Welcome to Monday Morning Church. Here we have two special guests with us today. We have Craig Hansen and Greg Moore, both of Connection Pointe Church in Indiana. How are you gentlemen today?
Thank you very much for joining us. Craig and Greg serve in kind of a dual role that I’ll let them explain a little bit more, but let’s just start with a little bit about the both of your journeys, about how you got to be where you are and kind of where you are as a result of that. So Craig, let’ start with you.
Oh, I’ve been a member here since ’92 and was very involved in number of different areas, but really became deeply involved in leadership when I became an elder in 2008. And with that, understanding some of the opportunities and challenges of ministry, and then when I was getting ready to retire from Dow Chemical in ag products, I made the silly request to our senior pastor to say, I’d be willing to volunteer on some basis. And that became a starting point for a lot of conversations, but that grew into my current role, I was executive pastor of operations. So, in hindsight, I can see God’s hand in the background and the experiences I had at Dow, being involved in an international, being involved in a lot of people management. I spent six years in HR, so that helped me lot, brought things to it from a developmental standpoint that I don’t think I would’ve had otherwise. But it is a different world, church leadership, church management is different than corporate management.
Craig, can you maybe give an example of how that transition, maybe one way that it was pretty seamless going from the corporate world to the church world in one way that it was challenging?
One way it was seamless was that it’s people leadership, and people are people. And even people in church staff are people, so you have to be ready and prepared for those surprises. And having been through a lot of those situations in the secular world, and also as an elder, to be quite honest, I was, I think, very prepared and not so surprised. And then dealing with them in a spiritual way, meaning it’s really discipleship 101, and you can get into people leadership, people management and move away from discipleship, and use a lot of secular tools that don’t ground themselves in biblical foundations, and that’s where you can get into trouble. So things that worked in the secular world, or at least seemed to work, don’t necessarily translate to the church world. I would say the one surprise, I think, in church leadership was the lack of definition, the lack of empowerment for people on staff. A lot of writing, the job description was like a foreign language, the thought of defining roles and responsibilities. It was a bit of a weird thing for people to buy into. And I think also the concept of open transparency and honest feedback is something that’s challenging in the area with ministers. It’s not something they get trained to do in Bible school, even though they spend a lot of time discipling people, thinking about their peers speaking into their lives, that’s a culture you have to establish, and you have to give it a lot of degrees of safety before it can really flourish.
Greg, let’s jump over to you. You come from more of a traditional ministry background, seminary type stuff. What was your journey into your role?
Actually, I started in a business, too. I spent 20-something years in the automotive industry, doing various things from manufacturing to sales and engineering, and then I felt God calling me into ministry the time I was a lay person in a church, teaching ABFs, leading small groups and different things. But I felt like the calling to be a pastor for me meant I needed to go to seminary. And so I ended up going to Moody and getting a MDiv. And then while I was at Moody, I had a connection with the church in Michigan that was real close to where I lived, being the small groups pastor, discipleship person there. They wanted someone who had a background that I was doing it. So I ended up going there, got the ability to start that ministry from scratch basically, and turn it into what it became. And so it was going along pretty well there. And then there were some changes they wanted to make, which I wasn’t really sure if I was kind of on board with those changes and still my wife and I just began to pray, is this still place you want us, if it is great, if you want us be part of those changes or if you want us to do something else. So a couple years ago, we just made this decision that we felt like God was moving us on and so I ended up getting in contact with Craig and coming down here.
Yeah, and you guys have a little bit of a unique setup. You have three kind of executive roles, don’t you? Can you describe kind of how your church is set up?
Yeah, it modifies over time, and I think any executive team that says that it’s all is clear as you lay out a few bullet points is not being totally honest with you. I think we actually, Brian Fike is our third executive leader, and he was here before either the two of us, and he was really the first one to even start kind of that role at Connection Pointe. So before that, Steve Reeves, our senior pastor, was really doing all these things. And so, he kind of set the foundation, established, I could say, good sense of respect and integrity that we actually have benefited from, and that is time came on and we worked closer together, we kind of talk about where we want to move and what opportunities we want to take on. And we’ve made a lot of changes that we’re still, still making changes based on where we see our particular gifting can be the most helpful for that area of ministry at that particular time. So, an example that is Greg was hired in to be executive pastor of the weekend experience, which is really kind of what he’s still doing. And the reason for that was that was a very significant need we had as somebody to focus on that, focus on development discipleship within that team, get things really well oiled and laid out, including planning for that and follow up and all those things. And quite honestly, I don’t think I had the tenacity or the patience to do it, and we needed somebody full time to really dedicate to that.
Yeah, it seems like that executive pastor role can be interpreted in many different ways as I’ve been talking to other churches. Sometimes it’s more of a direct operations type role, all the behind the scene stuff maybe that goes on. Sometimes it’s more of a staff minister, staff leader that goes to different things. What is the unique to Connection Pointe and how has the personality of the church kind of shaped your executive team as well?
Yeah, I think there’s couple of things unique. I think Steve Reeves, the senior pastor, is kind of unique individual, great guy to work with, a lot of fun. But like a lot of senior pastors, leadership sometimes and having the time, when I say leadership, having a time to focus on leading people with everything else you have going with care and everything that you kind of get dumped in your lap becomes an issue, I think. And so I think he’s a unique person, obviously, and so working around his personality is something I think you need to learn to do as the second chair person, getting to know him, what he tries, where he wants to go, all those different things. I think for me, that was the core thing, is I got to know him. What could… where could we go, where was he going be comfortable and me helping him to get there. And then building that trust with that person, I think it’s critical. So that’s a good thing. I think we’re also unique as a church in that we have a really good connection to our community. We have a community impact group that does a lot in the community. We have a sports and fitness center that’s connected with the community, and then a global outreach group that does a lot of outreach, so very evangelistic, very outreach oriented. And just getting people to know Christ through those things.
And you guys, you’re not multisite. Everything is kind of centralized right now. Is that correct?
Okay, and is that something that you’re thinking about in the future or do you see that your church works best when everything is kind of in the same place?
We believe, to meet our growth objectives, we’re going to have to go multisite or church plant, some form or fashion of that. That’s really what we’re struggling through right now. And we’re also in the process of the transition of our senior pastor, so we’re not going to really resolve and define that till after the new person shows up. But something the elders are very seriously thinking through and that we’re going spend some time this year actually understanding it better and what that means for us versus what it means in general.
I think another unique thing for us, is we’re a multi-generational church, truly multi-generational, but also multicultural and striving to be even more multicultural in our area. That’s kind of, I think, pretty unique as churches go.
Yeah, absolutely. Let’s shift the conversation a little bit more towards technology. What are some things that a church of your size, what are the technologies you depend on mostly on day to day basis? What are some areas that you’ve made some great strides in recently, how you’ve used it?
Well, I think we are using technology pretty extensively. I think in the church world in general, it’s been an irritation and then something that people felt they had to do. And I think it’s now understood by executive leaders that it’s a fundamental reality of what you’re doing. You’re not going to deliver what you need to deliver without a pretty robust technology pipeline. But I would also say the challenge is the people that you’re leaning on, the users, the ministers, the staff are usually not the best assessors of what the opportunity is. Because they’re not processed thinkers, they’re not systematic in general. And a lot of what you’re trying to put in place in the terms of church management, software, takes a systematic thinker, which is opposed to somebody who hires somebody as a pastor. So you got to figure out how to think through what the users are going to hold on to, and then what needs to be delivered in user interface and all those things, they’re critical part of it. But Greg really is overseeing the technology as far as production and IT. So I think he can speak to this really well, too.
Yeah, I think lot of interesting things about technology here is we have a consultant firm that we’re working with on IT side and they made a comment that I think they were blown away by how much technology we really have and how dependent on it we are. And so as that continues to grow, we’ve talked a lot about, it’s going to be harder and harder to find a person to come on staff to lead that, because the church just doesn’t have the resources to pay them. And so what do we do, we continue to hire these secondary firms that can do that and then help us or what do we do. So the technology, the thing is, I think it’s going to become even more critical for the church in the future, right? If you start to multisite, so you’re maybe shooting videos out or you have live streaming becomes technical, but the question is, how do we go forward with that personnel-wise and all those things.
Yeah, that becomes a huge challenge. In the corporate setting, you have a very highly paid person that’s managing all the applications that are running by the system and IT director. It’s a very high senior level position too. So bringing that concept, that’s likely where churches are going in these days, but to meet that challenge will be difficult.
Yeah, I think as a church, it’s not our first reaction as the church to say, we need to spend a lot of money on IT director or a technology person. So that may change.
And you can also deal with what I dealt with in the corporate world is if to me management role is to really understand it well enough to understand what the value is being created, but not trying to manage the nuts and bolts of it. And a lot of managers just abdicate technology to the second, third level. And then you get IT directors that are running them up, you might say, and start developing things that are great technology, but they don’t fit the real essential needs of what the church needs. And I think we’re very blessed to have an individual here who kind of grew up in it, has learned it. He’s highly committed to the ministry and serves in the ministry. And I think you got to find somebody like that that has that gifting. And then to me, I think the model we’re going to makes a lot of sense because then you can lean on truly world class experts that we cannot afford to hire full time, but we can tap into them because we’re never going be on the cutting edge of what new is coming out that may be very beneficial to us. But it also can also…you can spend a lot of money in technology and kill yourself too.
No, I think you summed that up very well Craig, about just the potential for miscommunication. The potential for misuse of technology or misunderstanding of it is ripe in so many different areas. So I think this is a big challenge that churches face and something that definitely looking for good practices if you go forward. Let’s talk about, a little bit about what you guys like best about your job. Greg, let’s start with you. What are the things you really enjoy about the position you’re in?
I think, first off for me, it’s getting to work with people, the staff, just getting to know them and kind of being the person that can come alongside them and help them to grow spiritually as well as in their jobs. That’s always been a core thing. It’s sort of the sharpening or pastoral part, I guess. And my heart has always been for discipleship, and so just helping them to grow is kind of the biggest thing for me. I think the other thing that I enjoy about the position is the ability to kind of sit back, think about the future, where we want to go as an organization, and then kind of put those plans in place, vision to where we want to go. And then even underneath that vision, putting procedures and processes in place. So job descriptions, personal development forms, helping people decide where they want to go in the future and how they can get there, working with them in those areas. Just those kind of things where we’re really just putting the vision together for them. I think a lot of times, Craig mentioned earlier in church, a lot of people aren’t doing that. And so there’s a kind of a loss for a plan, I guess. We’ve put in the area, I’m over RACI charts, so we can tell who’s responsible, accountable, informed in certain areas, and that sure help drive their workloads and what they’re doing. And I think make them more efficient that they’re not overlapping each other. One of the biggest things I saw on the worship team is a lot of overlap of work when I got here, so those kind of things are things that excite me. It’s just making it better, more efficient, and then deciding where we’re going to go in the future.
Yeah, that’s great. Sounds like both of you guys are very systematic thinkers and like to bring order in where you see chaos. Craig, what about you? What are some of the things you like best?
I like messing with the young staff. No, I think for me, working with emerging leaders, helping them develop, sharing things with them, which Greg and I both have the benefit of having been exposed to in our growing up in the corporate world that are fundamentals of management leadership, that they can obviously get exposed to, but they don’t necessarily even know sometimes what value it’s going to create for them. So we have that experience to say, this is something that’s fundamental. Just like the RACI charts. To do that in the ministry is like, oh my gosh, I’d rather eat Brussels sprouts than do that. About getting that into them, and then they see on the other side of that, oh, this makes things simpler. I think that’s the beauty of it, and seeing people’s eyes come open on that, and then allow them to be really who they are and doing what they do best, I think, in helping them develop that areas is great. So I think development, seeing people grow both within the church with their impact and others. We see most of the benefits of their ministry at third person. But the stories they tell and the things that continue to excite them are the things that excite us too.
Yeah, that’s great, fantastic. You said it very well. Well, let’s close out with just a little bit of encouragement you guys would give to other executive pastors in similar roles out there. What’s one thing that each of you would say?
I think the first thing would be that they are pastors and shepherds, and so they want to just be as Craig has said, helping the younger people grow up, become all they can be and encouraging them that way. I’d also encourage the other executive pastors to meet other executive pastors and spend time with them and not kind of think you have to do it on your own, but to have that group of people you can talk to. That’s always been important for me since I went into ministry is sort of connecting with someone that I can learn from. And it’s encouraging because I can also see like, am I going in the right direction? Does that person agree with where I’m going? So those are couple areas, I’d say.
Do you have any examples of forums or places people can get plugged in?
Yeah, there is an executive pastors network that you can go and meet a lot of pastors, and then also I’ve been to Vanderbloemen, and been with their executive pastor network down there, so a couple areas like that, or local churches that you’re close by, is always a good one because you have some of the similar dynamics, demographics around you and you can learn from each other, see how they’re doing it. Those are three areas to look at.
Yeah, I think it’s great, and I think both of us come with the perspective that we’re not smart enough to figure it out, and probably somebody who’s already dealt with exactly what we’re dealing with. So the real question is, where do you connect and how do you connect? And to me, some of these networks, the most important thing to do there is just to listen to what other people are saying because you find out when you go to these, there’s 20 percent of the people that you’re going go and call about something and there’s 80 percent you can go, well, I don’t think they really figured that out any more than we have. So I’m not necessarily going to go back to them. So the value and the experience that comes from what’s behind those voices is critical. But there’s some great networks. The other one is leadership network, is another one that has a lot of resources in this area. And so there’s, in this day in time, there’s really no excuse for somebody in a role like that to say, they don’t really have a clue where to go to get information. They may not have been connected to the right person, but there are great professional engagement opportunities all over the place. You just have to pick some that really makes sense for you and make sense for the tradition that you’re living in in your church and that sort of thing. That’s also another element of how you need to select. But I think I would say that’s big, and I think you need to also keep your head above the day to day. The day to day can eat you alive. And I would say the thing I’ve learned is ministry staffs like to elevate pretty much everything. Again, because I think in a lot of cases they have been given the authority to make some decisions, which I think they should be making. And then if they make a decision that impacts another group, they feel like that’s not going to go well and you need to intervene. So the more we have been able to put the individuals in a room and say, look, you guys are committed Christians, great leaders, figure this out, spend time and struggle through it. But I would say in church leadership, that’s one thing that I’ve seen done poorly, a lot of times is things getting elevated and getting resolved and then poured back down on folks, and you never, in our roles, we don’t have intimate day to day knowledge a lot of times of all the implications that…so then you’d say do something, then they go, I start spinning, and you realize, well, what you’ve asked him to do is not going to work. Well then don’t ask the question in the first plane. But the real issue there is give them permission to resolve all those things with their peers, and that usually works better. And then they problem solve those things on the fly on a lot more regular basis.
Yeah, that’s fantastic. I think that kind of experience and knowledge about allowing people to be empowered to make their decisions, but then also be accountable for those decisions and to work with others on those things is very key. And like you said, it’s something that maybe in the corporate world people expect more. In church world, I think people are expecting it more than maybe it wasn’t there in the past, but that’s great. I’ve really been encouraged by the conversation with you guys, what you’re doing there, what you’re bringing to Connection Pointe and churches at large. You’re kind of the 20 percent that’s when people go to you and interact with you, that they see that you’re ahead of the curve and doing some great stuff there. Thanks so much for taking the time to be with us and for lending your advice and your expertise to this podcast.
Nice to meet you.