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?

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?

Friday Discussion: Should Churches Compare Attendance Numbers?

I realize there is room for debate and even disagreement on this Friday discussion post. I decided when I began this series that I would not shy away from issues only because they may appear controversial. My criteria is really issues I’m wrestling with personally or have a special interest in the discussion. Today’s post fits that category.  I put this off for a couple weeks before I posted it, because I’m not trying to encourage division in the church, but this is really something I’m wrestling through.  I’d appreciate your input. (I think we can disagree on this issue and still be partners in Kingdom-building!)

Should churches be comparing numbers of attendance with other churches?

Recently I’ve read controversy over the recent “fastest growing” and “largest” churches article published in Outreach Magazine. I admit, I read the article and I was encouraged by it and the stories of some of the churches. To this point, I have chosen not to submit our numbers, even though we would easily qualify in the fastest growing category. (I share that now only to illustrate that this is not an issue of bitterness…one of the counter arguments I have heard people say.)

Recently I tweeted that we had our largest non-Easter attendance and instantly people wanted to know the number. Most conversations with pastors start with a discussion of number. Keep in mind, I’ve posted before that the spirit of competition is not always a bad thing, even in the church. (Read those posts HERE and HERE.)

I’ve heard counting attendance numbers compared to 2 Samuel 24 where David wrongly counted the fighting men. At the same time, I’ve heard others counter that there is a whole book named “Numbers” and that most churches count their offering. (True that!)

So, my question remains: Should churches be comparing numbers of attendance with other churches?

What’s the value? What’s the harm? Is it good or bad? What’s your opinion?

I’d love for you to add to the discussion.

The Sticks Conference: Helping Churches in Small Towns

Recently I had the awesome opportunity to hang out with Artie Davis. I knew Artie from online, but had never met him personally.  Artie is one of those people who invests in everyone he meets.  I instantly felt love and warmth from Artie and I believe we have started a long-term friendship as pastors.

I was especially interested in a couple projects Artie has going.  One in particular is The Sticks Conference. I had seen Tweets of this conference, but really didn’t completely understand it until we talked.  Knowing the vision of this conference, I want to make sure my readers know about it.  If you are doing church in a small town…pay attention!

Here’s a conversation I had with Artie Davis about The Sticks Conference:

What is The Sticks Conference?

It is a gathering “movement” committed to bringing leaders and pastors together that do ministry in smaller towns. The Sticks Conference is the national gathering where these incredible, unsung hero’s have open access to other leaders and the opportunity to learn from the successes and failures of the other small community leaders.

Are there special considerations for churches in smaller communities to consider?

Absolutely!  Unlike larger metropolitan areas, every smaller community has it’s own “culture.” There are truly as unique as DNA. No two are the same. Some principles can be transferred, but methodology must be relevant to that communities uniqueness.

Who should attend this conference?

Every leader, pastor, minister, lay leader, church planters & wanna be leaders who have a heart to reach their town for Jesus!

When and where is it and how does someone register?

It’s November 9-10 at Cornerstone Community Church.  You can get more details at

Thanks Artie!  Again, if you are attempting to minister to people in smaller cities, this conference is tailored just for you.  You will not want to miss this conference. Artie and his team are going to invest in you and make your ministry better.

Cows With Names Produce More Milk

Did you know a cow with a name produces more milk than a cow without one?

I saw it recently in a Southwest Airline “Spirit” magazine.

So I tested the theory. You can view that video here:

The experiment was part of my message yesterday on why we do community groups as a part of our strategy at Grace Community Church. To see the whole message and understand how it fits, watch this video:

Will We Be Obedient?

I am amazed at what God has done through the work of the people of Grace Community Church in the first five years. We celebrated that milestone last week, but tomorrow is a new day. The start of the next five years. As a natural dreamer, I can’t help but wonder what the next five years will bring.

The anniversary caused me to be reflective this week. I thought about some of the obedience of the people following God in Scripture:

  • Noah did as the Lord commanded. Genesis 6:22
  • Moses followed God even when it meant leaving the comforts of a king Hebrews 11:27
  • Joshua did what the Lord commanded. Joshua 11:9
  • Rahab sacrificed her life for the life of some Israelite spies Joshua 2
  • Gideon led the people in spite of his weaknesses Judges 6-7

Throughout the Bible we find stories of people willing to risk everything they had to follow God, simply because He is God.

And, in turn, God seemed to favor and honor people who were obedient.

My time of reflection makes me want to obey Him even more. The question of what God will call me (us) to in the next 5 years is not near as important, at least from my perspective now, as the question of whether or not I will remain obedient…regardless of the risks and obstacles along the way.

What is God calling you to do? Will you be obedient?

Seriously….will you?

7 Ways to Prepare for More Effective Meetings

Successful projects and teams require meetings to accomplish goals and objectives of the organization. Busy leaders, however, are usually somewhat anti-meetings oriented because of the interruption they appear to be in getting actual work done.  I have found, however, that much of the frustration is in the lack of proper preparation prior to the meeting.  When done well, the time spent in meetings can actually make projects better and strengthen the work of the organization.  A large part of that is found in the preparation prior to the meeting.

Here are 7 ways to prepare for more effective meetings:

Ask the big question – The big question to ask before any meeting is scheduled is, “Do we need to meet?” For me personally, most meetings feel as if they are an interruption, even though I realize the importance of them. If the issue can be handled, without meeting, most will not argue.  Unnecessary meetings cause frustration and slow progress.  If people agree a meeting is necessary, they are more likely to come prepared to accomplish something.

Determine a win – The meeting will be more successful if before the meeting begins the purpose is clear. Ask the question, “What do we need to accomplish in the meeting for it to be successful?”  Working towards a defined win will help keep the meeting headed in the right direction.

Invite the right people – Not every meeting needs to involve every person on the team.  Decide who needs to be at the table and invite the appropriate people.  Those without a defined purpose will tend to drag the meeting away from its purpose and leaves them frustrated.  As a leader, I usually ask people on my team, “Do I need to be there?” when I learned of a meeting, before I place it on my calendar.

Decide on a time limit and frequency – I get very bored after an hour. Some of our meetings, such as our bi-weekly staff meetings take longer, but as a rule, I like shorter rather than longer and less frequent rather than more frequent.  If you are attracting leaders to your organization, they will want meetings to be kept to a minimum as much as possible.

Craft an agenda – The meeting should be purposeful, but not too tightly controlled by time.   Be sure to allow adequate time for brainstorming, questions and the necessary social interactions, which happen with healthy teams. For our team the social part starts the creative process and gets people to buy into the meeting.

Give adequate notice – This will not always be possible, but people who like to be prepared, have Introverted tendencies, or are highly organized will give better participation, if they are given enough time to prepare for the meeting.

Plan to start and end on time – People will be less hesitant about attending your meetings if they know their time will not be abused.

What tips do you have for preparing for more effective meetings?