Welcome back to the Monday Morning Church podcast. Today, our guest is Pastor LeRoy Bailey III, who is the executive director of operations at The First Cathedral Church in Hartford, Connecticut. Hi, Pastor LeRoy. How are you today?
Good, Neil. How are you?
I am excellent. I’m so excited to hear your story and to have you share it with the people around us. First Cathedral is a great church up in the New England area, which is a great place to learn more about. But I just want to start with you. Can you describe how you got to be the executive director of operations at the church?
Sure. It is kind of a long story, but my father is a senior pastor of The First Cathedral here in Bloomfield. Actually, Neil, I was destined for career in the music industry. And so went to school at University of Hartford, got a degree in Performing Arts Management. Journey was that during even my college career, I was working at R & B industry and working with different artist and thought I had a career either in becoming a record producer, record company owner, or possibly some kind of theater. So throughout that journey, the Lord was really talking to me and said that this was not where I was supposed to be, and became one of those situations where I was not at peace with where I was in life. So He ended up to situations, to circumstances, ended up calling me back to the church. And I made a dedication to my father and relocated from my Lord that I was meant to help my dad to grow the ministry and to really partake in the experience of a church in New England. So throughout that journey, I actually was hired as what you would call an AV Coordinator which grew into a media director. And through this journey of a couple of years, my father actually made me the assistant pastor of the church which is interesting. And through that, I was always one of those people who set goals. Then we had a great executive director of operations. He truly became a mentor to me and was really influential in terms of my growth. He used to set goals for me and I will try to accomplish those goals and really be excellent. It came time for him to depart from the ministry. He want to start his own company and he suggested that I would be the best fit as executive director of operations. And lo and behold, they gave me the opportunity. And I’ve been sitting in this position for the last 8 to 9 years. And it’s been wonderful journey, I tell you, wonderful journey. So we all never know the path that we all will take as we go through life.
Yeah, I’m so interested in, especially your college background in performing arts management and how that’s impacting, obviously, what you’re doing at the church now, but then giving you that leg up there. Why don’t you describe a little bit about what that means at The First Cathedral? What is the executive director of operations oversee there?
Sure. Here at The First Cathedral, they call me the executive pastor here at the church. So I’m really second in charge. All operations is under me, all staff. I have a staff of about 22, full time, and about another 25 to 30, part time. So I manage those aspects of church. On a Sunday, we probably have maybe 200 to 300 volunteers that I have to oversee also.
Yeah. It’s a huge job.
Yeah. It keeps me busy. So we have teams in terms of operations, from facilities, making sure the building is clean, maintenance and make sure the air conditions are up to par, technology. We have IT teams, media teams. We have a marketing staff. We actually have a full of time chef. So we have a catering service. In terms of operations, administrative staff, accountant staff. I have to read contracts and make sure everything is tie in and make sure that the church is going in the vision of our senior pastor, which is my father, Archbishop LeRoy Bailey. So I always say that my job is to make sure that the vision that our archbishop has is fulfilled.
Yeah. I hear that a lot from people in your position, that the vision is cast by, in your case, the archbishop, other places, is a senior pastor type thing. And the ExP, the executive pastor, the operations guy is the one who actually gets it done and brings it to there. Describe a little bit about how it is that you’re able to learn all these new things about things because, obviously, you come from a business background in the sense of performance management and different things. What are some things you had to learn along the way and what are some things you already knew coming into this role?
It’s a great question. I always say, when you put in the fire, you have to perform or you’re going to get burned. It’s one of those things where I am constantly burned. I’m learning from books online, from being in our environment, and I’m learning from our legal team, learning from people around me. But one of the greatest things that I’ve learned is to build a team that can accomplish the visions and goals that need to be pretty much accomplished. One thing I have learned, which has affected me the most in our ministry is really putting people, who is better than you, in position to accomplish your goal. You don’t have to know everything but you want to have smart people around you. You want to have people who have more experience, more insight around you, and let them really do their job and empower them to do what needs to be done in order to accomplish whatever their vision and goal is. Sometimes, as leaders, we get, how would you say, maybe we get intimidated. There’s people that know a little more than you. But I’m totally different. I think what has really impacted this ministry is having smarter people around you.
So I think that’s one piece. In terms of my background in performing arts, it is amazing how I’ve got all athletic. Because ministry is business. Although his ministry is also the back end of the business and making sure that we are being good stewards of what God has given us. Which means that we have to make sure that the money is put in the right places, that we’re doing the right things, making sure that we’re managing our people well, we do evaluations of our staff, making sure they are top notch, people are in the right place. Even the simple things of having an HR person to make sure that our files are tight in terms of labor laws, in terms of really developing our staff and trainings. So there’s so much to learn and so much to grow from being an environment like this.
Yeah. That’s really interesting to hear about this, especially, when you talk about putting that team together behind you that knows more than you do. And I think that’s important in that ExP role, that executive pastor, that you can’t do everything. You got to be able to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you in those areas. So it takes a lot of humility sometimes, but it’s great to hear how you are doing that.
Yeah. Yeah. As I said to my team, I say, look, on the flip side is, if you’re not doing the job and if I have to comment and start taking over, then we have an issue. So on the flip side, we really have to make sure that we manage and have the right people. It sounds harsh, but I heard it and I understanding more than ever that your hire slow and fire fair. So committing a team that is going to support the ministry, that’s going to help establish division, and the goal and the other piece in property. One of the most important pieces to me, now that I’ve gotten older have learnt a lot, is having people that love God first and love this ministry. Because they would go the extra mile to get our conviction done.
Well, you mentioned the technology earlier, which is something that we always talk about on this podcast. What are some things you guys use, not only from the performance standpoint, but also just the regular back end administrative stuff, what type of technology do you guys rely on to keep your church running?
Yeah. We use, from the finance department, we use Quickbooks. We use a company called Logos in terms of our database and making sure that we can communicate with our congregation. We have all the Adobe suites in terms of our marketing department. We make sure we do our books and we do everything in-house because we found here that it saves us money in terms of that. In terms of our media department itself, it has some of the best technology, the latest technology in terms of sounds, and video, and just media component. Even with Hfax systems, we try to make sure that we have the best software to manage the building for energy savings. So we try to keep our technology up. We try to keep up with the latest servers. We hold our servers in-house, but we use an outside IT company. We try to make sure that technology is in the forefront because now, we are in a technology generation. And not only social media wise, but also on the backend, in terms of making sure that we’re being good stewards.
So how do you stay up to date with — you’re talking about so many different areas, HR, finance, media. Who do you rely on? Do you rely on this IT company or are there other ways that you find that you stay abreast of what the latest trends are?
Yeah. Always just learning from other people. I have people who are in corporations that I talk to. I’m always reading. I’m going to conferences to learn more about what’s the latest and next trends. Even though we won’t do all the trends, we still need to learn them. It kind of gauge where your ministry needs to be. It’s interesting that there was a new letter that came out and said that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook is saying that Facebook will become the new church. And that’s an interesting statement in terms of social media technology. Just reading something like that trickens my mind to say, okay, what then we need to do, as a ministry, to get kind of ahead of that to make sure that we’re not losing members in defeat but also up on the social media side. So just little processes of thought. You always have to be thinking ahead. And my thing is, we shouldn’t be reactive or proactive.
Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And obviously, your church is very proactive, progressive when it comes to media stuff and being on the forefront of those things. Give us a little picture because a lot of people listening in maybe want to be on that edge, want to see there. What are some things that are concerning you or some innovations you’re looking for for the next, let’s say, five years you think are going to keep you ahead of that curve?
Even the statement that I just mentioned, for him to say something like that in terms of Facebook and social media, I’ve noticed that we as church, globally, are losing members in defeat. And people feel that they can have ministry at home. They call it a bedside ministry. They don’t have to come into the doors of the church anymore. That’s a huge concern. So for us, we have to make sure that we allow God to be God in this house and allow our ministry to be progressive to the point we are affecting people in the church where they want to come to the church instead of becoming a social media platform, or where they feel they don’t need to assemble in one place and fellowship. So that’s where we are looking down the road from the next five years. How do we really affect our young adults, our members who are transitioning? At the same time, we’re looking at how do we become stewards in terms of finances? What do we need to look at in terms of growing this ministry or growing the resources where we can help individuals? Also for us, as a cathedral, our number one concern is winning souls, and our number one concern is evangelizing. So how, in the next five years where we use technology, where we use our resources, where we use our leadership to evangelize, to win souls and allow God to really be manifested in everything that we do.
Wow. It’s really great to hear that you are asking those questions, that you are thinking through those things. I think every church needs to be thinking through them. So it’s great that you’re there, and I’m sure when we do this — we’ll do another one of these in a couple of years, and you can give us an update on your progress that’s going on. But, Pastor LeRoy, why don’t you close this out with some encouragement you can give to the other executive pastors out there, people who are hand on the back office stuff, what would you have to say to them as a means of encouragement?
Sure. Encouragement. Keep God first. As long as we keep God first, we know that we have always won the victory, and we know that every resource is going to be taken care of, we know that every problem is going to be taken care of, and we know that we are blessed in favor of God. And the most encouraging thing is to know that God is up there in our thought processes in terms of our leadership skills, and God has given us everything we need in order to be successful in our ministry.
Fantastic. It is great advise, great encouragement. I’m so excited that you’re able to share with us here. I hope we hear from you again soon, but all the best on your ministry and blessings to what you guys are doing there.
Thank you, Neil, and thank you for this opportunity to even talk.