Top 10 Questions about Multi-Site Announcement


Yesterday we announced that Grace Community Church is going multi-site. We will be one church that meets in two locations, adding our second location at Kenwood High School. (I wrote more about it HERE.)

As expected, we couldn’t answer all the questions in the time we had yesterday. This post addresses some of the most common questions I or members of the staff have received since yesterday’s announcement.

Will we still meet at Rossview?

Absolutely, this change is to allow us to continue to grow so we can fulfill the mission to “encourage growing followers of Jesus Christ”, so we will continue to offer three services at Rossview and we will be adding a fourth service at Kenwood.

Does this mean we are not building a building on our property near Rossview?

Not at all, it means that right now, because a building is not an option financially, that we are finding another way to create more room to reach people for Christ. We want to be financial responsible and not acquire debt beyond our means, while continuing the level of ministry God has called us to do. The plan remains to build on our property when the timing is right and the proper finances are in order.

When we build a building, will we close the Kenwood campus?

The plan is not to close what we feel God wants to do in that community. Anyone who has lived in Clarksville long knows that geographically we are spread out from each other. About 600 people pass Kenwood every Sunday to get to Rossview. There are approximately 75,000 people within a 5-mile radius of Kenwood. We think that’s enough to support a campus.

Will there be additional staff hires?

At this time, no staff hires are planned to be specifically assigned to either campus, but growth at Kenwood could allow for that eventually. We certainly want to minister effectively to the people in that area. We launched the church five years ago with volunteer leadership in many areas and we still empower many volunteers to lead. Kenwood will require even more volunteers to assume key positions, partnering with the existing staff we have.  Due to our co-pastor strategy from the beginning, our staff is accustomed to working in a team environment and is working a plan to share the responsibility of two campuses.

Have we considered a Saturday night service?

There probably aren’t too many options we haven’t considered, but this one would be hard to do in our setting. Every time we use the school, it requires a school custodian to be there. Sundays are a stretch on their schedules, but Saturday would be even more so and are not an option at this time. Additionally, school activities would consistently conflict with church schedules on Saturdays.

Why don’t we just build a smaller building than originally planned?

While that sounds logical, it isn’t practical. The size of a building with only the square footage we are using at Rossview is still a very large building and right now would be outside of our comfortable reach financially speaking. We can’t justify building something less in size (or even the same size) when our growth rate is what it is today and we are already maxing out the space we have at Rossview.

Will the same things be offered at each campus?

Yes, the Kenwood campus, other than some changes in color schemes due to school colors, should look almost identical to the Rossview campus. There will be excellence in Grace Acres (preschool), Cross Street (children’s) and worship.

Is each campus going to have it’s own pastor?

No, both campuses will continue to see the same faces that are seen at Rossview. Thankfully, the distances are close enough to easily commute between the two. On a typical Sunday, some of the staff (including the pastors) will be at each location.

What will a “launch team” for the new campus do?

That’s a great question. The launch team for Grace Community Church when we began the church five years ago did everything that was required to make a Sunday work. That included greeting at the doors, set up and tear down, working the parking lots, working in all areas with children, and giving up prime seats and parking spots to be as visitor friendly as possible. The Kenwood launch team will cover the needs of that campus. It will be exhausting, but rewarding, just as the original launch of the church was for that launch team.

What can I do to help?

Right now, the biggest needs are to raise the additional $150,000 needed to buy everything for the Kenwood campus and pray for the launch and all the details that still need to be completed. This Sunday (October 10), you will be able to sign up for the launch team. There will be launch team meetings and trainings in the near future.

Any more questions? Thanks for loving people enough to step outside your comfort zones and think outside the box. God is getting some tremendous glory from your hearts to serve this community.

Developing a Leadership Vocabulary

Great leaders are always learning. Part of that processing is developing the appropriate leadership vocabulary to help the organization and it’s team members achieve the greatest success.  Great leaders learn to say…

“Yes” more than “No”…

“Why not” more than “How come”….

“Our” more than “My”…

“We” more than “I”…

“Thank you” more than “I wish you hadn’t”….

“Let’s do it” more than “We’ve never done it”…

“Go for it” more than “Stop that”….

“I encourage you to” more than “I command you to”…

“What do you think” more than “Here’s what I think”…

“How can we” more than “This is the way”…

“Works with me” more than “works for me”…

Great leaders understand the power of their language. It develops the culture of the organization, team member’s perceptions of their individual roles, and the overall health and direction of the organization. Great leaders, therefore, choose their words carefully.

How is your leadership vocabulary? What would you add to my list?

Leading Alone is Never a Good Idea

If you are leading a team or organization, I have some simple advice for you. This is based on years of experience. I have been guilty of trying to lead on my own. I once had the false idea that I had to lead independent of others and that if I shared my struggles with other leaders, somehow I would be less of a leader. I felt like a sign of strength was to prove that I didn’t need help, but, as many of you know, this is never true for any leader.

Even still, I have been in organizations where there was no one on my team I felt I could confide in with a weakness. If this is your case, or especially if you are the only leader:

Always have a group of people you trust ready to assist you; to be your sounding board.

This isn’t just a leadership principle…this is a good life principle…

Here are a few things to look for in a person for a group like this:

  • One who has been where you are…
  • One who is going where you are going…
  • One who will not judge you….
  • One who can keep a confidence…
  • One you would follow their leadership

Are you leading alone? Be careful…you may want to find someone who can be there at the appropriate time…Don’t be afraid to recruit those people into your life. Chances are good they equally need that connection.

Does this post resonate with your story? Is there a time that it did?

Freedom Passes Develop Systems and Increase Creativity

When I was in school I had a love-hate relationship with math. I loved doing math, working to find an answer to a problem, but I hated having to solve it with the teacher’s methods. On tests I would do poorly if the teacher made us “show our work”. I could get the right answers, but using my own systems. I realize the teacher’s need to make sure I wasn’t cheating and that I knew how to think through a process but I wanted to invent my own process. The years I was on the math team and did best were when I had teachers who allowed me the freedom to do it my way.

Successful leaders understand this principle as it relates to organizational success. If you want creative team members to be energized towards progress the leader must allow team members to develop their own systems and strategies for attaining them. When you allow people to script the “how” they are more motivated to complete a task. Creative people especially need space to create.  They need to have input into the process of completing the vision of the team or organization.

Is your team stalled? Perhaps the system is too defined; too restrictive to allow changes and creativity. Try handing out some freedom passes. Hold team members accountable for progress, but allow them freedom to choose the process.

What about you…do you desire more structure or less structure to do your best work?

The Pastor But Not The Leader

I was talking with a 25 year old pastor recently. He is frustrated with the church where he serves. He was brought to the church because they wanted him to help the church grow again, but they see him as too young to make decisions on his own. They won’t take his suggestions. They consistently undermine his attempts to lead. They expect him to speak each week and visit the sick, but they won’t let him make any changes that he feels need to be made. It has made for a very miserable situation and he feels helpless to do anything about it. He’s ready to quit and the situation is negatively impacting every other area of his life.

It wasn’t the first time I have heard a story such as this. I hear it frequently from young leaders in churches and the business world. I didn’t want to be the one to tell him, but I didn’t want to mislead him either. The bottom line in this young pastor’s situation:

He is the pastor of the church but not the leader.

(Of course I’ll get kickback from those who want to remind me that Jesus is the leader of the church. I couldn’t agree more, but He does use people to lead His work and this pastor is not the one.)

Perhaps you share this young leader’s dilemma. If no one is following your attempt to lead it could be because:

  • You haven’t been given authority to lead…
  • You haven’t assumed the responsibility you’ve been given…
  • No one is leading in the organization…

If this is your situation, you have a few options as I see it:

  • You can live with the power structure in place and complete the role within the authority you’ve been given…
  • You can fight the power structure, lining up supporters, building a coalition in your corner…and be prepared to win or lose…
  • You can figure out how to “lead up”…build a consensus for leadership, confront where needed, win influence and the right to lead…even sometimes learning to lead people who don’t want to be led…(read THIS POST)
  • You can leave…

Think through these options and see which feels best in your situation. Every situation is unique and this post is not an attempt to solve your problem; perhaps if anything it can help identify what the problem is in your unique circumstance. I would say, however, that if you are miserable now and things are not improving that you shouldn’t wait long without doing something. Life is short and many have left the ministry because of situations like this. Don’t be a casualty. Address the problem!

One final thought, don’t handle a situation like this alone. Reach out to someone you trust, probably outside the church or organization; someone who has more experience in situations like this than you have. And, don’t let the stress from this destroy your family or personal health. If you need additional help processing next steps send me an email.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were given the responsibility to lead without the power to do so? What did you do?

(I might suggest some of these church leaders read THIS POST or THIS POST.)

Exploring Coaching Network Options: Help Please


I’m exploring options…thinking through some ways that I can invest in the current and future leadership of the church.  One of the most common themes these days among leaders I admire is to start a coaching network, basically as a way to “coach” a small group of leaders for a determined period of time.  I’ve never been one to copy what everyone else is doing, but I don’t want to miss opportunities either.

So I’m curious…would you help me by answering a few questions?

Have you ever been part of a coaching network?

If so, was it beneficial?  How?

For what reasons would you most want or need coaching today?

What do you think is missing now in the world of coaching networks?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, comments, etc.

Thanks for your assistance.

The Posture of Leadership

It’s a strange phenomenon…I’ve seen people serve in leadership roles who I didn’t think were the most qualified to lead, yet they are leading well and people are following. And, many times, they are achieving great results…

The reason is not their abilities as much as the way they have positioned or presented themselves to a group of followers.

The opposite is equally true. I have seen people who have positions where they are to be the leader but no one seems to be following.

That’s because of one principle of leadership:

Leaders posture themselves as leaders…

  • They seem to be in control or they take control…
  • They aren’t afraid to take a risk…
  • They are willing to go first…
  • They have battle-scarred hands from life experience…
  • They are still dreaming, when everyone else is settling for mediocrity..
  • They have the latest information…
  • They appear to have a plan…
  • They have impeccable character and integrity…
  • They hold a big vision…

You may not have all the answers, you may even be fooling yourself at times, but if you are postured to lead…others will follow…

Consider your leadership posture…would you want to follow you?

What do you look for in a person you will consider following?

Sharing Your Story: Let’s Get to Know One Another

This week I was at the Story Conference in Chicago.  Ben Arment and a team of volunteers put together a conference designed to help us creatively tell the story of Christ’s redemptive love for the world.  I was challenged personally to be a better storyteller.

It got me thinking though…

We all have a story….  We should share some of them…

Let’s share some of them today.

Here are 10 questions…Comment on this post to answer them….Answer all…one…or as many as you want to answer…

What is the hardest decision you have ever made?

What is one question about how your life has turned out that you have yet to answer?

If you inherited $1 million, what would you do with it?

If you could go back to any period of your life, where would you go?  Why?

Who is a friend from the past you would love to connect with again?

If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be?

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

What is the biggest trial you have ever faced?

How did you meet your spouse/girlfriend or boyfriend?

What is your greatest fear in life?  How do you fight it?

Let’s have some fun learning our stories.  Again, answer as many as you want…or all of them…

10 Random Things to Know about Pastors

Here are 10 random things you should know about pastors….these are true for me, but I suspect they may be for your pastor too:

The temptations you face…I face…

The larger the church gets…the less I know about anything…

I may not be the best person to ask…but I can point you to the right people…

The better the message…the longer it takes me to prepare it…

Even though I’m teaching it…I may not yet have mastered it…but I’m working on it…

I get nervous every time I start to preach…sometimes sick to my stomach nervous…

Sunday is not the only day I work…Honestly…

Your story probably doesn’t surprise me anymore…but I am never callous towards it…

To my family I’m not a pastor…just a husband and dad…

If you tell me something on Sunday morning…you probably should back it up with an email to remind me…

Pastors, does this list reflect you in any way? What would you add?

7 Hints for Working with Busy Leaders

Busy leaders. You know them. I hesitated to call them “important” people, because frankly I think all of us are equally important, but these are the leaders who have influence in a certain area of expertise and you would love a chance to spend some time with them just to learn from them. Perhaps you need their assistance for a project or you just want to glean from their experience.

The problem is these leaders have limited time to spend beyond what they are currently doing. You already view their time as valuable to you. You want to make the best use of it that you can.

Here are a few pointers to help your interactions with busy leaders:

Work through his or her system – If he or she has an assistant, use that process unless instructed otherwise. If the person prefers email to phone call, respect his or her wishes. If Twitter is their deal…you need to use Twitter.

Carry the burden – Assume responsibility for setting up appointment. Offer to check back, follow up, send a reminder, check back later, etc. Don’t ask them to “call me when you get time”.

Come prepared – Have your thoughts written out in an outline form to keep you on track in your discussion. Prioritize your list with maximum two or three issues to be covered.

Get to the point – Don’t give all the details unless you are asked for them. Most likely this person is a big picture thinker and will not need all of the details to understand your situation. State your questions or issues of concern up front so the leader knows where the conversation is going.

Be punctual – Remember his or her schedule is most likely full already. Don’t waste more of it.

Honor the time – Don’t overstay your welcome. Commit to ending in the time agreed to in advance.

Be appreciative – Follow up by thanking the leader for his or her time.

What suggestions do you have for meeting with busy people?