TRUE GRIT: BOLDLY FUELING THE FUTURE

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It’s undeniable: leadership dynamics change under a multisite church model. But one thing remains firm — the end goal is shepherding a flock into a deeper relationship with God. How much direction does the main campus give? Is your multisite ministry a clone or do you have your own free reign to contextualize?

A new book, “Multisite Churches: Biblical Foundations and Practical Answers,” by author Dustin Slaton, senior pastor at First Baptist Church Round Rock in Round Rock, Texas, is aimed at helping church leadership keep their focus firmly on this goal as they navigate the operational questions and hurdles that arise under a multisite model.

Before Slaton took on the role of senior pastor, he served as a multisite campus pastor for seven years at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas. During this time, he was also working on his PhD at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

“In my experience as a campus pastor, I learned that for someone moving into a campus leadership role from the outside that it’s important to make sure you understand how the organization works and the dynamics between campuses and leadership,” Slaton says.

For instance, he adds, “How much direction does the main campus give? Is your multisite ministry a clone or do you have your own free reign to contextualize [to the surrounding community and its needs]?”

While the vision may change according to a church’s individual approach and multisite setup, Slaton found one thing he must never lose sight of: a multisite campus is about reaching the local community.

“The culture may change but the campus is people. And you must shepherd the flock. You’re their pastor, not the campus organizer,” he notes of the campus pastor’s ultimate role in ministry.

“Figure out the dynamic of leading under your leadership,” Slaton says. “But know that people see you as their pastor. If someone was in the hospital, they called me. If they lost a loved one, they called me. It’s essential that you embrace the fact that you’re their pastor and shepherd.”

In addition to supporting and helping a local community find the Lord and grow in a relationship with Him, Slaton notes that the multisite model provides an excellent way for a pastor to grow.


“Lots of campus pastors might have a desire to one day be a senior leader, and I’d say embrace the opportunity to learn under good senior pastors. Learn those skills as a campus pastor. God developed me there to be a lead pastor.”

Under his own experience as a campus pastor, Slaton was so intrigued by the dynamics involved in multisite campus leadership that he devoted his PhD studies to the topic, with an added element: being Southern Baptist, his PhD dissertation – and also his book – addresses fundamental questions surrounding the theological underpinnings of multisite church.

In the Southern Baptist world, for instance, some leaders question whether or not the multisite church revolution is even Biblical in the first place. (Slaton’s interpretation upon Scriptural review is that congregational polity is compatible with the multisite model.)

“I mention this question in the introductory part of the book,” Slaton notes. “But the book’s principles are applicable to any church. It has wide application outside of the Southern Baptist world.”

Leading into the future, when it comes to multisite churches — regardless of whether they are denominational or not – what does the author suspect the future may hold?

“I think the model will continue to grow,” Slaton finds. “For example, early on, expansion was the mentality. Now it’s church fostering, where a struggling church becomes part of a healthy church to get healthy. Or adoption, where it becomes part of that organization on an ongoing basis.”

He imagines, “A healthy church with resources, leadership and vision has an opportunity to replant a church that’s beginning to die.”

“Multisite Churches: Biblical Foundations and Practical Answers” can be found on amazon.com, christianbook.com, kregel.com and other book sellers’ websites.

Multisite Churches: Biblical Foundations and Practical Answers by author Dustin Slaton

Tackle Leadership Dynamics and the Multisite Model

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