Campus Pastor does what?

chesspiecesThis past weekend we announced the hiring of our new Knoxville Campus Pastor, Jason Ross, who will start with us in mid-January. This announcement has stimulated several questions about the campus pastor and other pastoral roles at Richwoods. I’ve found that if the question is asked by one individual, it’s probably being asked by a dozen others.

Why do we need a campus pastor?

First of all, the Knoxville Campus Pastor role is not new and we’ve had it filled in the past.  It is important to note that it was during this time when Knoxville had its highest consistent attendance.  Not to say the role was the deciding factor, but it was one of several key elements needed for a healthy campus.  The campus pastor fills a critical role within a multisite church – the one consistent individual people can connect with at the campus.  This is one of the roles the Unstuck Group insisted that we needed to fill to move the church forward.

What took so long?

It has taken a long time!  It was really important to us to find a great fit, not just someone with potential, there had to be a “get it” factor.  Someone who not only aligned with us in doctrine, but could also project who we are as a church.  We spent well over 19 months looking at more than 85 resumes during two different search timelines.  We put the search on hold once and had to trust God to direct us as we prayerfully labored over the hiring process.

What does a campus pastor do?

Campus size allows for a few nuances within the role, but there are two elements that are constant.

  1. The campus pastor gives leadership to the campus.  This person is ultimately responsible to ensure that who we are as a church is projected and protected at the campus, including volunteer development, campus budgets, campus health indicators, pastoral care and counseling, weddings & funerals, and connecting with the community.
  2. The campus pastor is the primary person visitors will connect with, especially during the week.  There was a conversation amongst the leadership of the church concerning having a “back-door” problem—that’s theological terminology for regular attenders deciding it was time to leave Richwoods and attend somewhere else.  The Unstuck Group pointed out that we were focused on the wrong door, we have “front-door” problem in that we have a strong visitor flow, but we were not retaining them.  This is a primary role of the campus pastor, to reach out and help visitors feel connected to Richwoods.

Is this Jim’s replacement?


This was part of our discussion about two years ago, though.  The leadership of the church decided that hiring Jim’s successor was not going to be part of this process.  While a good campus pastor can be a potential fit for a lead pastor, the reality is the skill set is different.  Campus pastors need to be naturally comfortable not being “the guy” but leading from the second chair.  Sure, campus pastors need to have the ability to communicate well and preach on occasion, but preaching is not a primary skill needed to connect with visitors and lead a campus.  When it’s time to put Jim out to pasture 😉 , we will handle that in a different format.

What will Jim be doing, is he still going to be at Knoxville?

Jim’s Lead Pastor role is to be the primary voice of Richwoods – giving vision, passion, and energy to the messages and mission of the church. Yes, Jim will be at Knoxville Campus most of the time, but once in a while may surprise another campus with a visit.  The campus pastor will have the opportunity to preach 4-8 times a year.

The lead pastor is more of an entrepreneur, always thinking about what’s next and how can we work with God in his ever-expanding kingdom.  The campus pastor leads the campus to follow that vision.

In our context as a multisite church, the Knoxville Campus will be used as a resource center housing services that can be done once for multiple locations, like printed materials for children’s ministry and brochures.  Same goes for sermons, we have experimented with several formats and are committed to using video teaching at other campuses.  We believe Jim, as our lead pastor, needs to be the one communicating to Richwoods as a whole as much as possible.

If you missed it this weekend we displayed the Ross family photo and talked about their visit this coming weekend.  Jason and his family are moving to Peoria from Grant, Michigan and would appreciate your prayers as they sell a house, relocate their children to new schools, and say goodbye to family and friends.

The Ross Family: Jason, Megan, Jurnee, Jaleah, and Jericho.

Weekend Attendance

Knoxville Campus

Parkway Campus


Weekend Giving

On average Richwoods needs to receive $39.1K in gifts to meet its 2016 operating expenses, 10% of which goes immediately to Missions and helping people in our community who are experiencing financial troubles.

Knoxville Campus: $56.7K
Parkway Campus: $2.4K
Total Giving: $59.1K
Weekly Anticipated Giving: $39.1K


Our goal for year end giving is to raise over $90K beyond our regular giving to cover the cost of our Knoxville roof. 10% of every dollar in excess of our average monthly giving will go to help “Raise the Roof” in Haiti.  Additionally our Missions Team will match the 10% up to $10K.  We have a great opportunity to raise our level of generosity this season and make a huge impact in Haiti. Would you prayerfully consider helping make this a reality?

2016 Cash Balance

As a policy we must have at least 2 weeks of average weekly income in our cash balance at all times, currently that figure is $75K.

YTD Giving

Our budgets are set on a calendar year, submitted by staff and approved by the Elders of Richwoods.  Our ability to meet the needs of the people, provide programs, offer ministry opportunities, and so on, are all contingent on the faithful and generous giving of the people who call Richwoods their church home.  As a church we do not take annual pledges to set a budget but we work off of our historical giving and attendance patterns to project a conservative budget.

Year To Date Giving: $1,852,798
Year To Date Anticipated Giving: $1,933,221

If you have questions about the information shared in this fyi, you can contact our Executive Pastor, Joel Dryden by email.  You can also leave a comment below.

One Comment

  1. My son-in-law and daughter attended college with Jason and Megan at Carson Newman in Jefferson City, Tn. Jason was in their wedding. Jason will be an awesome campus pastor. May God bless your church in great ways for His glory!

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