Archives For 10Q Interviews

10Q with Dave Gibbons of Newsong Church

Kent Shaffer —  April 22, 2009

10Q with Dave Gibbons

Dave Gibbons is the senior pastor of Newsong Church, an international multi-site church with 8 campuses located in California, Texas, Mexico, United Kingdom, India, and Thailand. He is an entrepreneur and owns YangDang and Xealot. And he is the author of The Monkey and the Fish.


Year Began: 1994
Locations: 8 Campuses – Irvine, CA / Culver, CA / Fullerton, CA / Dallas, TX / Mexico / London / India / Bangkok


1Q = What is Newsong Church’s chain of command from the senior pastor to the church volunteers?

The Leadership Team comprised of both volunteer leaders who represent the congregation and support staff guide the church but all under the submission to the Holy Spirit. The congregation affirms major decisions.

2Q = For big decisions, what is Newsong Church’s decision making process?

Depends. The big decisions can originate from our members or from the leaders of the church. But eventually, there is affirmation with Leadership teams, Management teams and the congregation.

3Q = How does Newsong Church market itself?

Mostly word of mouth and via technology.

4Q = What is the most effective thing Newsong Church has done to reach people?

Created an ethos that is dependent upon the Holy Spirit and empowers the people to be the front line of God’s movements locally and globally.

5Q = What is your leadership style?

Intuitive and collaborative.

6Q = Your book, The Monkey and the Fish, discusses third culture. What is it?

Third culture in a word is Adaptation. In two words, Painful Adaptation. The longer definition is “the mindset and will to love, learn and serve in any culture even in the midst of pain and discomfort.”
A short view of this can be found at

7Q = What is a Third-Culture Church?

It’s a church that is able to flow with the Holy Spirit, choosing to live out the two great purposes of the church: Loving God and Loving Her Neighbor. The Neighbor though being someone NOT like you even someone you would hate or not want to forgive. It’s a church that chooses obedience over passion  as well as radical sacrifice over comfort.

8Q = How can a church become a Third-Culture Church?

This process is definitely the work of the Holy Spirit! To ask people to enter into pain and suffering, eat foods they don’t like, hang out with people that make you uncomfortable is counter-cultural. I would say the key is for the one who does get it to start living out the third culture life. Personally, before the movement became church-wide, I felt God telling me I had to live it out more intentionally. So my family and I moved out to Bangkok. It starts with leadership and prayer.  As one engages real suffering and poverty, clarity emerges.

As you live out third culture, invite others with you on the journey. I still remember taking a group of friends with me on a third culture vision trip about 5 years ago. We have never been the same. The impact now goes beyond personal to people all over the world. These men embody third culture.

It’s a journey there are many other ideas contained in the book.

9Q = What is the greatest ministry lesson you have learned?

The Primary Task of a Leader is to “build trust and bear pain.”

10Q = What is the best advice you have for church leaders?

Explore the world. Listen, Observe, Ask Questions. Do it now. Then be willing to give it all away to act upon what you experience. The whole time praying, “Father, break my heart with the things that break your heart.”

Be sure to check out Church Relevance’s “10Q” category to read previous 10Q interviews.

10Q with Jeff Hook of Fellowship Technologies

Kent Shaffer —  July 16, 2008

Jeff Hook is the CEO of Fellowship Technologies, a company specializing in web-based church management software called Fellowship One.


Year Began: 2004
Active Clients: 850
Staff: 65

Originally, the Fellowship One church management software was developed for Fellowship Church (Grapevine, TX). Now, it is currently used by 32 of the top 100 largest churches in America.


1Q = What is a church management system (CMS)?

At a basic level, church management systems help churches track information about their congregations.

Traditional church management systems were primarily simple databases of attendees/members for tracking addresses and giving records. From that, modern solutions have evolved to be complete “operating platforms” for churches to not only track vital data about the members of the congregation but to also manage processes more efficiently from outreach and assimilation to event registration and check-in to online giving and group management.

As the capabilities of systems broaden, the church is able to use computers to streamline operations much the same as commercial businesses do.

2Q = What are Fellowship One’s most popular features?

The fact that we are Internet-based is a big advantage over the more traditional solutions. This allows church staff to access the information wherever and whenever they need the data using any computer that has a web-browser. As computing becomes even more mobile through devices like the Apple iPhone, this ubiquitous access will help churches provide better service to their congregation members.

Also, because Fellowship Technologies is a Software as a Service (SaaS), all of the technical heavy lifting (such as backups, upgrades, security, etc.) is performed as part of the monthly service by us. This cuts down on the technical resources the church has to hire and manage. Because we are native to the web, true integration from the database to the church’s website is relatively easy and allows the congregation more convenience in conducting church business like managing online giving, registering for a special activity, submitting questions and inquiries, as well as looking for the right small group to join and submitting a volunteer application.

Functionally, the really big draw for us is our best-of-breed check-in system that provides security for children and real time attendance tracking. This gives the staff a jump on following up on who did not attend a service to make sure they know they were missed. That is somewhat the irony – a church should track attendance not necessarily to know who attended, but who was missing; somewhat counter-intuitive. This personal care and interaction makes a big mega-church seem smaller through better customer service and follow-up.

3Q = Are there any downsides to using church management software?

  1. The biggest issue in using a robust church management system is the amount of information that can be tracked is new for some churches. But without that data, the information is not present and, thus, is not beneficial.
  2. We also see a problem in the discipline of churches in keeping their data relevant and complete.

Irrespective of the specific church management system used, a church needs to have a data strategy that helps determine what the minimum amount of information that will be capture and then how it will be maintained.

4Q = Are there any types of churches who do not work well with a church management system?

All churches need some sort of church management system, even if it is manual. In the United States, every church is required to report to the congregation their individual giving for IRS purposes. Computer systems are made to provide such reporting with ease.

5Q = What does the future hold for Fellowship One?

Fellowship One will continue to improve in both its depth and breadth of functionality.

  1. We will soon release the ability for a church to write its own reports. This is a request from a lot of our customers and will help them get information the way they want it when they want it.
  2. We are also rolling out a complete data warehouse and analytics tool for our flagship customers. This will allow church staff to slice and dice information for decision-support purposes over a set of aggregated time-based data. This will allow churches to make better decisions from real operating data. We think this is a first for the church industry.
  3. Finally, we will be releasing a new “Groups” module that will be the foundation for much of the system going forward. This will improve our ability to support small groups, yet also be foundational for website communications, social networking, and curriculum-based learning.

6Q = What are some well-known churches that use Fellowship One?

  1. Community Bible Church (San Antonio, TX)
  2. Fellowship Church (Grapevine, TX)
  3. Granger Community Church (Granger, IN)
  4. Holy Trinity Brompton (London, England)
  5. Lakewood Church (Houston, TX)
  6. Mariners Church (Irvine, CA)
  7. New Birth Missionary Baptist (Decatur, GA)
  8. New Life Church (Colorado Springs, CO)
  9. NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC)
  10. Prestonwood Baptist Church (Plano, TX)
  11. Victory Christian Center (Oklahoma City, OK)
  12. Victory Christian Center (Tulsa, OK)

7Q = What is the Dynamic Church Conference?

The Dynamic Church Conference is our annual user and developer conference where our community of users comes together for education, training and networking with other users.

Last May, we had approximately 371 church staffers come to Frisco, Texas, to learn how to use Fellowship One to its fullest. Besides just Fellowship One training, we try to expand their thinking with speakers who address where they think the church industry is going and how technology will play a role in the future of church.

8Q = In addition to Fellowship One, are there any other resources that you would recommend for churches who want to be better organized and more efficient?

There are so many good resources out there now that a church staffer can almost get overwhelmed with new ideas. I am a real proponent of a church looking at its own congregation data to help determine how best to improve. Too often, a church is trying what works at other churches instead of examining the facts about themselves. This “cookie cutter approach” fails many times and then the staff gets disheartened.

By looking at the “real” data, churches can better gauge how to serve the people within the congregation, such as asking questions like who is the typical customer, what stage of Christian walk are they in, what “services” do they need (family, marriage, health and healing, stewardship, etc.) and how is the church fulfilling those needs? If the church tries to “copy” what worked somewhere else, they may execute the plan well yet miss the mark entirely because the congregational needs are different.

9Q = I believe studying data can give us valuable insights into trends, problems, and success secrets. In all of your years of helping churches process data, are there any insights and ministry lessons that you have learned?

I definitely agree with your supposition concerning data. Two of the biggest issues in churches today are:

  1. A lack of an overall data strategy (what information to collect when and how to keep it complete and relevant)
  2. A lack of repeatable business processes that result in metrics to determine whether progress is being made

Pertaining to the first point, we see so many churches that have many duplicate or incomplete individual records within their database. Thus, when aggregated for reporting purposes, the numbers are really meaningless. It is the old computer adage: garbage in, garbage out. Sadly, many of the churches do not realize that the quality of their data is poor. Defining a strong data strategy and then having the discipline to follow through on execution would go a long way in providing better information.

To the second point, Dr. Peter Drucker, a business guru and management consultant, is attributed with saying that “you cannot improve anything that you do not measure.” Churches are notorious at tracking attendance and offerings and that’s about it. To improve results, more data points within processes need to be tracked and reported so on-going improvement can be achieved. Repeatable business processes that result in metrics will allow churches to better know whether the results of their investments in certain ministries are actually paying off for the congregant.

10Q = What is the best advice you have for church leaders?

The best advice I have for church leaders is to make change happen. Progress requires change and change requires leadership.

Too often, the administrative personnel (administrative assistants and operations) who run churches are comfortable with status quo. The only way churches are going to improve their ability to support the Christian walk of their congregation and thus grow in quality and quantity is to provide better service in meeting the “life” and “spiritual” needs of the people in the community. This has not been the mindset of the church historically, but in my opinion should be more so going forward.

To be successful, this change must be managed; driven even or the efforts will falter. Many times when we fail at change, we go back doing the same things we always have; however, expecting different results. Some people give that as the definition of insanity.

Be sure to check out Church Relevance’s “10Q” category to read previous 10Q interviews.

10Q with Kerry Shook of Fellowship of The Woodlands

Kent Shaffer —  January 7, 2008

10Q with Kerry Shook

Kerry Shook is the senior pastor of Fellowship of The Woodlands, a Texas multi-site church with 2 campuses located in The Woodlands and Atascocita. Kerry and his wife, Chris, are also the authors of One Month To Live.


Year Began: 1993
Locations: 2
Weekend Services: 8 (5 contemporary, 1 emergent, 1 traditional, & 1 Spanish)
Attendance: 15,600
Staff: 140 (100 full-time & 40 part-time) :: 1/111 attendees
Volunteers: 4,000+ :: 1/4 attendees
Primary Audiences/Lifestyles Reached: A consistent message is delivered in all services with the praise and worship varying to attract different age/cultural groups. Contemporary services are creative and seeker sensitive to reach all ages. The emergent venue is aimed at those in their 20’s. The traditional venue includes choir-based hymns that appeal to those middle-aged and older.


1Q = What values and beliefs unify Fellowship of The Woodlands’ staff and drive their performance?

Our mission statement is to help people experience Christ – rather than man’s creation of religion – so they can take the Christ Experience back to the community and the world. Our staff and church is driven by “life change.”

2Q = What is Fellowship of The Woodlands’ chain of command from the senior pastor to the church volunteers?

Senior Pastor shares his vision with our Pastoral Management Team (PMT), which is led by our Senior Executive Pastor. Members of the PMT work through associate pastors to enlist Volunteer Leaders and Volunteers. Small Groups are very important to our church — these are organized into Divisions with a Small Group Division Leader, who directs Small Group Leaders.

3Q = For big decisions, what is Fellowship of The Woodlands’ decision making process?

Senior Pastor and PMT pray and come to a consensus regarding how God is leading the church.

4Q = How does Fellowship of The Woodlands market itself?

TV commercials, direct mail, newspaper ads, Internet, websites, and word of mouth.

5Q = What is the most effective thing Fellowship of The Woodlands has done to reach people?

We provide an atmosphere of acceptance and recognize the difference between acceptance and approval. Based on this, regardless of who a person is or what they may have done, they feel the love of God and experience Christ from the moment they step on campus.

The Christ Experience is huge for us in all we do from the worship experience to the parking lot. Creative elements in each service communicate the truths of God’s Word in a fun way to penetrate the hearts and minds of those who attend or view.

6Q = What is your leadership style?

Purposeful and compassionate.

7Q = Who has influenced you the most as a leader?

My dad, Damon Shook, who has been a pastor all my life, has had the greatest influence. In addition, I have learned a great deal from Rick Warren and Bill Hybels.

8Q = What resources have had the biggest impact on how you do ministry?

Many years ago, Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church Conference helped me envision how church could be done differently and effectively to reach the unchurched. Based on this, Chris and I formed the initial vision for Fellowship of The Woodlands. Since then, we have refined the vision through a lot of reading and studying and most of all through continued prayer.

9Q = What is the greatest ministry lesson you have learned?

To always give away the ministry but never give away the leadership God has called me to.

10Q = What is the best advice you have for church leaders?

Paul’s advice to the Ephesians Elders in Acts 20:28 issues a constant challenge for me to balance my personal life, family life and church life with all the demands of ministry.

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers…” The priority, as self-serving as it sounds, is to focus on my heart first, to guard my heart for out of it flows all the issues of life. If I do this daily, most of the other things take care of themselves without too much stress.

Be sure to check out Church Relevance’s “10Q” category to read previous 10Q interviews.

10Q with Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale

Kent Shaffer —  September 17, 2007

10Q with Bob Coy

Bob Coy is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale, a Florida multi-site church with 3 campuses located in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and Plantation.


Year Began: 1985
Locations: 3
Weekend Services: 9
Attendance: 18,500
Staff: 720 :: 1/26 attendees
Volunteers: 4300 :: 1/4 attendees
Primary Audiences/Lifestyles Reached: People who’ve been broken and burned out by the empty promises of this world.


1Q = What values and beliefs unify Calvary Chapel‘s staff and drive their performance?

As a Church, we believe that it’s our mission to pick up where Jesus left off, which is the Great Commission to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Everything that we do as a ministry must meet the criteria of making disciples. If it doesn’t, then we don’t do it.

2Q = What is Calvary Chapel’s chain of command from the senior pastor to the church volunteers?

As the Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel, I’m supported by several (at this point 22) Assisting Pastors. Each of these Assisting Pastors oversees a team of support staff and key volunteers who actively implement the goals of their respective ministries. We also have a person on staff whose sole responsibility is to make sure that people who have a heart to volunteer are matched up with the ministries that would be best served by their spiritual and natural gifts.

3Q = For big decisions, what is Calvary Chapel’s decision making process?

Our leadership team firmly believes that there’s safety in the multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14), which is why all of our major decisions are taken to and made at our regularly scheduled pastoral and board meetings. If there’s difficulty in arriving at a consensus decision, then the decision is made to wait and pray until it becomes very clear which course of action we should take or not take.

4Q = How does Calvary Chapel market itself?

We want people to know that Calvary Chapel is an environment where people will be welcomed, loved, encouraged, valued, and instructed in and challenged by God’s Word. Above all, our church is a place where people can expect to find and cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

We communicate this through every creative means available to us from the latest advances in multi-media to rolling up our sleeves and meeting our community’s needs through various outreaches. We want to take advantage of the fact that we live in the information age by providing a strong virtual presence, but we also understand the importance of keeping things relational.

5Q = What is the most effective thing Calvary Chapel has done to reach people?

Generally speaking, preaching Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2), but specifically, we’ve experienced an exponential impact on our community through our Christmas Eve and Easter Services. Using a public venue like an arena or stadium gives us a great opportunity to get the gospel message to those who need to hear it. I’m always amazed at how God uses these celebrations in the lives of those who wouldn’t normally consider going to church.

6Q = What is your leadership style?

I pray that my leadership style is similar to Christ’s by being servant-based (John 13). In God’s economy, the greatest in the Kingdom is also the greatest servant (Matthew 20:27) and so I strive to wash as many feet as possible. Over the years, I believe that God has blessed this model by surrounding me with many others who are also servant-minded, which has enabled our ministry to grow and advance year after year.

7Q = Who has influenced you the most as a leader?

I have been blessed with many godly role models over the years. But without question, my understanding of God, His Word, and “doing church well” has been influenced by Pastor Chuck Smith more than any other single individual. He’s the man that I call “Pastor”.

8Q = What resources have had the biggest impact on how you do ministry?

I have a strong appreciation of the literary legacy left to us by the “stalwarts” of the faith; men like Charles Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, G. Campbell Morgan, Charles Finney, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, A.W. Tozer, and Henry Ironside. I’ve also reaped enormous benefits from more contemporary authors like Philip Yancey, Charles Stanley, Max Lucado, Charles Swindoll, Norman Geisler, Josh McDowell, James MacDonald, Lee Strobel, and Andy Stanley.

I’ve been greatly impacted by the various Calvary Chapel conferences that I’ve been privileged to take part in, as well as the times that I’ve spent at The Billy Graham Training Center.

As for the Internet, there’s so much out there that it’s difficult to single out any specific sites. But as a whole, it’s an invaluable tool for taking our society’s pulse and knowing what kind of questions the world is asking. In that sense, the Internet has had a tremendous impact on how I do ministry.

9Q = What is the greatest ministry lesson you have learned?

I’d have to list two here.  One is to keep the message of Christ and Him crucified front and center in all things (1 Corinthians 2:2), nothing else in this world has the power to change lives. The second is to remember that God desires to accomplish His work by the power of His Spirit. Kingdom business isn’t accomplished by man’s might or power, but it’s by His Holy Spirit who actively works in the lives of those who are surrendered and submitted to Him (Zechariah 4:6).

10Q = What is the best advice you have for church leaders?

As simplistic as it sounds, I can offer no better advice than what Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33, to seek Him and His righteousness first, and then to entrust everything else in life (including the matters of ministry) to Him. A church leader who does that is a success in God’s eyes, which is all that really matters…everything else is up to Him.

Be sure to check out Church Relevance’s “10Q” category to read previous 10Q interviews.

10Q with Mark Batterson of National Community Church

Kent Shaffer —  September 5, 2007


10Q with Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson is the senior pastor of National Community Church, a multi-site church in Washington, D.C. with 4 campuses located at Union Station, Ballston Common Mall, Georgetown (new), and Ebenezers Coffeehouse. Mark is also the author of ID, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, and Right-Brain Church (’08 release).


Year Began: 1996
Locations: 4
Weekend Services: 8 by October
Attendance: 1,250
Staff: 19 :: 1/66 attendees
Volunteers: 350-400 :: 1/3 to 1/4 attendees
Primary Audiences/Lifestyles Reached: 73% single twenty-somethings :: 25% unchurched :: 50% dechurched


1Q = What values and beliefs unify National Community Church’s staff and drive their performance?

We have a dozen core values.  And a few of them have really become touchstones for the way we do church:

  • Everything is an experiment.
  • Irrelevance is irreverence.
  • Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you.
  • The church ought to be the most creative place on the planet.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Love people when they least expect it and least deserve it.

2Q = What is National Community Church’s chain of command from the senior pastor to the church volunteers?

We have intentionally avoided bureaucracy like the plague!

We have an executive leadership team that functions as the board. For what it’s worth, it is a combination of staff and non-staff. We made a decision early on not to discriminate against those who are trained and called to full-time ministry. It didn’t make sense to us. So staff can serve in the highest decision-making capacity at National Community Church.

We also have a stewardship team that provides financial accountability. The staff comes up with the budget, but the budget is approved by the Stewardship Team.

3Q = For big decisions, what is National Community Church’s decision making process?

We don’t vote on anything except ratifying our Stewardship Team and Executive Leadership Team. We do, however, survey our congregation like crazy! But it is a different psychology and vibe. We get great input that is invaluable. But it’s not political.

We really let our leaders lead–all the way from the Lead Pastor to Small Group Leaders. We expect our leaders to get a vision from God and go for it. We have checks and balances in place, but we have a very empowering culture.

4Q = How does National Community Church market itself?

86% of NCCers come to National Community Church for the first-time because of a personal invitation. Because of that, we do lots of invite cards to help turn our attendees into inviters. Our motto is that church is a tag-team sport. When NCCers walk in they tag me and our creative team and say “go for it.” When they walk out we tag them and say “go for it.”

We also do direct mailings, outreach events, and our coffeehouse on Capitol Hill is probably our greatest marketing tool.

5Q = What is the most effective thing National Community Church has done to reach people?

While I love our creative sermon branding, I honestly think our servant evangelism is the engine that drives us. But the key is having lots of entry points. Alpha has been a big entry point for us. So has our podcast and webcast. Even my blog is a touch point for people who are checking out NCC.

6Q = You have mentioned before that National Community Church reaches mostly single twenty-somethings and has a high yearly turnover rate. Since your time to reach these students and young workers is limited, what does NCC do to create meaningful relationships with them in such a short amount of time?

We do small groups in a semester system which allows us to heavily and creatively promote groups three times a year. We also do connection points after our services where we encourage people to:

  1. plug into a small group
  2. plug into a ministry

We really try to keep assimilation streamlined and simple!

7Q = What is your leadership style?

I think I’m a team leader. I played sports throughout high school and college, and I probably function the same way. I try to motivate our team and then let go. I used to micro-manage, but as National Community Church has grown, it’s impossible to know everything about everything that is going on so I’m trying to do less so we can do more!

Our structure at NCC has been very flat, but we’re discovering that an organization shift is absolutely necessary for us to go to the next level and maintain sanity. I had eleven direct reports last year. With some of our restructuring I now have five.

8Q = Who has influenced you the most as a leader?

Honestly, my father-in-law, Bob Schmidgall, has had the greatest influence. He planted and pastored one church in Naperville, Illinois for 30+ years. I saw the impact of longevity! He set an example I’m trying to follow. Lord willing, I’d love to pastor one church for life!

I also have my fair share of guys I really like and look up to–Erwin McManus, Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley, etc. So grateful for the great teachers and leaders that are pastors to pastors!

9Q = What resources have had the biggest impact on how you do ministry?

I used to read 150-200 books a year. And I still read about 75-100 books. I’m reading a little less now that I’m writing a little more. But I honestly think it is the cumulative effect.

I’m also a big believer in conferences. In fact, we take our entire staff to the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta every year.

And I love doing recon at other churches. It keeps us from becoming a closed system.

10Q = What is the best advice you have for church leaders?

You have to be yourself. You have to keep learning. And you have to have fun.

And don’t worry about church growth. Focus on personal growth. If you keep growing personally, you won’t have to worry about church growth!

Be sure to check out Church Relevance’s “10Q” category to read previous 10Q interviews.

10Q with Perry Noble of NewSpring Church

Kent Shaffer —  September 4, 2007

10Q with Perry Noble

Perry Noble is the senior pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC.


Year Began: 2000
Locations: 1
Weekend Services: 4
Attendance: 8,000
Staff: 80 :: 1/100 attendees
Volunteers: 2000 :: 1/4 attendees
Primary Audiences/Lifestyles Reached: singles in their mid 20’s and young families in their 30’s and 40’s


1Q = What values and beliefs unify NewSpring Church‘s staff and drive their performance?

We have a desire to make the name of Jesus Christ famous… and we believe that will happen as the church continues to become the place that HE originally designed it to be. We believe in excellence AND the power of God—which means we are going to do all that we can, knowing that without God’s help that we will fall incredibly short of doing anything significant.  

2Q = What is NewSpring Church’s chain of command from the senior pastor to the church volunteers?

We are a staff led church. Currently we have a senior management team that I, along with five other guys, serve on. They, in turn have direct reports, and many of their direct reports also have a staff working with them. It really is easier to see on an org chart. 

3Q = For big decisions, what is NewSpring Church’s decision making process?

We pray like CRAZY and BEG God for wisdom— then our senior management team meets and makes the decision. No business meetings! 

4Q = How does NewSpring Church market itself?

We have tried just about everything from television commercials to billboards to newspaper ads, but we keep coming back to the BEST way to market a church is to, week after week, deliver an excellent presentation… and people will go and tell their friends about it and invite them back the next week. 

5Q = What is the most effective thing NewSpring Church has done to reach people?

About once or twice a year I will teach on the subject of evangelism and why it is so important to tell our lost friends and family members about Christ. At the end of that message, I will challenge people to invite their friends the next week because I will be presenting the Gospel. EVERY TIME we do this, we have record numbers show up the next week! 

6Q = What is your leadership style?

I would say I am a “trust the guys around me to get it done” kind of guy. I love casting vision, and I will lead through that process, but many times I get out of the loop in regards to the specifics. 

7Q = Who has influenced you the most as a leader?

OK, I know that JESUS is the spiritual answer… but other than HIM I would have to say… wow… this is tough… currently either Andy Stanley or Craig Groeschel

8Q = What resources have had the biggest impact on how you do ministry?

Anything that Hybels writes on leadership!!! 

I LOVE the C3 conference at Fellowship Church, I go just about every year. And Catalyst is a great conference as well. 

9Q = What is the greatest ministry lesson you have learned?

Ministry takes WORK. The people who sit around and “wait on God to do it all” are still sitting and waiting! 

10Q = What is the best advice you have for church leaders?

DO EXACTLY WHAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO! Don’t screw around with His vision… we will one day stand before God and be held accountable by HIM… not some board of deacons or elders.  

Be sure to check out Church Relevance’s “10Q” category to read previous 10Q interviews.

10Q with Bob Russell of Southeast Christian Church

Kent Shaffer —  August 31, 2007

10Q with Bob Russell

Bob Russell is the former senior pastor of Southeast Christian Church (Louisville, KY). By the time he retired in June 2006, the church had grown to an average of 18,300 weekend attendees. Southeast Christian Church was started in 1962 and primarily reached college-educated, upper-middle class whites during Bob’s tenure.


1Q = When you were the pastor of Southeast Christian Church, what was the chain of command from the senior pastor to the church volunteers?

Our flow chart showed:

  • Christ as the Chief Shepherd
  • the elders as the undershepherds
  • the senior pastor as a paid elder whose task is preaching and teaching
  • a leadership team consisting of 6-7 team leaders
  • and about 30 ministry heads

Among the thousands of volunteers were what we called 401 volunteers who were responsible for recruiting and training other volunteers.

2Q = For big decisions, what was Southeast Christian Church’s decision making process?

Major decisions were made by the board of elders – made up of lay leaders within the church and the senior minister. Probably most recommendations for ministry came from the staff to the elders by way of the senior minister. But we acknowledged that the elders were the overseers of the ministry and had the ultimate authority.

3Q = What was the most effective thing Southeast Christian Church did to reach people during your time as the senior pastor?

Most evangelism that took place was simply one-on-one evangelism. We tried to make each program so effective that church members would find it easy to invite others to come and participate. This included the worship service as well as support groups, sports activities, children’s ministry etc.

Two of the most effective evangelistic outreaches were:

  1. The annual Easter pageant that drew over 70,000 people each spring.
  2. The radio ministry. WHAS radio, an 80,000 watt station, carried the previous week’s sermon at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning for 25 years. WFIA, the local religious station carried sermons daily at 7:30 a.m. (drive time). Radio proved to be a very effective outreach for us.

4Q = How did you maintain quality control while pastoring such a large church?

One of our core values from the beginning was to try to do everything with excellence. In the book When God Builds A Church, one of the chapters is on the importance of excellence in every phase of ministry.

Maintaining excellence became more difficult as the church became larger. I felt I did a pretty good job of passing down that value when the staff was one or two tiers. But it became more difficult for us as the staff became larger and there were 3-4 levels.

We included this theme in staff meetings and sermons. We tried to honor those who did well by giving, “Second Mile” awards in staff meetings, sending thank- you notes, voice mails, emails to volunteers who did well and mentioning them in sermons. We had entire staff meetings discussing examples of places where we encountered poor/great service and why it was meaningful.

I sometimes felt like I was a chronic complainer because I took notes of little things that had been neglected and would pass most of these on to the senior administrator at our weekly meeting on Monday morning. Sometimes I would call the team leader responsible for that area and draw attention to it. I’m sure they thought I was “nitpicking,” but I believe if you take care of the little things, the big things won’t be a problem.

As a church gets larger it is very difficult to practice discipline and hold people accountable for their behavior  – although small churches don’t do this well either.

We tried to be proactive and get as many people involved in small groups as possible so they would be accountable to other believers and grow. We had a very active discipline committee made up of 3-4 elders who tried to confront and correct flagrant sin in the camp.

With the erosion of values in the culture and the addition of many young Christians who have a long way to grow, it presents a myriad of challenges for the leadership to know what needs to be tolerated and what needs to be confronted and corrected. My preaching focused more on what is expected of Christians than it did just reaching out to seekers.

5Q = What is your leadership style?

My leadership style is high trust.

I believe that 90% of effective leadership is hiring the right person or recruiting the right volunteer, giving them basic guidance and making clear expectations and then turning them loose. I found gifted people would use their creativity and be more eager to do well if they “owned the program” and felt freedom and security than if they were trying to please me because I was hovering over them or micro-managing their efforts.

We did ask people to set personal and team goals and scheduled semi-annual reviews. If a staff member was not doing well, they were confronted with the issues during the review and notified of expectations. Occasionally some would be dismissed, but only after every opportunity to succeed.

I believe in the church we ought to/have to be more patient than in the business world. One reason for that is harmony is tremendously important in the church. Every staff dismissal creates some degree of disharmony and that has to be taken into consideration.

6Q = Who has influenced you the most as a leader?

Different people have influenced me at different stages of my life.

I believe that my influence stemmed from my preaching gifts more than from my leadership gifts. As I gained people’s confidence through preaching God’s Word they trusted me. That thrust upon me the need to lead by necessity. But I would not list “Leadership” as one of my primary gifts although it developed a little over time.

Therefore the people who influenced me most as a leader were those who impressed me with their preaching gifts. Bob Phillips, Olin Hay, J Wallace Hamilton, Charles Swindoll, Fred Craddock. As I grew older, I observed the leadership gifts of Bill Gaslin (a camp dean), Marvin Rickard (a megachurch minister), and President Reagan and learned by observing them.

7Q = What resources have had the biggest impact on how you do ministry?

Marvin Rickard’s book Let It Grow! influenced me considerably early on.

Joel Gregory’s book Too Great A Temptation and Jim Collin’s two books Built to Last and Good to Great influenced me about the need for a transition plan later on.

Twenty years ago when Southeast was running a little over a thousand I felt the need to network with other preachers of large churches in our movement. So I invited all the guys I knew who pastored large churches to come to Louisville for three days. They did and we had such a rich experience we decided to do it every year. That annual conference now invites about 125 ministers and their wives. Over half come each year and it was a rich time of fellowship and a great venue for sharing creative ideas and learning from each other’s leadership.

About 15 years ago, I attended a three day conference of seven megachurch ministers (Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Bob Moorehead, Walt Kallestad) that proved to be influential in that I was encouraged to take a major risk involving 90 million dollars and relocate. It also underscored once again that God used different leadership styles and I shouldn’t try to emulate anyone else.

8Q = What is the greatest ministry lesson you have learned?

That God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways if they honor His Word and keep their egos in check.

9Q  = What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the church today?

To maintain a healthy balance of being culturally relevant and Biblically based. There is such a strong temptation to become so focused on reaching people where they are that we neglect telling them the tough truths of God’s Word – truths that potentially can turn them off because they are not politically correct.

10Q = What is the best advice you have for church leaders?

Determine where God has gifted you and stay with your strengths. Gather around you the most gifted people you can find and delegate as much to them as possible. Especially delegate in the areas of your weaknesses and get out of the way.

Trust that the Biblical organizational structure can work effectively. God ordained elders to be shepherds for a purpose – the combined wisdom of the group is greater than any one individual. So develop in-depth relationships with the elders so you are consistently on the same page. When you disagree be humble and submissive to their oversight.

Stay in one place as long as possible. There is a time to move, but make sure you are moving because of God’s call and not running from problems. Every place has problems. There is tremendous value in long-term ministry. If God is blessing where you are, be content.

Learn to keep the big picture. 95% of Southeast Christian Church is great. 5% is not so hot. In fact, 1% is downright nasty. My challenge as a leader was that 50% of my time was spent on correcting the 5% that wasn’t right, and I could lose the big picture. Step back periodically and see how God is blessing and give thanks. One of the reasons Ronald Reagan was an effective president is that he could deal with the most awful problems and yet be positive about how great a country America is. The preacher has to remind members of all the wonderful things God is doing even though we are confronted daily with disappointments.

Be sure to check out Church Relevance’s “10Q” category to read previous 10Q interviews.

10Q with Craig Groeschel of

Kent Shaffer —  August 30, 2007

10Q with Craig Groeschel

Craig Groeschel is the senior pastor of, a multi-site church from Edmond, OK with 12 campuses located in Arizona (1), Florida (1), New York (1), Oklahoma (6), Tennessee (1), Texas (1), and online (an Internet campus). Craig is also the author of Chazown, Confessions of a Pastor, and Going All the Way.


Year Began: 1996
Locations: 12
Services: 49 each weekend
Attendance: 21,000
Staff: 230 :: 1/91 attendees
Volunteers: 4500 :: 1/5 attendees
Primary Audiences/Lifestyles Reached: Non-believers, Young families, College students, 18-35 age range

In recent years, they have received publicity for projects like, a Second Life Campus, their 3 Month Tithing, YouVersion, and their Facebook Church application. also makes their creative materials available to other churches to be downloaded and used for free through Open.


1Q = What values and beliefs unify’s staff and drive their performance?

Our core values include: evangelism, stewardship, generosity, passion, excellence, sacrifice, integrity, and community.

2Q = What is’s chain of command from the senior pastor to the church volunteers?

As senior pastor, my role is to cast the vision, then equip and empower our team to fulfill the vision. Five staff members serve as Directional Leaders. These leaders work directly with two Regional Campus Pastors and eight executive leaders for the Central organization. The Campus Pastors and campus staff directly train the volunteers.

3Q = For big decisions, what is’s decision making process?

We flip a coin… just kidding.

The Directional Team hashes out all the details. We occasionally seek outside input. After plenty of prayer and discussion, together we make a decision. 

4Q = How does market itself?

In the past, we have used direct mail, television and radio ads, websites, and billboards. However, the biggest return for us is always word-of-mouth.

5Q = What is the most effective thing has done to reach people?

Reaching lost people has been the best way to reach more lost people. When people who are already “churched” come to church, they generally know other Christians. When someone who doesn’t know Christ comes to church and meets Christ, they are passionate about introducing their friends to Him, as well.

6Q = What is your leadership style?

That’s a good question.

Perhaps the biggest thing that I do is delegate. (I would say that’s what most leaders must do.) However, the difference is that many leaders delegate responsibilities, where I try to delegate authority. When someone delegates responsibilities, they attract followers. When someone delegates authority, they attract (and build) great leaders.

7Q = Who has influenced you the most as a leader?

Bill Hybels

8Q = What resources have had the biggest impact on how you do ministry?

Good to Great, Blue Ocean Strategy, Purple Cow, Just As I Am, and reading about Luther, Moody, Spurgeon, Wesley, and Whitefield.

9Q = What is the greatest ministry lesson you have learned?

Always invite people to follow Christ!

10Q = What is the best advice you have for church leaders?

It’s not about you! It’s not about marketing. It’s not about buildings. It’s not about sermon series. It’s not about the music, the lights, or the environment. 


Be sure to check out Church Relevance’s “10Q” category to read previous 10Q interviews.