Two Paradigm Busters: Frequency of Ministry Presence & being a Minister led Church

Let’s start with the idea of the role of the “campus minister.”

Invariably, there is some confusion when we use the phrase “campus minister,” because folks thinks it means a community minister doing outreach at a local college or university.

However, we haven’t found a good substitute (yet) and so we should be clear about what we mean in the multi-site context of how we define a campus minister.

In our church, we have 3 campuses, identified by their geographic location within the greater Houston area metroplex: Copperfield, Museum District, and Thoreau / Stafford.

Each has a campus minister. The campus minister is the face with the place. They are physically present on their campus almost every Sunday, even if they are just part time. This is part of the magic of multi-site ministry.

In the older way of thinking, a quarter time minister would preach about once a month, meet with leaders periodically, maybe go to board meetings, and not much else. Typically, the minister does not reside in the same town, and frequently has other employment– either with another church or something else.

This means that when newcomers arrive, the minister is “never” there, and there are clear doubts as to the long term viability of the church. Often, the pool of available ministerial talent is much smaller for part time ministry as for full time ministry.

It is a classic no-growth situation and is part of the catch-22 nature of small congregations– they don’t have the resources bring on staff that can grow the church to the size where it can afford those resources– and even if they did– it seems like it would take waaaayyyy to long to bring about the desired reality.

How to get around this conundrum? Well, what if the quarter time minister only had to preach “live” once a month, but acted as a liturgist– became the face with the place– and was there almost every Sunday, while the other 3 Sundays, a preacher from a larger campus had their sermon up on a projected video screen?

Suddenly, the quality of the sermons have probably gone up. More importantly, the consistency has been established. There is a minister physically present to lead worship almost every Sunday, and the church now seems viable in a new way that it had not seemed before.

How do we make this magic happen? What is the nature then, of the Campus Minister’s time breakout?

Here is the Campus Minister Weekly Time Breakout–

12 hours per week = Quarter Time.

  • 3 hours Sunday morning, 1 hour prep, 1 hour service, 1 coffee hour
  • 2 hour weekly staff interaction (local & senior minister)
  • 2 hours supervision: Team Leaders (1 weekly meeting, 4x month)3 hours creative prep
  • 2 hours flex time

20 hours per week = Half Time.

  • 3 hours Sunday morning, 1 hour prep, 1 hour service, 1 coffee hour
  • 2 hours weekly staff interaction (local & senior minister)
  • 4 hours supervision: Team Leaders (1 weekly meeting, 4x month)3 hours creative prep
  • 6 hours flex time

40+ hours per week = Full Time.

  • 3 hours Sunday morning, 1 hour prep, 1 hour service, 1 coffee hour
  • 4 hours weekly staff interaction (local & senior minister)
  • 2 hours Team Leaders (1 weekly meeting, 4x month: ½ hour prep, 1 ½ hour mtg)2 hours counseling, rites of passage prep
  • 2 hours service prep: offering partners, liturgical considerations
  • 8 hours creative prep
  • 19 hours flex time

Several things must be noted. First, this is an early draft of the time breakout– recent events will modify this draft breakout.

“Flex time” usually means administrative projects of one kind or another. For example, all 4 ministers worked on developing a leadership retreat for the end of September: we each had different roles with different amount of time responsibilities.

Two Paradigm Busters: Frequency of Ministry Presence & being a Minister led Church.

The key thing to note here is that we have broke out of the paradigm of a quarter time minister only being physically present once per month. Now, it is almost every Sunday– and this has led to another key difference: even a small campus can be a minister led church, which is different than a lay led church. This is a huge mental shift in thinking about how the church campus gets run.

 

11 thoughts on “Two Paradigm Busters: Frequency of Ministry Presence & being a Minister led Church

    1. Yes, pastoral care is done either by a care team or by the minister, depending on the circumstances. Thanks for asking.

  1. Sunday prep ONE HOUR? It takes me longer than an hour just to meet with my Music Director. Crafting the order of service, writing the liturgical elements, researching/praying/thinking, writing a sermon — it’s all at least 8 hours. What’s your secret, or can you say more?

    1. I talk about the power of multiple minister collaboration here: http://www.howwedochurchnow.org/hlkDY but it occurs to me I should outline the whole process. Basically, we spend about 3 hours per week on the Creative Team process– which includes the order of service, liturgy, music, sermon research, &c. It’s only 3 hours per week because there are 4 of us, and we follow a 42 day process. I’ll write that up for next week.

    1. Patrick: I talk about the power of multiple minister collaboration here: http://www.howwedochurchnow.org/hlkDY but it occurs to me I should outline the whole process. Basically, we spend about 3 hours per week on the Creative Team process– which includes the order of service, liturgy, music, sermon research, &c. It’s only 3 hours per week because there are 4 of us, and we follow a 42 day process. I’ll write that up for next week.

      I’m so used to this process now, that I tend to forget we’re the only ones I know using it at present. Thanks for the question!

  2. This is parish ministry at multiple sites. Campus ministry is a concept that is known across all denominations and religions as being a connection of that religious organization to the students of colleges and universities. Why confuse the issue? Technically, this style of parish ministry could use a college campus as a campus, but it would still be parish style ministry. How confusing would that be? It would be campus campus ministry. Perhaps a different name for this should be used. Perhaps “satellite ministry”.

    1. Interesting point, Jim. For a larger context, consider that well over 1,500 Protestant churches are already multi-site. One out of four megachurches is holding services at multiple locations. One out of three churches says it is thinking about developing a new service in a new location. Seven out of the country’s ten fastest-growing churches offer worship in multiple locations, as do nine of the ten largest churches. And they are pretty much all called “campuses” or “sites,” and the ministers tend to be called Campus Minister. I think some denominations (evangelicals to be sure) consider a college, a prison, a nursing home, just another opportunity to have a “campus” of their ministry.

  3. Why not Copperfield Minister, Museum Minister, and Thoreau Minister so visitors/members know who serves each location? Or Joint Minister, since each of you is part of a larger whole?

  4. Interesting. The value of constant presence can’t be underestimated. I would like to know how this arrangement works for those who need a full-time income as a minister? As someone who has done quarter and half in various combinations to make ends meet and have the flexibility to conduct the usual meetings, go to continuing education, and so on, I’ve served more than one congregation at a time, and/or sought out income through pulpit supply at other congregations. And I would love to hear more about your team prep.

    Thanks!

    1. One of our campus ministers is half time and is also in a half time program for LCSW. Another is quarter time at one campus, and 3/4 time at another. A third is 3/4 time and likes it that way. So, yes, these campuses are not large enough to support full time ministry. But the multi-site arrangement provides more stability and a growth trajectory that is otherwise unattainable.

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