As our team at The Unstuck Group continues to grow, today we introduce you to Dave D’Angelo, one of our newest ministry consultants. Dave is a pastor at North Way Christian Community in Pittsburgh, PA. With a decade of experience in multisite leadership, Dave shares what led him to join our team and some of the key things he learned over the years leading a multi-campus strategy.
TIFFANY: Tell me about your background and experience that led you to become a part of The Unstuck Group team?
DAVE: I served for 10 years at a multisite church in Ohio that was experiencing significant growth, both in attendance and in locations (from 1 to 6). This gave me the opportunity to experience a variety of staff roles, sometimes two and three at the same time. From communications to student ministries, campus pastor, executive pastor and even to human resources, it was incredible to lead from different perspectives within our organization, all while also serving on our leadership and teaching teams.
TIFFANY: How/when did you discover you had a passion for helping churches get unstuck?
DAVE: In 2012 I joined a coaching network with Tony Morgan to target my own leadership development, and that is when I first realized that teaming up with The Unstuck Group would be an amazing opportunity.
After one of our sessions, and because of a late flight, I got to spend time with another member of our network to work on some of the challenges he was facing in his ministry. Right there over coffee, after getting coached, I was in position to provide some coaching. It was humbling and exciting to watch how an outside perspective can provide hope and encouragement to someone facing a challenging season in ministry. Right then I discovered the passion to help churches and leaders get unstuck.
TIFFANY: Why do you believe in multisite as a strategy for spreading the Gospel?
DAVE: I believe in multisite because I’ve seen it work firsthand. Multisite as a strategy is built on more than just great facilities and cool technology. It’s actually driven by the desire to keep the local church local. To me, that makes spreading the gospel more effective because more multisite campuses, from healthy churches, empowers church attendees to invest in relationships right in their own communities, and then invite them to a church that is also right in their own community. Not only that, but multisite, when healthy, leverages staff resources across multiple locations, allowing staff to focus on their strength areas rather than try to be good at everything.
Multisite as a strategy is actually driven by the desire to keep the local church local.
TIFFANY: What’s been one of the most unexpected leadership lessons you’ve learned while working in a multisite church?
DAVE: The lessons are unending, but what first comes to mind is this: nothing is clear until it is written down. Churches often operate in a very verbal leadership culture. We were no different. You can get away with that in a single site context, but the minute that distance becomes a part of your ministry equation, the need for clarity from staff and volunteers skyrockets. It’s been said that what goes un-communicated in a relationship eventually will control that relationship. The lesson I’ve learned is that communication in a multisite context must be written not verbal.
TIFFANY: What are some of the mistakes you find church leaders make when launching their first campus?
DAVE: Everyone makes mistakes in the first go at campus launches! That said, what I most often see is the tendency to give responsibility without authority. There is often a gap between a staff member’s job description and reality, particularly with campus pastors. When a leader does not have authority equal to his/her given responsibility, they quickly feel helpless, often returning to the senior leader for approval before making decisions. Then the senior leader’s frustration grows, thinking leaders are afraid to lead.
It’s a vicious cycle that debilitates ministry and kills culture. Taking time to clarify the decision making framework, including specific boundaries, is a step too often overlooked.