It’s hard to believe I’ll be celebrating 20 years of being on staff at Life.Church this coming May. Am I really that old? No—I just started before puberty is all! I’m now the Campus Pastor at our location in Rio Rancho, NM, and I’ve really grown up at this church in more ways than one. I have grown so much over the past two decades in my relationship with God, in how I lead, how I parent, and how I am a husband.
It’s an interesting experience to develop as a man at the same time the place you work and worship also develops from infancy to adulthood.
One thing I think about a lot are the growing pains that the church went through in the first years and how I experienced many of those personally at the same time—and sometimes one triggered the other. Once, I counted up how many times I’d had a direct boss change. I came up with 17 times!
Being someone that struggles with pride and stubbornness this gave God a lot of great opportunities to burn that stuff right out of me. Burn with a nice searing white-hot heat. When I first started, it was just me and Craig. Being able to learn directly from him was literally life-changing. When that mentor-student relationship changed, it was a hard pill to swallow, but as I look back on it all I see that God had plans for me to learn from many different and great leaders.
While having the same boss forever would’ve been great (and hear me correctly on this—Craig, it would’ve been wonderful to have you as my boss for all these years, and I mean that), I would’ve never have been able to learn directly from the members of the Directional Leadership Team, our Oklahoma City campus pastor Chris Beall, and the list goes on and on. How each of these leaders deals with conflict is unique, how they choose to lead a meeting is different, how they strategize and calendar their days is all unique to them. I would’ve missed out on all of that and more I perhaps wasn’t even consciously aware of.
That’s what I’m really talking about. How do we deal with change? What attitude do we choose to take on when our goal is moved, our team gets a new leader, our project gets redirected? I dealt with it poorly in the early years. But luckily, those DLT guys loved me and didn’t fire me. Instead, they gave me the opportunity to change, grow, and become a leader and pastor. Those guys and many others did it by addressing my issues head on, with love, and without shying away from them.
When new staff comes on at Life.Church and I get a chance to speak with them, I give them this advice, whether they ask for it or not: Stay humble and hungry. Show grit. Be determined to learn, grow, and seek out feedback. Understand who you are and how sin has bent you away from God and how He, many times through others in the Body of Christ, can shape you and make you into who He knows you can be.
Resilience. Another word that Jerry Hurley, a member of our Directional Leadership Team, talks about a lot. Resilience will take you far.
So, how do we stay humble and hungry, full of resilience and grit? Keep a close personal, daily relationship with God and choose daily to stay humble and hungry. I believe no matter what you do in life, this skill set can take you far, perhaps more than any other.
Learn more about change and how to lead through it from Pastor Craig's leadership podcast. Click the link below to listen.