Top 10 Observations from Hitchhiking

David Gafford and I spent a couple of days getting a behind the scenes look at Community Christian Church, a multi-site and church planting church with nine campuses and several affiliated plants. Their Hitchhiker's Guide to Multi-site event started with Leadership Community (this is one of the main reasons we went) and then we saw about five campuses between the two of us. We were there with about a dozen other churches (about 50 folks). CCC puts one of these on about four times per year.

Here are my top 10 observations:

  1. Leadership is hard, but you can make it fun. CCC knows how to have fun and modeled it well for us.
  2. No better way to train leaders than through apprenticeship. CCC drives home having apprentices at every level. CCC has leadership residencies where folks come to apprentice with a pastor for a year. The only cost to the church is the time of the leader. Some of thesse residents become campus pastors or church planters. If CCC had to pay for this, their reproduction would slow down to a crawl.
  3. If you don't write things down and develop policies, it will come back to bite you. CCC is notorious for not having policies and procedures, and I think it's catching up to them. On the other hand, their apprenticeship model is second to none.
  4. Policies can get in the way of kingdom work and a movement of God. That's the flip side of the last point. Part of the genius of CCC is that they don't have a bunch of policies and procedures. I believe policies are essential, but don't let them determine ministry. Flexible, adaptable, nimble, simple are all key words I will be using. 
  5. Constantly innovate. Example: With their ninth campus they've found a way to save money on rental and provide a great environment by setting up those tents/fenses n the gym in the picture above. 
  6. Every church that is on the go runs into some financial problems that result in a test and an opportunity. CCC had to do some layoffs this year for the first time ever. It tortured their senior pastor and embarrassed him (as he shared at Leadership Community). Yet it has provided an opportunity to analyze and improve. Over time the tendency is to get "fat." I'm absolutely convinced that "lean" is good for the kingdom. 
  7. Some people's definition of excellence get in the way of kingdom work. CCC doesn't let that happen. I'll do a whole post on this one.
  8. It's not about multi-site; it's about multiplication.
  9. Big asks get big results. When CCC plants a church in another city, it's typical for several families in the church to pull up stakes, find new jobs and homes and move with church planter! This is typical. 
  10. You can sometimes learn as much from people's mistakes as from their successes. The cool thing about this hitchhiking experience is that CCC isn't waiting until they get it all right to do it (they never will) and they're very open about what's going well and what's not. No pretension.
  11. [Bonus Obersvation] Great leaders don't hold on to things too tightly. I see this in Dave Ferguson. I need to learn this big time. That's the theme that keeps running through my head on this vacation.