An Interview With Jason Roy, Building 429 & Grace Community Church

Jason Roy is the lead singer/founder of the well known, Dove Award winning Christian band Building 429. Recently Jason has a new title in addition to the lead singer role. Jason has joined us at Grace Community Church as our worship pastor. The plan is to do both. We are excited about the prospect, but this obviously raises questions in some people’s minds as to how the two will work together. Jason agreed recently to sit down and talk about his new role with me. Here is that interview:

What does “Building 429” mean?

It’s based on Ephesians 429, which says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

We wanted to take the word building from a noun to a verb and make it a challenge for the way we live our life so that any person that hears our music or buys our products becomes more Christ-like in everything they do and say.

Talk for a minute about your heart for Grace. What attracts you to this particular church?

Since day one, my wife and I were looking for a church where we could be a part of and raise our family when we are home. We were wanting pastors that both challenge the people, but live transparent lives in front of their people was important to us. We wanted a church that would be the hands and feet of Jesus, which we found through Operation Serve and other ministries of Grace. (Cortni, Jason’s wife was a huge part of bringing Operation Serve to the church.)

How will this relationship work? Will Building 429 continue?

Building 429 will continue. We are blessed to be in a position where we can slow down some and choose the dates we put on our calendar. I have felt strongly that from a ministry perspective there was a piece of my heart that was not fully developed on the road. That missing piece is the ability to connect and develop long-term and lasting relationships. I desire to invest in other worshipping musicians and allow to invest in me. In this type of situation, it appears that both sides of my life will compliment and help strengthen each other. I’m a worshipper at heart, but will be able to continue to write songs and lead a band when not at Grace. It’s a great partnership.

I would want people to understand that both of these are still exciting opportunities for me. I believe Building 429 still has incredible opportunities to minister to people. I know God continues to challenge me to write new songs of worship. Without a doubt God is using Grace Community Church in this community and region. I’m excited to see how God has me in the middle of such incredible work in each of these areas.

What will your role be at Grace?

I am the worship pastor, leading, guiding and directing the worship aspect of the church. I will be responsible for developing new leaders in the ministry within the church body. I will also be a team member with the rest of the amazing Grace staff.

How did this change come about in your life?

I have spent the last 2 to 3 years wondering if God was calling me to a position at the local church level, always saying internally that Grace was the perfect scenario for a home for me, never knowing if it would even work. God has opened a huge door of opportunity for me that creates opportunities for Building 429, Grace Community Church and me. I’m humbled once again at God’s plan, which are always bigger and better than I could have scripted.

Why do this now?

Another point in this whole process is that not only is my heart’s desire being fulfilled, by my family has the opportunity to be home more and stop always living on a tour bus. We finally feel that we are home…my family needed that.

What does worship mean to you?

I’m sure there is a better definition of this, but for me worship happens when you forget about yourself and recognize more about God in that moment. You can put that in the context of a worship service, where a person recognizes that I don’t care about myself or my struggles; I just care about God, or you can put that in terms of a work situation, where a person says, “None of this matters except for me bringing glory to God.” When self disappears and the image of oneself disappears and God’s purpose, design and plan becomes the most important thing, that’s worship.

When I walk onto a stage to lead in worship, it’s the one time in my life where I truly give up all my personal desires and simply desire to help people and me encounter the living God. That’s a pretty awesome opportunity.

We are excited to have Jason more often at Grace Community Church. Welcome to the team!

10 Questions With Leader Geoff Surratt (Seacoast Church)

Geoff Surratt is part of the church famous Surratt brothers of Seacoast Church. I have had to the privilege of meeting several of them and I am always impressed with their passion for ministry. I sat in a breakout at a conference where Geoff spoke last year. He’s funny, witty, and smart. His latest book, Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches from Growing, is a frank and honest book that identifies the most common mistakes pastors make. You can follow Geoff on Twitter also.

Here are 10 questions with leader Geoff Surratt:

When you were growing up, is this what you thought you would be doing vocationally? If not, what did you want to do?

I wanted to be a lawyer. They drove big cars, wore expensive suits and were paid to argue with people. It seemed like a great way to make a living. Now I drive an old car, wear old clothes and pray for people. Almost the same.

What’s the most different job you’ve had from what you are doing now and how did that job help you with what you are doing now?

In college I worked in the toy/lawn and garden/bathroom fixture department at Montgomery Wards. (The fact they Montgomery Wards thought those three departments went together might help explain why they went out of business) My job was to put together swing sets, barbeque grills and gas fireplaces while running the cash register. That job has helped me appreciate how difficult it can be to find meaning in your day to day work.

Who is one person, besides Christ, who most helped to shape your leadership and how did they help you?

I’d love to say St Augustine, Ghandi and Spurgeon; but the biggest influence on my leadership has been John Maxwell. His book Developing the Leader Within opened my eyes for the first time to intentional leadership development.

Besides the Bible, what is one book that has most helped to shape your thought process in life and ministry?

It’s tough to narrow it down to one book because it is a continual process. How about if I give three? Honest to God by Bill Hybels, The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg and The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard.

What are three words other people would use to describe your work style/ethic?

Spectacular, breath-taking, humble

What is your greatest strength in leadership?

I love to peek around the corner and figure out what is next

What is your greatest weakness in leadership?

I find my greatest weakness is caring too much (ala Michael Scott). Actually I am not great at one-on-one mentoring. I have always adhered to the sink or swim philosophy which seems to be going out of vogue.

What is the hardest thing you have to do in leadership?

Bringing correction. I want everyone to like me and for all of us to just get along, but course correction is probably the second most important task I have as a leader. (Buying Starbucks for my team is obviously the most important task. That and encouragement. Maybe they are the same thing. Hmmm. What was the question again?)

What is one misconception about your position you think people in your church may have?

Some very misguided think that I am older than our senior pastor, my brother Greg Surratt. I am much younger. (And better looking)

If you could give one piece of advice to young leaders from what you’ve learned by experience, what would it be?

Find as many wise mentors in your life as possible. Some mentors you may never meet, but they can mentor from afar. I have mentors in leadership, spiritual growth, business, family life, personal growth. Surround yourself with wise council and you will find the right path.

Thanks Geoff for the look into your leadership life.

Are you enjoying these interviews? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Guest Post: Cheryl Edmondson (“Just” a Pastor’s wife?)

Karen on our staff has been asking Cheryl to do a guest post for the Grace Community Church website for months and she finally agreed. She chose the title “Who me – a pastor’s wife?”. Let me say that I believe one of the most important jobs in the church is that of the pastor’s wife. I’m thankful I have such a good one. For more of my thoughts on Cheryl, click HERE or if you want to know how to honor a pastor’s wife, click HERE.

This is what Cheryl wrote:

Who me – a pastor’s wife??


Who me – a pastor’s wife???

After numerous requests to do a Guest Blog for Grace, I realized I had resisted as long as I could. It may be because there are so many great bloggers living at my house that I feel so intimidated at just the thought of trying.

The thought that kept going through my mind was what do I have to say that anybody would WANT to read? I feel God told me to just take this opportunity to share a little about myself….Ron’s wife … a mom to Jeremy (21) and Nate (18) … a daughter … a sister …. a friend …. a co-worker (again) … most importantly a follower of Jesus Christ and oh yeah – a pastor’s wife.

I am Cheryl Edmondson and the proud wife of Ron, who is one of the amazing co-pastors of Grace Community Church and together we have two awesome sons. I was born in Clarksville to J F and Earlene Burney and except for four years in Tuscaloosa, AL (Roll Tide!!) while my dad received his doctorate and my mother her undergraduate degree – I have lived in Clarksville all my life. I have two older brothers (Mike & Steve) and one younger sister (Laurie). I recently lost my dad due to several health issues. I was a “daddy’s girl” and miss him very much!!

I am blessed with more friends than I can count. I have been reminded lately during the time of my dad’s death and then again today as I attended the funeral of a longtime friend – how precious friendships are. There is a childhood poem that I was reminded of today – “make new friends, but keep the old ones…one is silver, but the other gold.” During both these times, I saw friends that I had not seen for years. Friends that I was very close to at one time …. But you know what? Our hearts were still connected when we saw each other again …. My biggest regret was that I had let so much time pass without spending time with these friends. That I had allowed myself to get too busy …. But we all do that – don’t we? Yes, what a sweet reminder of how precious our friends truly are.

My degree is in accounting and I have been employed in several positions over the years from the electric company to co-owning a small manufacturing company with Ron to working on a church staff to public accounting. After a short break from the working world, I have recently accepted a part-time position at Hope Pregnancy Center as Administrative Director. My passion is to do ministry and for as long as God allows me to work part-time – I pray that He will allow me to do ministry at HPC, but also be more flexible to do ministry for GCC.

Oh yes, the one I keep forgetting – I am a pastor’s wife!! It is the one I have to keep reminding myself of probably because it is the one I feel the least worthy to be. I’m just a regular person …. I have good days and bad days …. I make lots of mistakes …. I don’t read my Bible as much as I want to …. BUT I love Sundays!! My passion is to see others growing in their relationship with Christ!! I love it when God allows me to use things from my past to minister to others!!! (2 Cor 1:3-7) But I don’t have to be a pastor’s wife to do any of these. I loved these same things before Ron was called to vocational ministry. Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time remembering that I am one ….

And yes – I am a follower of Jesus. I am so thankful for the amazing grace that God has poured out on my life. I became a Christian well into adulthood and regret all the wasted years. That’s why I am so thankful that God allows me to be a part of Grace Community Church and see the lives that He is changing in and through the various ministries… I pray that as long as I live God will use me to point others to the saving grace of my Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ!!!

That’s who I am …. a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend … follower of Christ … and … oh yeah … a pastor’s wife.

Only by HIS grace,



Planning for Sustainment Within an Organization

Yesterday I started a conversation about ministry evaluation. I was making the point that because of the rapid growth we have experienced at Grace Community Church the last 4 and half years, we may not know it if there were problems within our structure. (You can read and discuss the content of that post HERE. You probably need to read that post to understand this one.)

I think where I have landed, at least for now, is that bigger than the issue of evaluation, is the issue of continuance. The fact is that I really do believe growth is occurring in individual lives, not just in the total numbers of people. We are accomplishing our objective to “make growing disciples of Jesus Christ”. I still want to consider ways to validate that belief, and I have some ideas I’m working on there, but the key word for me now is sustainability. I want us to be able to continue doing what we’ve been doing.

This week I emailed the staff this question:

If you were to disappear, how would your ministry continue to thrive at the level it is thriving today, and even improve? What is your plan for sustainment?

My first thoughts are that as the church continues to grow we may need to learn to:

  • Delegate faster – To spread the workload
  • Broaden our information base – Get more ideas on the table…more thinkers.
  • Take even greater risks – in people and resources…
  • Prepare more leaders – Through leadership development in the church, not just among the staff.

These are just initial thoughts. It takes me weeks to work through thoughts most times. I will encourage us to discuss these thoughts as a staff in the weeks to come. Thankfully, we have an amazing team of leaders and they are better thinkers than me most days. My personal goal is to see that the energy, vision, and momentum they have brought to our church continues.

What do you think? Do you see the issues here for us as a relatively new, fast-growing organization? I would love your input. What thoughts does yesterday’s and today’s posts trigger about your organization?

How does your church or organization plan for sustainment? Or does it?

10 Questions with Leader Carlos Whittaker/LosWhit (Soul City Church)

Carlos Whittaker is one of the most creative and inspiring leaders in today’s church culture. Carlos also has one of the most read blogs among Christians. Carlos is an architect of visions and his current work is with the launch this Spring of Soul City Church in Chicago. (I wrote about Soul City’s Jarrett Stevens HERE.) You can follow LosWhit on Twitter HERE. His newest musical work has been at the top of iTunes since it was released a week ago. Listen and buy HERE.

Here are 10 questions with Carlos Whittaker.

1. When you were growing up, is this what you thought you would be doing vocationally? If not, what did you want to do?

Nope, wanted to play for the Falcons baby!

2. What’s the most different job you’ve had from what you are doing now and how did that job help you with what you are doing now?

I was a roller skate prepare man, Patience.

3. Who is one person, besides Christ, who most helped to shape your leadership and how did they help you?

-My dad, he’s my dad!

4. Besides the Bible, what is one book that has most helped to shape your thought process in life and ministry?

– Crucial Conversations… It was a hard read. Very boring, but has changed me and how I speak to people.

5. What are three words other people would use to describe your work style/ethic?

-Creative, last minute, intense

6. What is your greatest strength in leadership?

-I can connect to people

7. What is your greatest weakness in leadership?


8. What is the hardest thing you have to do in leadership?

Say no

9. What is one misconception about your position you think people in your church may have?

That we are perfect

10. If you could give one piece of advice to young leaders from what you’ve learned by experience, what would it be?

Don’t try to imitate another leader style, as much as finding your true leadership style.

Thanks again for following these interviews. Comments are appreciated and will keep me searching for more.

Catalyst One Day Chicago: Will I See You There?

I believe strongly that organizations grow best when they are teachable; open to insight from other leaders. One of the best resources to help our team grow has been the annual Catalyst Conferences. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend with our team in Atlanta this year. That’s why I’m so excited about the opportunity of a Catalyst One Day Conference in Chicago. It takes place March 25th, 2010, at Willow Creek Community Church. Featuring powerful messages from Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley, including a candid conversation between the two on stage, this promises to be an amazingly helpful day.

The focus of the day is MOMENTUM. What is it? Why is it important? How do you get it? How do you keep it? Best prices can be obtained by January 28th, so act now.

Watch the video preview then click HERE for more information or HERE to register you and/or your team.

Will I see you there?

Catalyst One Day from Catalyst on Vimeo.

10 Questions with Leader Jarrett Stevens (Soul City Church)

I have only recently started following Jarrett Stevens closely, but I am instantly inspired by his vision. Jarrett has a pedigree resume, having served in key roles at Willow Creek Church and North Point Church. He is the author of The Deity Formerly Known as God. The part of his story that inspires me the most is his current venture. Jarrett and his wife Jeanne are leaving the comfort of the mega church to launch Soul City Church in Chicago. It is one of the most publicized and talked about starts of a church of which I have been aware.

I am curious on the front end of this planting experience to learn more about how Jarrett thinks, so here are my 10 questions with Jarrett Stevens:

1. When you were growing up, is this what you thought you would be doing vocationally? If not, what did you want to do?
No. For the longest time I wanted to be a Christian Stunt Man (this is sadly too true to be funny or ironic). I wanted to be a light to those in the Action Stunt Industry. Once that dream faded, I thought for sure that I would be a Third Grade School Teacher.

2. What’s the most different job you’ve had from what you are doing now and how did that job help you with what you are doing now?
Pizza Delivery Guy, or as I like to call it – Domestic Food Export Industry. It taught me that I love serving people and playing a small role in their joy. It also taught me how to drive stick.

3. Who is one person, besides Christ, who most helped to shape your leadership and how did they help you?
Sheryl Fleischer. She was a Spiritual Mentor who shaped my leadership by dissecting, dismantling, and slowly rebuilding my soul. I didn’t learn a single leadership principle from her in the three years that we met. But I would not be the leader I am today without her.

4. Besides the Bible, what is one book that has most helped to shape your thought process in life and ministry?
Just One? Not possible.
Moments with the Savior – Ken Gire
Inner Voice of Love – Henir Nouwen
War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Good to Great – Jim Collins
Signature of Jesus – Brennan Manning
Rise of the Creative Class / Who’s your City – Richard Florida
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scezaro

5. What are three words other people would use to describe your work style/ethic?

6. What is your greatest strength in leadership?

7. What is your greatest weakness in leadership?
Intentional Thorough Follow Through

8. What is the hardest thing you have to do in leadership?
Submit myself fully to God and live from His love and approval.

9. What is one misconception about your position you think people in your church may have?
That I’m the only Lead Pastor

10. If you could give one piece of advice to young leaders from what you’ve learned by experience, what would it be?
That Christian Culture is a tiny bubble in light of a world filled God’s love and acceptance and millions of people who desperately need it. Seek first the kingdom of God in every corner and crevasse of your life and in this world and settle for nothing less.

Jarrett has a huge vision. I look forward to following him in the years to come.

You can read the other interviews in this series in the links below this post. (For those reading this in a reader or email, please go to the website for more.)

Are you enjoying these interviews? Who should I interview next?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Legacy as a Pastor

Today we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The impact he had on society is plentiful, but, as a fellow preacher, I love that Dr. King made a difference at city hall, yet he never left his calling as a pastor. That passion encourages me to use my influence as a minister wisely.

Watch the famous I Have A Dream speech again and listen for the following Scriptures. Dr. King’s dream was based on the passion King had for the Gospel of Christ.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…Isaiah 40:4-5 KJV

But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Amos 5:24

Pastors, how are you using your influence to shape culture?

Creating a Church Marketing Plan


Do churches need a marketing plan? I realize even using business language bothers some church people, but personally, I think we need to learn to better market our message. Earlier I posted the need for the church to market like the local grocer does (Read that post HERE), but we also need a comprehensive marketing plan. We are trying to tell people our story about the love of a God they do not know in a way that captures their attention, when many times they don’t even care to listen. Sounds to me like we need a plan.

Here are a few steps to creating a church marketing plan:

Define your target market – Whom are you trying to reach as a church? You can’t reach everyone. Our church will not appeal to some, but we have to know the group of people to whom we will try to appeal.

Learn the market – Once you know whom you are trying to reach, learn everything you can about those people. A church needs to understand the culture, language, interests and desires of the people it is trying to reach.

Identify your competition – You need to know what has the people’s attention you are trying to reach. (Just so I’m clear on this one….it’s not other churches!)  This is important because again, they are not necessarily listening and you are competing for their attention against a crowded world of noise and activity.

Plan strategy – The next step is to develop a plan to market yourself to the people you are trying to reach. That could include advertising, social media, websites, etc. For us, our major marketing strategy is our people speaking on our behalf to people they know, but we need to consistently remind them to do so and encourage them to be in the community where the people we are trying to reach are located.

Evaluate your plan – Any good plan includes evaluation. Consider what is working to reach your target market and what isn’t working. Make changes as needed.

Do you have a marketing plan for your church? What would you add to my list above?

The Part Of Delegation Most Leaders Neglect

Part of growing an organization is delegating, or getting more people involved in the process of accomplishing the overall goals and objectives of the organization. It cannot be overemphasized that if you want to grow the organization, you must learn to delegate. The part of delegation, however, that many leaders have the hardest time doing is letting go of his or her right to control the work being delegated.

Keep this in mind as you delegate responsibilities to others:

  • The work may not happen exactly when you want it to…
  • The work may not be done exactly as you would have done it…
  • The work may not look exactly as you had envisioned it looking…

If the person you delegate to understands and believes in the overall vision and is willing to carry the project through to completion, letting go of your right to control the outcome of the project may be necessary for delegation to occur.

The best leaders realize he or she can never accomplish everything personally, so he or she is willing to delegate. Ultimately though, there is no delegation without some release of ownership.

For a similar post on this topic, click HERE.