there are different ministry directors who use different curriculum and have different themes. Being the only FT CP and on the central campus, I do not oversee the other ministries, but I do share the ideas and direction our ministry could go. The satellite has their own budget and relies on their attendees' tithe & offering. Finances are not shared, which can be tight for some. If satellites are running in the red, central covers by transfer of funds. A church plant may be on their own a lot sooner than they want and therefore, will have their own funds to rely. Either way, it will depend on how leadership on all levels work together and one way isn't always the better.