What Makes a Great Campus Pastor?

The following is a guest post from Jim Tomberlin, which appeared in REV! Magazine, July/August 2009. I thought this…

The following is a guest post from Jim Tomberlin, which appeared in REV! Magazine, July/August 2009. I thought this would go well with what we’ve been discussing as far as the role of campus pastor. Read the article and comment any thoughts or questions you have.

Almost every week I receive a call from a multi-site church desperately searching for a campus pastor. We have come along way from the early days of the multi-site movement when no one knew what a campus pastor was, or if they did, weren’t interested in being one.

Once seen as just an emcee for a video event, the campus pastor role is becoming one of the most strategic and sought-after church staff positions in many churches. The campus pastor is the most important element in the success or failure of a multi-site congregation. It all rises or falls on leadership.

Traits of a Gifted Campus Pastor

Having assisted many multi-campus churches across the nation, I have boiled down my answer to the following observations. Assuming that this individual is a spiritually mature person of character with a proven track record, an ideal campus pastor is someone who is a:

  • Catalytic leader: a high capacity, high energy, self-starter who not only gets things done, but makes things happen.
  • Team player: someone who people will follow, but who is willing to play second fiddle. Not a lone ranger maverick, but around them. They have a high fun factor.
  • Mobilizer: not only attracts followers but can turn them into teams of volunteers. The key to success in any staff position.
  • Multi-tasker: shows high capacity to juggle a lot of balls simultaneously and loves the juggling act.
  • Communicator: doesn’t have to be the world’s best Bible teacher, but is capable and articulate speaking to a room full of people.
  • DNA carrier: bleeds and defaults to the mission, vision, values, and senior leadership of the church.

Traits Not Conducive for a Campus Pastor

  • An overwhelming desire to preach: Someone who has to preach (unless you put them on the preaching or teaching team). If a person believes he or she has been called primarily to preach, he or she will not succeed as a campus pastor.
  • A passion for solo performance: An independent entrepreneur with the emphasis on independent.
  • A capacity for mixed agendas: Someone with an agenda other than reaching people far from God and growing a congregation. You don’t want someone whose agenda is not completely in tandem with the church’s.

Where Do You Find Camp us Pastors?

The first place to look is internally. Who is on your staff right now who embodies your church’s DNA? Who has proven that he or she is ready for a new challenge? Who is the best person on your team? Lead out with that person.

If not on the staff, who is in your congregation that could transition into this role? There are high-capacity marketplace leaders sitting in your church who have the leadership gifts and your church DNA to be wildly successful as campus pastors.

The next best place to look is within the network of your own staff team.Whom do they know around the country who could be good campus pastor candidate for your church? Bring them on the team and incubate them. Take a year to train and acclimate them at home base before launching them into their own campus.

Finally, you can place ads in venues such as Willow Creek’s Exchange, Church Staff.com, Tony Morgan’s jobamatic blog, MinisterSearch.com, and denominational networks.

Are You Campus Pastor Material?

Contact Jim@Multi-SiteSolutions.com. If you have the right gifting, I may have a church for you!

Jim Tomberlin is chief strategist of Multi-Site Solutions, and has served as a senior pastor and various other ministries.