///Centralized/Localized/Specialized In Multi-site

Centralized/Localized/Specialized In Multi-site

We are expanding. Things are moving really fast and slow at the same time. Do you ever feel like that? We are about to relaunch a brand new student ministry at our other campus and it excites me. It’s been about a year since we had a youth pastor out there and it’s time to move forward and launch in a new way.

I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what I am doing. I have chatted with multiple people who have done multi-site, asked questions, saw how they do it  and we are launching into this new season with a little bit of multi-site experience but a great plan in place on how we would like for it to look like to make us seem like we really are ONE ministry in two places. In order to best set up the new guy taking over and starting it up, we have written up a sort of guideline in which helps explain how and why we do certain things, what cannot change to keep our ministry DNA the same and what they have control over completely.

There is always a balance when it comes to bring something that seems to be working well into another place and try to do the same. This is a new thing for us and we are pumped to try to reach more students with our model of ministry and continue to grow.

Here is the framework we are working through:


CCV is ONE CHURCH with MANY LOCATIONS. That said, we work diligently to ensure every campus has the same “CCV DNA” while also exercising the freedom to contextualize the gospel for their particular community. While we don’t want to control every aspect of the ministry, we do hold a tight to certain things. The CENTRALIZED-LOCALIZED-SPECIALIZED model will help guide and direct each campus in what they can / should / and should not do in order to make sure we all are operating in the same vein of family ministry.


CENTRALIZED items are the non-negotiable parts of our ministry that need to be in uniform from campus to campus.

  • Ministry Model – Our Worship, Community, and Serve model is something our whole church adopts. This includes our midweek services that are geared to engage the non-believer and challenge the believer and our centralized small groups.
  • Mission & Values – Our mission and values reflect that of CCV as a whole. Our mission is to see a fully devoted student impacting every home in this valley. We aim to achieve this by raising up students who exhibit the values of Big Faith, Evangelism, Generosity, Growth, Community, Celebration, and Excellence.
  • Leader Processing – Our application, interview, training, and background check process for volunteers.
  • Certain Events – Certain big events such as summer camp, winter retreats, and ONE NIGHTS will be done together with San Dimas. These are events that our whole student ministry will be together one to give our students the feeling that we truly are one church in many locations.
  • Sermon Series – We want to feel like we are one big ministry and teaching in the same series and topic is one way to make sure all students are getting the same experience.
  • Small Group Curriculum – Again, we want to feel like we are one big ministry and using the same small group curriculum is another way to make sure all students are getting the same experience.
  • Certain Programmatics – Midweek services need to have: Worship music that is selected from a pool of approved SM songs, an element of fun, and Bible based message.
  • Ministry Names & Logos – Consistent branding across all campuses is a high value.



LOCALIZED items are the aspects of ministry that need to be similar to the San Dimas campus but do have room for customization. While our programs should feel the same, the way they are executed has flexibility.

  • Sermons – Even though we want to be all on the same page with the series and topic of the night, you have the ability to teach it in anyway shape or form you feel you need to for your students.
  • Social Media – While we highly encourage collaboration and having a similar look and feel, each campus is free to run their own social media accounts. However, we do ask that they would follow the guidelines outlined in the Family Ministries Social Media Guide.  
  • Programming – As long as it “feels” like CCV Students, reflects our ministry model and values, has the elements listed in the CENTRALIZED section of including music from an SM approved pool, an element of fun and a Bible based message, you can customize the actual service and flow to fit your context.
  • Promo Material – Promo material should be similar across all campuses but there is some room for freedom when applicable.


SPECIALIZED items are the things you basically have complete control over.

  • Campus Specific Events – Events and activities for your specific campus.  
  • Leader Appreciation – How you communicate, encourage, and love your leaders.
  • Day to Day Activities – All of the day-to-day activities you need to do to run your ministry and the things you plan.

What are your thoughts? What am I missing? Have you experienced doing this? I’d love to hear!




By |2018-01-02T09:05:18+00:00January 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|9 Comments

About the Author:

Justin Knowles has been a pastor for the last 10 years and is the Student Ministries Pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, CA. He hosts Youth Ministry Hacks Podcast, loves to write about his ministry journey and teach at all sorts of camps or retreats. He and his wife Kristin have a son named Graham and a cat named CATalie Portman. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @justinknowles3


  1. Shawn Catalano January 2, 2018 at 9:39 am - Reply

    Hey man. Thanks for sharing this! I previously served at a church for ten years, the last 4 we were multisite and I never felt we had this figured out. We’d switch time and time again, different models and different structures. The church I just arrived at is considering multisite so I’m glad I’ll have your post to share as a resource! Thanks for sharing and serving! God bless!

  2. Danny Bowers January 3, 2018 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Hey Justin, currently in a church that is a multi-site setting in the Bay Area. We’ve been in these conversations as we’ve been revamping how Family Ministry (preschool, kids, middle school & high school) all operate. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Kevin Stiles January 5, 2018 at 5:25 am - Reply

    Justin, if I were the other student pastor, I would wonder if I would have any influence or what the process was the central development of sermon series, summer camp, retreats and one nights. Does that make sense? Maybe you spell that out in other places. We are walking through that as a multi-site student min as well. Thanks for the post.

    • Justin Knowles January 8, 2018 at 7:06 am - Reply

      Hey Kevin, the way I like to operate as a team is through collaboration. If you go to my podcast, click HERE for the episode, we go into detail on how we all come up with our series, camps, etc so it allows everyone to speak into what planning looks like. The other campus pastor will also sit in our service planning meeting and will be a part of our Thursday meeting when we come up with the outline for that weeks meeting. We are only 20 minutes from each other so we can make this happen.

  4. Zac Manor January 6, 2018 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    What products does your Central teams give student pastors. How much is given to Local student campuses and how much do they have to create?

    • Justin Knowles January 8, 2018 at 7:08 am - Reply

      We are still working on this.
      Right now, my team on my campus makes everything. Since we will be going through the same series and both have DYM memberships, sermons and games are taken care of. The things he would need to do on his own would be what he would want to do for his campus specific.

  5. Jeremy Whitehead November 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Hey Justin this blog was exactly what I needed! Just started student ministry at a second campus 4 months ago and trying to figure out the best way has been quite difficult. Do you have any more recourses on being a better multi-cite student ministry you can point me too? Thanks so much

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