8 Habits of a Highly Effective Campus Pastor

I’ve had the privilege of seeing a lot of multisite campuses over the last 10+ years of leading in multisite churches. During that time I’ve had the opportunity to see dozens of Campus Pastors up close as they lead their locations.

Over the last few months we’ve been launching our most recent Campus at Liquid Church and I’ve had a front row seat to see Mike Leahy lead as a Campus Pastor. I think Campus Pastors from any multisite church should learn their craft from Mike.

This is the fourth campus that Mike has lead and it shows … the guy is a real professional! Here are a few habits I’ve seen him repeat time and time again that I think drive his effectiveness.

  • Replication Focused // Mike is incredibly focused on raising up the next round of leaders to take over the ministry. Not only is he modeling that with his own associate campus pastor but he pushes to see training happening in every area of the campus. Effective long term multisite churches unlock the ability to replicate leaders and Mike pushes our campuses to always be raising up the next level of leaders.
  • Sweat the Small Stuff // There are thousands of details that make the launch of a new campus great and Mike does an amazing job of digging into the details and making them work for our guests. From the layout of our main auditorium to the flow of parking to how our team fill out name tags … each of those details is sorted through and then documented so it can be replicated at this new location.
  • Pocket Briefcase // If you followed Mike for any time on Sunday you’d notice that he’s constantly pulling out a small note pad and making notes about every interaction he has with people. Each note represents a follow up item for someone from our church … prayer items to loop back on, important milestones coming up, connections to be make. He uses a notepad rather than his phone because he doesn’t want to give the impression that he’s goofing around on his smart phone. This small tactic gives Mike the ability to turn every Sunday into a follow up treasure trove for the rest of the week.
  • “Pollinating” the Audience // At the front end of our service you’ll notice Mike meeting and greeting people through out the audience during the musical worship part of the service. He’s attempting to make as many personal connections as possible with people … during the service! I love the site of our band cranking on stage and Mike is focusing on individuals in the room. This sort of personal care to connect draws people into our community.
  • Embedding the Vision // Mike is constantly looking for ways to reinforce the vision of our church. Although he’s not the “main communicator” he doesn’t miss an opportunity to explain the “why” to our team. Listen in on a voicemail he sent out to our campus team on launch Sunday recently. It’s classic Mike … “pastoring” our people at where they are at on a “big day” like that while helping them understand the vision one more time!
  • Central vs. Campuses // Mike understands that the central support team’s role is to generate content and lead the development of the church while the campus teams’ responsibility is to deliver the content and craft community connecting experiences. He consistently comes back to that fact with his teams and articulates the “division of labor” and works to ensure the lines don’t get fuzzy in this approach to doing church.
  • Ombudsman // A part of the role of a campus pastor is keeping an eye on a wide variety of areas and ensuring that they are functioning at a healthy level. Mike does this in an elegant manner and is always working to draw in other members of our team to improve the ministry of his campus. He resists the urge to solve the issues directly while focusing on leveraging the skills of other members on our team to help make his campus great!
  • Connection Triage Machine! // Above all else Mike is amazing at constantly helping our people get connected to the community of our church. He is always moving people onto their “next steps” … helping them find a place on a team or in a small group. Every conversation with people in his campus points towards how can we see this person get closer to being fully connected to our church.

Mike is a gift to our church … he’s a big part of what God is using at Liquid to see people get connected to Jesus! I’m thankful for his leadership and friendship!

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Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Josh — 05/02/17 4:34 am

Great list of focuses and skills

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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