Launching a new campus is a great opportunity, but also a great challenge. While it’s an exciting adventure to be a part of, it isn’t something that should be rushed, but rather something that is thought out and carefully considered. At Hillsong Church, we spend a good amount of time building the foundations of a new location before we ‘officially launch’.
Here are three things we’ve found to be of the upmost importance to build and solidify before launching a new campus:
1. Connect Groups
When launching a new campus, you can either build the community first and then launch, or launch first and trust that people will gather. Building a strong base of connect groups before kicking off the new campus is a great way to start strong because you already have a community of people you know to begin with.
It’s important to launch connect groups in a strategic way. One of the best ways to do this is to create connect groups based on location. For example, have connect groups spread throughout the city – not just in a specific suburb – so that regardless of whether someone is living in the north, south, east or west of the city, they can find a connect group. It is all about removing hindrances and making connect groups as accessible as possible.
Another alternative is to organize connect groups based on age groups – for example, having a university students connect group, or a married couples connect group. This way, people can find their peers and build friendships with people who are in a similar season of life.
Ultimately, building connect groups develops a strong foundation of people and healthy relationships, which is valuable to have before launching a new campus.
2. ‘DNA Night’
A DNA Night is essentially a night where you talk about leadership and the vision and culture of your church. This is so important before launching a new campus because it’s a great way to get people on board with the vision and the heartbeat of the church. At Hillsong Copenhagen, for example, they had a DNA night every Wednesday night for the first 18 months.
As pastors and leaders, gather regularly with the people who are carrying the culture of your church before officially launching a new campus.
In the early stages, it’s very likely that you as the leader are the only one who is coming in with the DNA blueprint and church vision that you’re desiring to grow. That is why consistently communicating to the culture-carriers is so vital.
What are your services going to look like? How is praise and worship, or the preaching going to look in the new campus? When launching a new campus, build services that are consistent and that people can trust.
Will people trust your services to bring their friends to? This question isn’t answered over one week, but is found on an ongoing basis in the culture displayed within your services.
There are obviously a lot of other things to be prepared for when launching a new campus, but having solid connect groups, gathering a great team of culture builders, and having a clear idea of what services are going to look like, is key in making sure that you launch a new campus from a place of strength.
This thought was originally shared during a webinar on Launching New Campuses by Thomas Hansen, Lead Pastor Hillsong Copenhagen, and the Hillsong Team, during ‘Online Open Week’ in February 2016. Online Open Week is your opportunity to receive impartation and training direct from the Hillsong team through live webinars.
If you would like to watch the full recording or find out more about future events from the Hillsong Leadership Network, click below.