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The Relationship Between a Lead Pastor and a Campus Pastor

By New Churches Team

What are the best practices for creating a healthy relationship between a lead pastor and a campus pastor?

Different Models

A campus is either an identical twin, a sibling, or a cousin.

  1. Identical twin: everything that happens in one place happens in all of them. There is a high level of control and synergy. It is very scalable and streamlined. This model is highly centralized.
  2. Sibling: The programming may not be the same, but the vision and values are. Things are nuanced for each campus, but it wouldn’t take an outsider long to see that they are intertwined.
  3. Cousin: These two churches are more removed. You can’t necessarily tell that they are related unless they tell you first. They may have different preaching and different programming. Everything isn’t centralized, and the support may be optional. It is a significant step removed from the sending campus.

A Solid Line Relationship

In a solid line relationship, the campus pastor and the lead pastor have one-on-one meetings. The campus pastor may be a part of the leadership team meetings and involved in meetings that involve other campuses. The lead pastor has a hands-on approach and may see this as a development relationship.

This relationship is key. The lead pastor wants to ensure that the campus pastor shares the same vision and is fully bought in. The campus pastor needs to make sure they are aligning with the pastor, the elders, and the vision of the church. One of the most important things to do in this situation is to develop a strong relationship and figure out how to have the same mind in decision making. Being on the same page is key.

A Dotted Line Relationship

In a dotted line relationship, the campus pastor needs to be good up front and recognize that they are the pastor over that body, even if they aren’t preaching. They have to understand how to lead up to the lead pastor well. This takes understanding and carrying that vision forward in their context.

In this role, the campus pastor is typically reporting directly to the executive pastor. The executive pastor’s role is so important because they are balancing the relationship they have with the lead pastor and with the campus pastor. If you are the lead pastor, you have a lot on your plate, but you still need to initiate moments of connection to build a relationship with the campus pastor. This will give you a gauge for how they are doing. You need to shepherd them as they shepherd their congregations.

Adapted from the New Churches Q&A Podcast Episode 588: The Relationship Between a Lead Pastor and a Campus Pastor. Click here to listen to more to church planting, multisite, and multiplication tips.


New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.


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