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Similar technology campuswide
With the “consistency model,” one should make sure that the exact or very similar technology are at any of a church’s campus sites, reflecting the technology of the main or “broadcast” campus.

Multisite Planning: Similar Experiences at Each Campus

Once we have identified and recognized the ministry DNA, we need to concern ourselves with figuring out what technology is going to be right for supporting each campus.

The landscape of how we do ministry has been changing dramatically over the last ten to 12 years.

With a well thought out plan and careful consideration behind the “why” of these needs, cross campus networking is absolutely achievable.

The concept of a multisite ministry model, for instance, has taken hold, not as a trend, but as the new norm.

The premise of going to a centrally-located building where attendees need to commute a great distance, just to attend a church that speaks to their spiritual needs, has been replaced with smaller, local campuses that allow people to connect to that same ministry, but in their local community.

Such regional campuses allow us to invite friends and neighbors to attend with great ease, because of their location. It has allowed us to connect with small groups, kids programming, and spiritual development in new ways, because we have “our church” right in our backyard.

Thanks to these new opportunities for the church, it has increased its effectiveness by connecting with people, where they are not only spiritually, but also regionally.

With all the amazing positives that come with a multisite model, though, there are some natural challenges that arise.

Whether your ministry is currently using a multisite model or dreaming of one down the road, there are some things you will want to consider.

The first is ministry DNA.

Essentially, this is what makes up the mission, vision, values and purpose of the ministry. The question is, how can we translate that across multiple campuses?

An example of this is the experience.

If the vision of leadership is to have a high impact and engaging worship experience, utilizing technology to support that vision, that is a core value. If this is a core value, it is essential that it be done with excellence at every campus.

Therefore, it should be a priority to have a very similar experience at each campus. That means no “shortchanging” from one campus to another. Oftentimes, this means making sure the right budgets are in place, to ensure we can actually create the right experience at each location.

Once we have identified and recognized the DNA, we need to concern ourselves with figuring out what technology is going to be right for supporting each campus.

One of the things our team is always interested in doing is developing what we call a “consistency model.” This is making sure that we have the exact or very similar technology at any of that church’s campus sites, reflecting the technology of the main or “broadcast” campus.

By doing this, it will ensure we can cross-train volunteers on the effective operation, maintenance and management of the equipment. This also makes remote troubleshooting easy for lead staff.

When deciding on a lighting console, for example, one for the main facility, we always recommend making that choice based on what other versions the manufacturer has available to us for installation also at their smaller spaces. This includes the main worship space, youth spaces, etc.

Having this level of consistency will positively impact all aspects of the technical arts teams.

An important topic that has also come up over the past few years is how do we get campus technology systems “talking” to each other? This could range from communication systems, multidirectional video feeds, multidirectional audio feeds, remote control of lighting systems for programming or even execution of cues remotely in extreme cases.

With a well thought out plan and careful consideration behind the “why” of these needs, cross campus networking is absolutely achievable.

We frequently see this when synchronizing services is a requirement. Regardless of your needs, though, there is a way to achieve the vision out there and oftentimes, it won’t break the bank in doing so.

After sorting out what the best equipment needed is for the campus, we then have to focus on staff and volunteer development and training linked to that new equipment being installed in the space.

It is very important, in order to operate the equipment to its maximum potential that we have a defined process and procedure for recruiting, training, and successfully send volunteers and even staff, into a live worship experience, so they can function with excellence.

We need to make sure these individuals are confident with the technology we are putting in front of them. This requires thinking through all aspects of the onboarding process, to ensure success.

I have learned several things over time, that I wish I would have known when I worked on my first campus installation project.

The first of those things I’ve learned is to design the systems based on where the ministry is going, not necessarily where it is today.

While it is impossible to futureproof a system, it is essential to not only consider where we are today, but more importantly, where we are going. Therefore, don’t design the system based on the skill level of the volunteers today, but rather based on where you want them to be.

Again, follow the DNA and vision of the ministry.

That is the guide.

The team will always rise to meet the needs of the ministry.

Another important lesson that I have learned over the years is to leverage my relationships with ministries that we were inspired by. Reach out to the tech and leadership teams at those ministries.

Learn from what they have done.

Ask what has worked and what didn’t. These are great opportunities to avoid reinventing the wheel.

Just remember, don’t copy what they do, but rather use it as a resource to inspire you and your ministry but again, always pass it through your own DNA. With this, you can be very successful and strategically positioned to have a great multisite strategy.



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