The following is an interview between Dave Clark and me from October 2008. At the time, Dave was a campus pastor at National Community Church in Washington DC. Now Dave is on staff at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX. I asked the following questions to several campus pastors. Here’s what Dave said:

What is your ministry background? What did you do before becoming a Campus Pastor?
Before coming to serve here at National Community Church I attended Valley Forge Christian College in Pennsylvania for 4 years where majored in pastoral ministry and minored in music. I have been a Pastors Kid my entire life and my father is currently still serving as a Senior Pastor of a church in West Chester, Pennsylvania. You could say that I was born in a pew.  In my upbringing I was constantly in the church. And having traveled with my family for a number of years with a transient ministry, I have been exposed to so many different kinds of churches and so many different kinds of church leadership. My father was an amazing man to watch navigate all of the nuances of doing life in ministry and I learned a great deal from him. After feeling the call into ministry I knew I wanted to serve by being apart of something fresh and new, but I didn’t have much of an idea of what that looked like.  Long story short I met Mark Batterson towards the end of my college days and ended up on staff here at NCC.

If you were a pastor, do you still preach? If you were a pastor, do you miss preaching regularly?
I get to preach a handful of times here at NCC every year. Sometimes it has been to the entire congregation and other times it has been preaching to just the campus that I am over. I really enjoy the practice and feel that it really stretches me.

Sometimes I do feel like I would like to preach more, but I don’t feel as if I am at a place where I can or want to preach every week. I have even toyed with the idea of planting a church at times in the past but one of the big questions for me has always been “if I want to” or “can” preach every weekend. I don’t really have the answer to that question.  So all that to say that being a campuspastor is a good fit for me because I get to scratch that preaching itch once in a while by being given an opportunity to speak here at NCC.

How would you define the role of Campus Pastor?
I think being a Campus Pastor means that you are the local pastoral presence at your location or campus. Meaning that you pray with people, meet with people, Council people, share how your heart was impacted after the message, help bring application, dedicate babies, marry couples and so on and so forth. Basically a campus pastor is responsible for carrying on or spurring on the vision of the Lead Pastor or Senior Pastor at that location each and every week.

With your focus being on the role of a Campus Pastor and not preparing a weekly sermon, what do you get to do that you think a lot of pastors/preachers miss out on?
I think that Campus Pastors get to pay more attention to the details of the church. Things like making sure things are in order and that things run smoothly. Making sure that volunteers are well resourced and happy. Being more strategic about helping the location practice the vision.
Another thing is that I actually carry dual roles.  I am also the Media Pastor at NCC. So along with my campus duties I also oversee all of our media/production elements at NCC. So being a campus pastor allows us to have a capacity to do more.

What are the advantages of your role?
I think the biggest advantage of Campus Pastors is the fact that the church can stay smaller and still have more intimate connections while still growing bigger. We have the ability to touch more peoples lives individually. Our lead pastor can only individually meet with so many people.  Se we help expand that capacity by carrying on the vision and leadership to our campuses.

What are the unique challenges for a Campus Pastor at a multi-site church?
I think the biggest challenge that a Campus Pastor in a multi-site environment is to stay connected to the vision and heart of the Lead Pastor. So many times things just start running and running smoothly and once everyone is comfortable, that’s when it’s most dangerous. The vision get diluted. As campus pastors we have to strive to constantly hear the heart of our leader and the heart of God. Lead Pastors also need to be extremely intentional about spending ample time with their campus pastors and investing in them.

What is your communication like with you main campus or central support system?
We have weekly meetings with the Lead Pastor and all campus pastors to make sure that everyone is on the same page. We go over everything from announcements to structure and order of service. We also talk about what went wrong or what’s working or what’s not working.

Anything that you’d like to say, add, point out, etc?
I think that about covers it. =)

*** What are your thoughts after reading this first interview? I did add one more question about a back-up plan to the rest of the interviews. Are there any other questions that you’d like to ask? I’m working on some new interviews and can add in some questions if they are appropriate. Let me know.



Greg Atkinson

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