Multi-site, Video teaching, and Reproducing Teachers

Last month, I sat on a panel of  multi-site pastors at our NewThing Network gathering.  In multi-site, everyone knows you get to (and have to!) reproduce leaders all of the time.  But a question came up about using video teaching: “What about reproducing teachers?”

I’ve thought about it a lot so I was glad the question came to me.  If I was to narrow our reasons for using it (70% video at 2 campuses and 30% video at one campus), there are two reasons:

Small Reason:  Efficiency/Effectiveness.  Our Campus Pastors work their tails off.  They start early and often don’t shut it  down until after an evening meeting.  Campus Pastors give input on development of the message, but use that 15 hours/week leading their campus instead of doing message prep.

Big Reason:  Unity.  How do we stay ONE church across 4 locations?  Our campuses have freedom to be unique based on their campus pastor, the community they are in, and the dynamics unique to them (size, personality, and staff/personnel).  Video teaching is a big aspect of a unifying experience for us – everyone is getting the same message.  I talked to 3 multi-site churches in the last month that are not using video teaching, but they manuscript theirmessage and every teacher has to follow the manuscript (only place they diverge is telling personal stories) to give the message the same unity across their campuses.  Unity is HUGE in multi-site.

It is good to be aware of potential pitfalls.  For churches with video teaching, here are 2 things to pay attention to

-Does it make the church too centered/dependent on one person?  My take: This isn’t particular to multi-site…all churches with a primary teacher should pay attention.  It is about personality and leadership style.  Are some pastors dictators and ego-maniacs? Yes.  Is that a problem?  Yes.

-Does it stunt the growth/opportunities/reproduction of other teachers?  This is the more important question to me.  But since we have gone multi-site, the opportunity for more people to get chances for Sunday morning teaching has increased exponentially and also has a more intentional development process.

Think about this:

When we were ONE site, i would teach 37 times a year and there would be 15 Sundays for others to teach.  Usually 12 of those would go to our 2nd teacher and the other 3 got scattered to give others an opportunity.  And, we were “free agents” – each person would be on their own to develop their message.

Today, I still teach about the same amount.  Across FOUR campuses, there are now 80+ opportunities a year to have others up to teach.  Our campus pastors are the most regular teachers and there are still about 15-20 opportunities a year to give others a voice into our church and develop their teaching gift.  This year we will have 7 people besides me teach at the St. John Campus.  We would have never had that kind of pipeline for teachers before multi-site.

The best part, though, goes far beyond how many chances people get to teach, it is that we have environments for actually helping people develop their thinking on messages, get direction, resources, and feedback. For example, our teaching team meets every Tuesday morning and ALL of our teachers give input on every message — whether I’m going to teach it or one of them.

Reproducing leaders..and teachers.  It is what we do.

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~ by Greg Lee on November 4, 2011.

4 Responses to “Multi-site, Video teaching, and Reproducing Teachers”

  1. Great article!

  2. Great insight. We have been thinking and have come to many of the same conclusions.

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