Episode 038: A Conversation with Clayton King

For this conversation, we sit down with Clayton King and discuss the leadership structure of Newspring Church and the value of healthy confrontation.

 

 

http://www.essentialchurchconference.com/

 

We have lead pastors, teaching pastors, and campus pastors… each one of our campuses has a campus pastor who handles the day-in and day-out and preaches occasionally…

 

Our lead pastors—there are four: a pastor of culture and vision, a pastor of ministries, a pastor of finances and facilities, and a pastor of campuses—serve together in a lead pastor role…

 

Then we have three teaching pastors who preach and teach and create the series’ we’re going to go through…

 

The team approach is a beautiful thing for us because it forces us to submit our egos to the Holy Spirit; you can’t hide from ego in that kind of space…

 

The system is important, but it’s really the goodness of the people that makes the system work…

 

There’s nothing like personal integrity… it is indispensable… for us, what we’ve learned is that the Holy Spirit wants to bring unity… and while there isn’t a model prescribed in Scripture, there are some bedrock principles…

 

One of the decisions we made after our change was that we were going to quit reporting our numbers… we wanted to be more focused on discipling and shepherding our people… We changed the culture so that our pastors and shepherds were part of the family…

 

We’re also more open to the Holy Spirit… his presence and gifts… we’ve sensed a fresh wind and fire, a revival, where we’re seeing people healed at our gatherings, where we’re praying over and for people and sharing prophetic words…

 

We are not telling people “This is the only way to do church”; we are saying, “This is what the Holy Spirit has told us to do…”

 

Every church has opportunities to make changes… and we should seize those opportunities… but don’t make them quickly or out of panic… don’t get in a hurry… slow down, take your time, and labor before the Lord… and God’s church will prevail…

 

When you embrace healthy confrontation, while it is hard in the beginning, eventually it becomes normal… once an ego has been exposed, bruised, and then recovers, as a team we’re less likely to get hurt or take offense… it’s a maturing process…

 

http://www.claytonking.com/

Episode 034: Reflections on Willow Creek

For this conversation, we discuss the situation at Willow Creek and how this should cause us to reflect and pay attention in a deeper way.

 

This situation should cause us to reflect and pay attention in a deeper way…

 

There are three groups of people here: the victims, the congregation, and Bill and the leadership—it’s important to separate those groups of people, and each group needs special attention…

 

But it starts first with those who were violated… those victims need to be listened to and given every opportunity to heal… they need our primary attention…

 

The first thing the new leadership must do is re-establish trust and credibility, or they won’t be able to help anyone… they need to slow down and simplify…

 

At New Life [after our crises], we cleared our calendars, stopped doing outside events, and became a church family again… for us, it was about prayer, worship, Scripture, and sacraments…

 

What I would say to Willow Creek is that you don’t know how hurt you are right now… take some time, take a deep breath, and do a full evaluation before you move ahead…

 

There are some systemic problems in the American church culture… number one: pastors are not designed or called by God to be celebrities… the moment we embrace a celebrity culture in the church we are headed for a train wreck… it has to stop…

 

We have a lot of orphans that are leading churches who haven’t learned how to be sons and daughters… you can’t be a mom or a dad before you’ve been a son or a daughter… in the church, we’ve skipped this step…

 

If your first thought is “We have to protect the church” you are in huge error… the call is not to protect the institution but to help people get healed… Jesus was not interested in guarding the religious institutions of his day, he was interested in bringing healing… if it cost the institution, then so be it…

 

If you think about the parable of the lost sheep, the 99 represented the economic good of the shepherd… Jesus was willing to risk the institution of the 99 for the sake of the one… if Jesus is the Head of the church, he is capable of sustaining the church when there is bad news…

 

The Lord brought Willow into existence and he is going to bring it back to a place of fruitfulness, so let’s pray and speak blessing over them…

Episode 033: Drawing the Best Out of Your Team

For this conversation, we were joined by Ted Egly from the Center for Creative Leadership to talk about what leaders can do to get the best out of the teams and organizations they lead.

 

The research says that a high-performing team has three things: they celebrate wins early, they slow down in order to power up, and they are willing to change…

 

In my experience, the celebrations that are most powerful are the ones that affirm or encourage those who are actually moving the mission forward…

 

This really means that pastors have to be mindful of what is happening in their ministries… sometimes when the church gets to a certain size, ministry leaders lose a sense of what is going on…

 

We need to give ourselves white space [in our schedules] to slow down in order to be more intentional about what we’re doing…

 

Routines and rituals are all about being intentional about the script that you’re writing for your week, month, and year… you need to set them up so that you’re not just pulled by the emergency of the day…

 

I tell pastors all the time that if they’re preaching every Sunday, it’s a mistake… it’s hard to be creative that often… I use my weeks off to do exactly what we’re talking about: planning, leadership development, etc.…

 

We’re married to the mission, but we date the model… the model is going to change… sometimes we get stuck in a model that used to work…

 

The pain of staying the same has to be greater [for you] than the pain of changing… pastors need to make assess whether the pain that comes from change is worth it… a lot of times for pastors, the perceived pain is greater than the actual pain of the change… usually, it brings relief to the organization…

 

We can prepare people for the changes that are coming by having the conversation early with a core group of influencers and letting them speak into the process…

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • Assess yourself: which of Ted’s three elements of a high-performing team do you think you and your team are best at? Why did you give that answer?
  • Which of the three do you need the most improvement at? Why do you think that?
  • What is one thing you can begin to do this week or month that will help your team perform at a higher level?

Episode 023: Spiritual Authority

Spiritual Authority is a significant biblical concept that recognizes that God sends people into our lives to speak to us and guide us. In this essential conversation, we talk about the importance of spiritual authority, why people don’t accept it, and how, when it is done right, it can be a beautiful gift.

 

Episode 023 – SHOW NOTES – Spiritual Authority

 

Spiritual authority is an awareness that God has placed people in my life to help guide me to the place that the Lord has directed me… It is because of the frailty of human life that we need people around us to help us see our blind spots…

 

We have created an entire generation of consumer believers who come to church because it’s convenient or feels good, but the moment someone begins speaking directly to them, they flee to the next church down the street… this has damaged the message of the gospel…

 

You only have as much authority as you are willing to submit to… everyone wants to be in charge… but delegated spiritual authority is given to us when we are found trustworthy by the Lord… he can’t trust us with leadership if we aren’t willing to serve our way into it…

 

Jesus was constantly telling his disciples: do not fight your way to the top, don’t demand to be in charge, don’t demand the spotlight… if you want to be great, you must serve your way there…

 

If people are talking more about the person who preached the sermon than on the Christ that was preached in the sermon, you need to flee and go to another place… there is a cult of personality happening in the church now that is hurting us… it’s a sign that the leaders of that church are probably not submitted to healthy, biblical authority…

 

The only way you know whether you are really submitted to authority is if someone can tell you “no”… I have some great mentors in my life, and if any of them told me not to do something, I would hit the brakes… if my wife said to me about something “Don’t do it,” I wouldn’t…

 

The three areas we need input and oversight are: your personal life, your theology, and your money/spending (both inside the church and in your house)…

 

A lot of leaders fall into this trap of being “the God expert,” and so they don’t feel like they have permission to question or doubt or wrestle with the deep, troubling questions of Scripture… pastors need people to bounce [theological/interpretive] ideas off of…

 

The way we spend our money reflects our hearts… pastors are notorious for saying this to their congregations, but often we ask it of ourselves because we don’t have anyone challenging us on it…

 

The devil works in the silences, and when you can invite trusted, wise counselors into the silences, the enemy’s power is broken off of us…

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • Does your church have a healthy culture of spiritual authority?
  • Do you have people who can tell you “no”? Who are they?
  • Which of the three areas of accountability discussed in the podcast are most difficult for you? How can you grow in that area?

Episode 021: Healthy Transitions

Transition is something that every church staff will experience. What matters is how those transitions take place. In this conversation, we discuss how to facilitate and enact healthy transitions.

 

Transitions can be beautiful if we’ll embrace them… when I arrived at New Life, I arrived in a healthy condition [because of how I was sent]…

 

A lot of times, transitions get messy when people arrive with a predetermined future… but when you come openhanded, you give people a chance to send you into the next place…

 

No one should be punished for exploring other opportunities… if you’re a senior pastor, you have to lead the way in this way…

 

I have found that the greatest joy I have as a leader is finding out what’s going on in the hearts of the people on my team… I want to call that out so that it manifests for the greater good…

 

If you bring up the fact that you’re thinking about a transition [to your leadership], you’ll be able to transition in a healthy way, or you’ll see that your desire for transition was actually a little bit of boredom and you’ll grow more fond of the ministry you’re doing…

 

It’s important not to stay around too long; once your heart has left an organization, you’re not going to give your best… so agree on a timeline that’s good for you and for the team…

 

The onus is on the leader to create a safe environment for people to share their hearts; the onus is on the young leaders to respect and honor…

 

The church is known more for its divorces than its marriages… in the case of Gateway and New Life, it was more like a wedding… Gateway felt it wasn’t losing a staff member but gaining a family of people in Colorado… 10 and a half years later, I still go back there to speak…

 

When I am willing to send out good leaders, I am sent good leaders… the same way we teach about generosity with resources and time, we need to be generous with leaders…

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • Is your culture one in which an emerging leader would feel empowered to share about their desire for transition? Why or why not?
  • Are you regularly checking in with members of your team to see whether they are thriving in their current roles? Why or why not?
  • What can you do to create an environment where the emergence of leadership gifts and callings is not threatening but celebrated?

Episode 020: Hiring and Firing

In this conversation, we talk about what we’ve learned about hiring well and how to navigate firing people well, too. Maybe you’re leading a church staff and facing a big decision regarding staffing, or perhaps you’re curious about how a church staff might handle a staffing issue at your church. We hope that this conversation leads to greater health and trust among the staff at your church.

You hire people for where you’re going not where you are… many pastors hire out of a panicked need or a felt burden right in front of them… most of the time, when I’ve hired people from that place, I’ve regretted it…

 

You’re looking for people who can train others… if you want to use the Jesus model, the people that Jesus called close to him were able to multiply others…

 

I have found that character, chemistry, and competency are a good litmus test for the people you are looking to hire… Chemistry is the tricky one… I want to work with friends, with people that I like… when you are shoulder to shoulder doing the hard work of ministry, it is almost impossible to do it with people that you don’t like…

 

We’re not promoting tribalism here… we want diversity… but at the end of the day, we have to enjoy being with one another, even if you look and think differently from one another… the relationship has to be good for both parties…

 

The hardest person to fire in the local church is the guy with high character, who everyone loves, who is just terrible at his job…

 

Don’t keep people in a place where they are not going to flourish… I owe it to them and to the congregation to steward the relationship well…

 

If we remember that people belong to the Lord, then “endings” can be “sendings” where people transition to new opportunities in godly ways…

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • Do you tend to hire for where you are going, or where you are? Why? How can you adapt your philosophy of hiring?
  • What criteria do you use in your hiring process? What from this podcast challenged you in that regard?
  • Are you stewarding people’s lives and the culture of your team and church well? How can you improve this through your hiring and firing practices?

 

 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

Necessary Endings” by Dr. Henry Cloud.

Episode 014: Avoiding Cynicism in Ministry

As leaders in the local church, we inevitably encounter criticism from within our congregations and from the outside world. In this week’s conversation, we talk about some ways of addressing this criticism in a Godly way, as well as some ways to protect ourselves from encountering criticism unnecessarily.

 

Episode 014 – Avoiding Cynicism in Ministry – SHOW NOTES

 

There is an ounce of truth in every pound of criticism…I’ve learned over the years that if I keep hearing consistent criticism…there’s probably some truth in it…

 

The vocation we have chosen opens us up to a lot of criticism…pastors need to find a group of trusted friends [to help them discern the truth]…

 

Social media is a modern calamity for pastors…it gives people the ability to immediately criticize and vocalize their discontent…

 

One of the things I’ve learned is that there are certain times in my week when I need to shut down social media…pastors need to be disciplined to stay away from the vitriol of social media…

 

There’s a time to be a shepherd of the sheep…I do not respond to personal attacks out of the pulpit, but I will get up and defend the church…

 

Find the truth in every part of criticism, don’t immediately dismiss it; surround yourself with life-giving people; and honor the Sabbath, make sure you are completely filled up with the presence of Jesus when you get up to preach…

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • How are you doing with responding to criticism?
  • Who are your trusted friends who can help you discern the truth in criticism?
  • When are you most vulnerable to criticism? What can you do to become more disciplined?

Episode 011: The Church and Race

For this week’s podcast, we’re joined by Pastor Derwin Gray of Transformation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina for a conversation on race, diversity, and leading multiethnic churches.
 

 

Episode 011 – SHOW NOTES – Derwin Gray – The Church and Race

 

We believe that the church is God’s primary vehicle to transform the world, and for us, being multiethnic is intrinsic to the Gospel…

 

Theology is for ecclesiology… God wants a family… and this message isn’t preached… we’ve stripped the Bible of its context and we wonder why we struggle with discipleship…

 

A homogenous church would have been unthinkable to the Apostle Paul… God’s fulfilling his covenant with Abraham must be a front burner issue or we are going to have an underdeveloped view of the gospel…

 

When racism is rarely preached in a church, you can believe that a lot of racism is [present] in that church…

 

I have a pretty good name in Charlotte, and I thought, “If I get treated this way, imagine how people who don’t have my privilege will get treated, constantly…”

 

I think the church is the answer… our Sermon on the Mount ethic needs to shape how we live and move and breathe…

 

We as the church must become a classroom to teach the world what love looks like…

 

Here’s the thing: we haven’t been taught how to do this… we need churches that know how to do this to teach other churches how to do it…

 

You can’t cultivate a multiethnic church if you don’t lead a multiethnic life…

 

You can’t be a consumer and play on a team, but you can be a consumer and be in the church… in the church we’re actually designing our services for you to consume, and so no wonder we struggle with it!

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • Do you believe that the gospel speaks to racial issues? Why or why not?
  • Is your church homogeneous? Why?
  • What can you and your church do to begin to move towards a greater engagement with racial issues and greater ethnic diversity?

 

 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

Derwin Gray – The HD Leader

Episode 010: Lessons from 10 Years Pt. 2

We’re picking up where we left off last week and continuing a conversation about the lessons learned from Pastor Brady’s ten years of ministry at New Life Church. Our hope is that these lessons would resonate with and encourage you.

 

SHOW NOTES – 010 – Lessons from 10 Years Pt 2

 

For your young leaders, serve your way into relationship… a lot of mentoring happens when you’re just present…

 

Millennials tend to have this idea of what a mentoring relationship needs to look like, that it has to be perfect and romantic and ideal… I would say just serve and be present and along the way you’ll find the relationships evolve…

 

The question is: who do you want to be like, and will you chase them?

 

Chase character and not charisma… oftentimes charisma on the stage is misleading… so find someone whose character outweighs their charisma…

 

It doesn’t have to be a famous pastor… it doesn’t even have to be a pastor… there are people all around you [who can help you]… it’s about having the eyes to see and the guts to ask…

 

If I don’t pastor my own home, I don’t have the right to pastor the church…

 

We have to honor the Sabbath every week, and that’s different than a day off… a day off is when I mow my yard and get the oil changed… but a Sabbath is when I return to my sonship… Sabbath is when I wake up as a child and let God be Father to me all day long…

 

Your year needs to include Sundays where you know you shouldn’t preach, and it needs to include an extended vacation… I don’t care what size the church is, you need more than one week off at a time…

 

 

Questions for you and your team

  • How can you be more proactive about pursuing mentoring relationships?
  • Do you have people in your life who you want to be like? What can you do to chase them?
  • How are you doing at honoring the Sabbath?
  • What would it look like for you to plan your year in a healthier way?

 

 

Recommended Resource

Abraham Joshua Heschel – The Sabbath

Episode 009: Lessons from 10 Years Pt. 1

Pastor Brady recently celebrated ten years of leading New Life Church as the Senior Pastor. In this episode, we looked back on the past decade and talk about the lessons learned. We hope that these lessons will apply to your ministry and will help strengthen your churches.

 

 

Along with listening to this podcast, check out this recent article from Outreach Magazine that tells the miracle stories of the last ten years at New Life Church.

Episode 009 SHOW NOTES – Ten Years, Ten Lessons

 

There were three things that allowed New Life to survive and thrive… we had a culture of worship, a culture of prayer, and a deep sense of community… if you have spent your time teaching the church to connect deeply with God and deeply with one another, you can weather almost any storm…

 

The hard thing here was winning trust… you can’t spend trust you don’t have and there’s only one way to earn trust: doing the right thing for the right reason for a long time…

 

There are three groups that every pastor speaks to every Sunday: the people that trust you, the people that want to trust you but with time, and the people who will not trust you no matter what you do…

 

Pastors need to be aware that we are facing an increasingly cynical public…

 

The congregation pays attention to how you treat each other… the first test of a pastor’s leadership is how he treats his team…

 

One of the best pieces of advice I got was that our church didn’t need a prophet but a pastor… let them heal and then they’ll follow you to the next place…

 

For pastors, especially of growing churches, it’s easy to get out of the rhythm of actually living with the people you’re working with… over time, pastors that choose that path will wake up one day and discover their values are not being embraced or carried out, and that they’re surrounded not by friends but by strangers…

 

I did not realize how much I was going to need to pray over this thing, and how much I would need spiritual fathers and mothers around me…

 

The most successful pastors I’ve ever been around have been those who have not lost their passion for prayer…

 

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • How can you build the kind of culture now in your church that can withstand the storms?
  • What are you doing to earn the trust of your congregation?
  • Does your team reflect the sense of community and friendship you want to see across your congregation? Why or why not?