Welcome to Monday Morning Church. Today our guest is Brad Deardorff, who is the executive director of administration at Kingsway Church. Hi Brad, how are you today?
I’m doing great. Thanks, Neil.
Yeah, thanks a lot for being on our show. We have a lot to learn from you and your situation, which I’m excited to get into. Why don’t we just start with who you are, how you got into this role? What’s your background?
Yeah, thanks. I’m Brad, executive director of administration here at Kingsway. My role started here at the church nearly 10 years ago when I came in as finance director. I had come from the corporate world and doing accounting, I’m a CPA, had done some accounting work in a private company that had a nationwide presence. I learned a lot from people there. I was recruited into my role by the then-existing executive pastor here at Kingsway. Mentored by him and kind of brought into that finance director role at that point, kind of transitioned over the last year into this new role of executive director of administration as we kind of looked at things I can handle, overseeing our operations, areas of great leaders and all of those areas. It includes building and grounds, finance, HR, information technology and those areas. So that’s kind of my role here at the church.
So how did you find that transition from going from the private sector into a church world?
It was a different transition. It was good. There’s a lot of best business practice items that really apply, especially in a church our size that really transitioned over well. There are some differences obviously in dealing with the non-profit and the church world specifically. But a lot of those business practices I learned while doing that really apply here and really lend itself well to running this organization.
Nice, so get into a little bit more about how Kingsway is structured from a staff perspective, and also, because you said there was some transition to the role that you have now. So how did that process happen?
Yeah, we are structured, I handle the operations areas. I have a counterpart who handles our ministry side and leads that, I’m an executive, in an executive role. We both report to our lead pastor, obviously we have an elder board above that. We are a little unique in that we have a school that’s part of our ministry as well. So that creates some uniqueness there. The transition into this role really came as a part of our previous executive pastor moved on to a different place and really evaluating our board, really evaluating what it would look like and how we need to be structured so we can grow into the future with our school and our church. What does that look like? So we really came to a dual role setup in our current structure with our executive team.
Okay, so what are…you mentioned a lot of things that are a part of your responsibility, from HR to finance. Can you give another kind of complete picture of what all the things are that you oversee?
Yeah, it’s staff development within our HR team. We have an HR leader there. Our building and grounds team, our campus manager handles that, but overseeing, obviously our large acreage we have here, we have a large building with the school and the church, and just the maintenance of that. He handles that with his team. From a technology standpoint, we have over 100 employees total. So we’ve got a lot of technology, we’ve got a big building, big weekend experience school. So the technology side, our technology director handling, managing that. So just trying to make sure we’re up to date on items in that area as well as then our accounting and finance, obviously handling that, make sure we’re in compliance in doing what we need to do there, handling bank relationships, insurance, those types of things all fall kind of in my scope of influence.
Yeah, what do you find to be the things you enjoy the most about your job?
I really enjoy just leading a team, working together with other ministry leaders and making this place move forward is the most enjoyable part, watching others grow into their leadership roles and develop, kind of get their wings in their respective areas and their passions, and how that really feeds in and just fuels ministry across the board, because it takes all those parts really to make this go and to do what God has planned for Kingsway and through Kingsway.
Nice. And then kind of on the flip side, what do you find are the most recurring challenges that you face from the administration side?
We’re a large organization, so communication between all the parts, making sure we’re efficient and lean in different areas. We’re undertaking just a new realm of trying to centralize some of our services across the school and church function. So, as any organization, just trying to, where we have redundancies, make sure that we’re doing what we can to make sure we’re accomplishing our task in a great fashion, kind of the best business practice piece. So it’s hard to make sure all those pieces are rolling together. So it’s pulling those teams together and talking and seeing what the needs are. It’s a constant evaluation process, constantly trying to keep up with technology in different areas of what’s best business practice to run this organization. It can be challenging at times, but it’s fun at the same time.
Sure, yeah. Speaking of technology, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what Kingsway uses, especially on the communication side. You mentioned that was an issue. What are some of the things you’re doing on technology side to address that?
Yeah, we have the typical email, but when we’re communicating across staff, nothing really gets passed just face to face. We’re in one building, but we’re kind spread out. So if you can catch people, face to face is sometimes best and trying to address it and email change back and forth. But when we’re talking about communicating into our audiences across the varying places, whether it be our church congregation, the community or our school parents, it’s pulling stuff together in way that makes sense. So we’re going through a website update to make that more mobile friendly, obviously. So that’s a constant challenge. I know that the places have just, how do you streamline stuff that makes sense. People are using mobile devices so often. We do have a church app that we’re using to communicate to our church congregation on Sundays and throughout the week, that helps. We use social media as well. But some of those challenges, it’s just constantly changing, as you know, and people’s attention spans are different. Just how you communicate in the best way is always a challenge.
Yeah, very much. What do you feel like is kind of that next level of growth when it comes to better handling your administration, either from a technology or a non technology standpoint, what do you feel like maybe in the next two of three years is something you’re going to have to focus on?
That’s a great question. As I said, it’s just constantly, seems like it’s a moving target. It’s a good thing, as things progress just in that realm of how do we look at stuff. And one of the things we’re going through now, too is just looking at updating our church management system to be something, again, that’s more mobile-friendly, that eliminates some of the redundancy. People aren’t really paper kind of people, handing out a bulletin or handing a flyer out that has the information with upcoming events isn’t the best way to go about it. So if we can even handle our kids check-in, for example, on Sunday morning, in a mobile device way, allow people to check in or use their mobile device to do that eliminates a ton of work on our side, a piece of paper someone’s filled out that they were here on Sunday. How do we then go through and have to input that into our system. If we get streamline that in a great way, we’re able to do that. So with updating our church management system into a more mobile-friendly way to do things, how we communicate with our kids on the students or on the school side as well, bringing that into a technology-based setup is good. We do online giving and mobile giving, so that helps on that side as well. So those things are constantly changing and it’s hard for me to even fathom what that’s really going to be, but we try and stay up to date on those things and try to stay in front of it the best we can.
Yeah, it is a big challenge. Like you said, it’s a moving target that you constantly have to be aware of and be aiming just a little bit into the future just to stay up with things. So where do you go to learn more about being a great executive pastor? What kind of networks or conferences or things do you rely on for that?
Yeah, I’ve done several things. I don’t think anything surpasses just connecting, we have several large churches in our area and just connecting with other leaders that are facing some of the same challenges, some of the best ways I’ve learned to grow, where we can share together some of the challenges we’re facing. So that’s one of the best places I go to get that and just connecting and networking in that realm. What’s best practice that maybe other churches are using and just pour into one another that way. I’ve used the ex p group as well. So we’ve used, have gone on, use DCSA. I’m a CPA, so I even use some continuing education through our local CPA society, really in leadership and other items that really helped really grow me in this area as mentored by the previous executive pastor here too, which was a great thing. And just learning from others is some of the best ways I’ve developed my skills over time.
Yeah, that sounds like…any time you can get together with people who know your contacts and know your situation, that’s always a huge help.
Well, Brad, why don’t we close off here just with some encouragement you might want to give to other executive pastors who are out there. What’s a few sentences you could say to them?
Always allow God to lead you wherever you’re going as you’re kind of on the path of becoming more like Christ, as we’re all trying to do. Follow your passion, follow your heart, but stay connected to Him and allow Him to lead you and you’ll drop into those skills that in the places that He has you moving toward. Keep up on current events, current best technology practices, best items. Stay connected to others in your area doing the same role or different roles and keep on following Christ and leading in the way that would honor Him.
That sounds great Brad. Thank you so much for joining us for this podcast and hope you have a great day.
Thank you Neil.