The concept of the campus pastor is a genius kind of idea.

For more than a decade, the roles and responsibilities of a campus pastor have been innovated by hundreds of leading multi-site churches.

Campus pastors, while many are very capable communicators, they focus more on leadership and shepherding than on teaching and preaching.

The weekend sermon from the primary communicator is broadcast to all campuses. The senior pastor or a small teaching team typically carries that responsibility, thereby saving time for the campus pastors to invest more in the people of their campus.

Some multi-site churches choose live teaching nearly every week by their campus pastors. But in these cases, they meet as a team and construct the sermon together which accomplishes similar goals. First, the team makes the sermon better, and second, it gets it done faster. (Saves time.)

The multi-site model is efficient. It has the potential for incredible stewardship of time and talent.

The word efficient doesn’t sound very warm and fuzzy. It’s not a relational word. But the more efficient your church is, the more relational it is because you have more time for people.

The word inefficient, on the other hand, is a word that relational or not, no leader likes to hear. It wastes time and energy. A key question is: How do we design systems to invest more time in the things that really matter?

Effective is the idea that trumps both efficient and inefficient. Measurable progress, according to the goals of the vision, is the bottom line of effective leadership.

Effective campus pastors are a formidable force for good.

Because campus pastors are typically not required to do things like write sermons, deal with the overall church budget, and oversee administrative functions from buildings to leading a church board, they have more time to invest in people.

Don’t misunderstand; campus pastors are among the busiest leaders I’ve ever known, primarily because they do devote themselves to helping people grow spiritually and leadership development!

In the launch of a multi-site campus, there is nothing more important than your selection of the campus pastor.

Here are our choices for top leadership traits for campus pastors.

First, a quick list of assumed foundational characteristics, such as:

  • Humble
  • Godly character / Loves Jesus
  • Smart
  • Strong work ethic
  • Leadership drive

5 Key Leadership Traits of a Great Campus Pastor:

1) Team player 

A great campus pastor has an entrepreneurial spirit but can work within systems and flourishes on teams.

The entrepreneur in a great campus pastor gives them that edge that provides drive, ideas, and the courage to be the point leader.

Yet at the same time, they are willing to listen, take ideas and direction from others, and play team ball. Candidly, that’s not a typical combination of skill and attributes.

It’s common for leaders with drive and courage to want to be out on their own, but this unique person sees the potential of what can be accomplished through teamwork. They understand how their willingness to join a team can often advance the Kingdom in more significant and faster ways.

2) Developer of leaders

The best campus pastors are quick to roll up their sleeves and jump into the messiness, pain, and struggles of everyday life with people.

However, they are keenly aware that they must protect time to train and equip quality volunteers for ministry. Ephesians 4:11-12 makes that clear. (Equip the people for ministry.)

The best campus pastors develop other leaders. They are very good at identifying potential leaders and developing them to the point where significant responsibilities can be entrusted and released.

Surprisingly, the art of empowerment can be so difficult. It’s one thing to develop a leader; it’s quite another actually to trust them to lead and give them the keys. Great campus pastors do that every day.

3) Shepherd’s heart and strong people skills

As I just mentioned, great campus pastors jump in quickly to help people. The focus is spiritual growth, but sometimes the need is more basic, for example, a parent is struggling with one of their kids. No one campus pastor can meet all the needs, but they possess a heart that causes them to do for one what they desire to do for many.

In addition to a shepherd’s heart, the importance of strong natural people skills can’t be overestimated.

The ability of a campus pastor to connect quickly with all kinds of people, love them, and care about them is essential. 

Campus pastors think fast, but they intentionally slow down to see and meet the needs of people, including carrying an evangelistic zeal into the community to reach people.

Loving people is at the core of a great campus pastor.

4) Vision wins over a passion for communicating

At 12Stone Church, all of our campus pastors are skillful communicators, and most really love to teach. But their vision to reach people is greater than their passion for communicating regularly.

(This does not mean that teaching and reaching more people are mutually exclusive. I’m merely focusing on the characteristics that make a great campus pastor.)

Let me give an example where all campus pastors are required to be good communicators. They cast the overall vision of the church at their respective campus. They do this on the platform as well as other gatherings at their campus.

It is not necessary for all great campus pastors to be strong vision creators, but all must communicate the vision and be outstanding vision carriers into the lives of the people at their campus.

5) Cultivates and transfers church culture

The ability to embrace and transfer the true culture of the church is one of the most sophisticated and necessary skills of a campus pastor.

This ability is needed both on the platform during the worship services and throughout the week with leaders and the congregation in general.

This, of course, works best when the church’s culture is healthy and clear to everyone.

This takes strategic and intentional effort from the top leaders and everyone on the team. It carries three distinct elements.

First, the entire staff must care about the culture, and all agree upon the key values.

Second, the campus pastor must intentionally cultivate that culture, including enhancing the good and eliminating what is not desirable.

Third, the results are that the culture is noticeably present and healthy in every campus.


I’d love to know what you think.

What would you add or delete from this list of five?