If you’re just starting out in Multisite, maintaining minimum standards may seem to be a manageable feat. For the most part, at two locations, it is. You essentially replicate what is working. Why reinvent the wheel? It’s a great starting point. However, the key to success in multisite is healthy systems that are built to last but can be adapted as growth occurs and expansion is needed. Think of it as adding spokes to the wheel. You’re going to be driving a bigger machine that will need better alignment and additional support.
Wondering where to start? Here are 3 goals for system implementation.
I define excellence as, “the minimum standard required to make a positive and impressive impact.” Excellence is always the goal. Therefore, anything below this standard is unacceptable. When communicating excellence, it’s important to describe it in a manner that is easily understood and reproducible. Point to a situation and say, “This is great! Do this again.” or “How do you feel when you are being served at Chick-Fil-A or assisted at Publix?” Don’t negate the importance of emotion when identifying and labeling excellence with your teams.
Written guidelines. Written guidelines. Written guidelines. Your expectations must be written down and distributed. Defining excellence is about emotional inspiration, but clarifying expectations is about practical application. What must your teams do in order to meet your minimum standards, your definition of excellence. Don’t assume your leaders know. Take the guesswork out of the equation and give them a framework to operate within.
When your teams have a clear understanding of what excellence looks like and what is required of them, anticipation begins to develop. A healthy team is a hungry team. Once excellence has been achieved and unity has been established, there is a natural tendency for leaders to look around and ask, “What’s next?” When this occurs, it’s only a matter of time before an upsurge of attendance occurs and expansion is necessary. If you want to reach this stage sooner rather than later, make plans and establish timelines for the next season. Ask yourself, “What happens when we reach the end zone? What’s next?” Make sure to outline future endeavors and share these with your teams.
Here’s an example of how to communicate standards and expectations, as well as build excitement for what’s next:
Define Excellence: “Excellence is…when every family walking through the door of our church feels loved, known, and inspired. How did you feel when you first came? How can you help others experience that same connection?”
Clarify Expectations: “Every preschool family should receive individual attention during pick-up. A personal one-on-one conversation offering insight into their child’s classroom experience is expected. In addition, you will hand them a newsletter outlining the items parents are most interested in. Review this handout with mom or dad. Ask if he or she has questions. Give him or her the opportunity to share thoughts.”
Build Excitement: “Once our families feel connected and well cared for, I am certain we will see growth. At that point, we will consider adding another toddler room in our preschool area. If we continue to grow, the leadership of the church will consider launching another location nearby.”
In a Multisite Model, as you launch additional locations, you’ll find every campus is unique in size, ethnicity, culture, and economic class. Despite the diversity, your minimum standards of excellence should not vary.
Here’s an example of one way in which eKidz defined excellence and clarified expectations: Quick Check Weekend Observations
Once a quarter, each children’s director at every location was asked to work through this Quick Check document. He or she would talk to team leaders, observe system operations, and make notes of problematic areas. This encouraged campus directors to identify missed opportunities and make adjustments. In addition, by reviewing this document and tweaking it as needed, it allowed the children’s ministry admin team to update, maintain, and communicate centralized standards.
If your church is operating within a multisite strategy or just considering it, it’s important to position yourself for expansion. Excellence will never be reached if not defined. Your teams will consistently fail to meet your expectations if never communicated. Encourage leaders to dream of what could be and prepare as if it’s a certainty, not just a possibility. Work hard at being the best. Position yourself for expansion and watch God move.
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