Multi-Site: One Model for Hiring Campus Leaders
In this on-again off-again series of indeterminate length, we explore different topics related to the multi-site church context. See all posts in the series.
I’ve said it a thousand times before and I’ll say it a thousand times more: there are as many ways to do multi-site church as there are multi-site churches. But every multi-site model has one thing in common: the need for strong leadership.
In our model, our campus Guest Services Directors (GSD) report to the Campus Pastor, but they’re accountable to the central Guest Services Pastor (that’s me). So…solid line to one, dotted line to another.
And that’s important, because while the Campus Pastor drives the hiring process, it’s vital for the central team to speak into the hiring process. Mileage varies on different campuses and different hiring situations, but here’s how it typically works in our context:
Round one: the candidates
The initial hiring process asks the question of internal vs. external hires. Because we strive to have a good leadership pipeline, we will often hire GSDs internally. These may be women or men who have served as an intern or apprentice, are currently serving in another role on staff, or may even be a high-capacity volunteer. Sometimes the internal hire involves a simple shoulder-tap: “Hey, we’re going to fill this role. You should toss your name in the hat.” Many times the search involves a public job posting.
Whether internal or external, we follow our HR policies on posting the job, gathering resumes, and selecting the initial candidates for interviews.
Round two: initial interviews
Typically, a small team from the hiring campus – including the Campus Pastor and one or two others – will select a few candidates and begin to narrow from there. They will take a handful of people from the gathered resumes, and invite those people in for an interview. Their main goal here is to determine character and chemistry: do they have the heart and soul for the role, and will they be a good fit for the campus team?
Round three: secondary interviews
The campus team will narrow down to one to three candidates. People who make it to this stage pass the character test and the campus chemistry test. At this point the central Guest Services team is brought in to check competency: do they have the skills necessary for the job? There is usually someone from at least one other team (Kids, Sending, Worship, etc.) who sits in on that meeting: someone who has almost no skin in the game, but can serve as a neutral third party to ask questions and give post-interview feedback. There’s a secondary chemistry check here: is the candidate a good fit for the overall staff team?
Round four: final selection
As a result of round three, the central team will meet with the campus team to give feedback on their interview process. Usually there’s a clear candidate who has emerged. In some cases in the past, I’ve given a thumbs up to more than one candidate, and left the final selection in the hands of campus leaders.
This step – the meeting of campus and central – is vital so that the three Cs outlined above can be talked through and spoken into. In my experience, there will always be some competency issues to work through, so this meeting is the time to get those things addressed so both teams are working on that with the new team member.
Round five: onboarding
Once the selection is made and the new team member has accepted the role, it’s time to bring ’em into the fold. Our New Hire Orientation is a regularly-occurring event to cover the “need to know” aspects of employment and Summit culture. Our Guest Services Boot Camp is designed to get granularly-practical and help the team member get up to speed quickly. Our High-Capacity Volunteer Cohort is not just for volunteers, but is also a requirement for new GSDs within the first year of their employment. They will of course start attending our monthly Guest Services team meetings. And I will typically spend a little more time at the new team member’s campus on the weekend, shadowing them to make sure that they understand the Guest Services DNA and are executing it appropriately.
If you’re in a multi-site context, does your hiring model look similar? Way different? Comment below!