The following is an interview with NewSpring Greenville campus pastor, Howard Frist, from almost two years ago. Keep in mind, two years ago, these guys were just dipping their toes in multi-site and their first multi-site campus in Greenville was brand new. Now 5 campuses later, these guys are rocking and rolling. Here’s Howard’s answers from the early days of multi-site at NewSpring (I’d love to do a new interview now!):

What is your ministry background? What did you do before becoming a Campus Pastor?
Before coming on at NewSpring full time, I had the privilege of owning several business. Also for about a year (while owning the business), I was working part time at NewSpring in the Children’s area.

If you were a pastor, do you still preach? If you were a pastor, do you miss preaching regularly?
This does not apply, since I was not a Pastor and I do not preach, which is a good thing. 🙂

How would you define the role of Campus Pastor?
My role at the Greenville campus is somewhat unique because this is our first multi-site location. Because of that we are trying to figure our how multi-site works for NewSpring and how we go about implementing that for our others locations coming after this one. But outside of that, my number one priority as a campus pastor is to guard and protect the vision that God has given our senior Pastor and the leadership team that surrounds him. In order for that vision to be carried out, I need to be in touch with the people at this campus and lead them in executing that vision, both staff and volunteers.

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? What are the advantages of your role?
Since I have never been a senior or teaching pastor, I cannot speak to what I am able to do and what they cannot do. I do know that God wired me as a leader and not as a gifted speaker. So the campus pastor role allows me to use my God given talents in a way that I would not be able to if I also had to teach as part of my role.

What are the unique challenges for a Campus Pastor at a multi-site church?
One of the challenges that our campus has faced is that we cannot always change/control the information being sent to the campus level. In other words, we at the campus level do not control the teaching, or the children’s curriculum, or the groups’ strategy and so on. At times that can cause real challenges and issues as you try and implement something that was designed with others in mind. The way that we have overcome that challenge is to focus on what we could control, and that is how we interact and lead the people at this campus. We have focused on building a very tight tribe of volunteers and people who have been impacted for Jesus through this church or who love the vision that God has given us. We are finding that when people are able to connect to each other and understand why we are doing church a certain way, it overcomes a lot of challenges.

What is your communication like with your main campus or central support system?
We encourage a lot of horizontal communication between the Greenville campus teams and the Anderson campus teams. For instance the Children’s team here in Greenville has a weekly call with the Children’s team in Anderson to talk through issues each campus is facing. We are in the process of trying to figure out the right “central support team look” for our church. Currently we do not have a central team and that does cause for some issues in communicating. Our senior Pastor has given me the freedom to do what is needed in order to carry out the vision, so if there is ever a time when we cannot communicate with the Anderson campus and we need to make a decision, we make that decision locally.

Anything that you’d like to say, add, point out, etc.?
We have been open at the time of these answers 18 Sunday’s and have seen close to 100 people begin a personal relationship with Jesus. Back on Oct 4th we baptized 151 people at this campus, after being open just 12 Sunday’s. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to watch life change happen using methods and technology that were not even thought about 5-10 years ago. I would encourage anybody thinking of or maybe going through the challenges of multi-site right now, to think about the possibility of people meeting Jesus because of doing something different. And if you are already doing it, then look for and focus on the life change happening at the campus you lead. It makes all the challenges you face seem so worth it!

*** Just this past Sunday (2 days ago), NewSpring pastor Perry Noble tweeted the following: 516 people gave their lives to Christ @NewSpring today!!! (99 @ 6pm). Never seen a day like this in our history! #awakening

Praise God!

Greg Atkinson

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