Welcome back to the Monday Morning Church podcast. Troy McCoy is joining us today from Calvary Christian Center and Daytona, Florida. Great to have you on today, Troy.
So, Troy, tell us a little bit about how you came into your position there at Calvary Christian Center.
Okay. Well, it started when I graduated college from Florida State with a degree in Business Marketing. I moved to Tampa to sell computers for NCR Corporation. But I happened to go to a church there where I met a gentleman, who is now our senior pastor, which is Pastor Jim Raley here in Daytona. But we got to be friends and we hung out a lot together. So I left there, though, about three and a half years later to go with a startup direct marketing company in Atlanta. So I was there for about 10 years. But I believe I kind of had that planned out because during that time, I was involved a lot of outreach in Atlanta and I never had done that before. So it was something that I believed that God had prepared me for and I didn’t even know why. Because of those years later, my friend Jim called me and said, hey man, there’s this church in Daytona Beach that’s calling me. And they’re kind of a small church. I’m not going to go there, but hey, if I do, you going to go with me and we laughed. But, guess what? God didn’t laugh.
And it all panned out and we both came together. It was a very difficult time. The church was in dire financial stress. They had had church split. As a matter of fact, separately, he and I both were warned not to come here because of the fights and the breaks and the splits and the financial difficulties. They were down to 300 people, meeting in a gym. They have moved to a new piece of property and meet in a gym with about 300 people. I think it was like one black couple in the whole church. And we’re all about diversity. So we came in together and was like, we were back to back. He was fighting the spiritual front. I was fighting the business front and trying to do all we could. But the thing about it was, God used my outreach at that point in time because I said, you know what? We’re just going to go in the community love them people. So we started doing outreaches to the homeless, to inner city. We even went to Bethune Cookman University who’s in town, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, just started reaching and loving on people of all kinds. So now, we fast forward to where we are today, which is 20 years later, and the church has two new building sets and 3000 people, three campuses total, a school, a college, all of those things. And we’re so diverse now. God has really helped us. We have such a mixture of people because we believe true unity in a community begins with adversity. And we were very intentional to have diversity at Calvary. So there’s all the different types of people groups here, and we’re just really proud of that.
Alright, well, now I’ve got a couple questions for you. And the first question is, why did you still move to Daytona and come to this church? For punishment, or a very specific word from the lord, or what was it?
Actually, I have a business mind, so I’m not one of those super spiritual type people. That is just not who I am. I’m not saying there’s wrong with that, but that’s not me. I mean, you might have seen three times in my life that I said, God really spoke to me to do something. And I really believe it. I believe it was all about heart. I believe it so much that my wife and I sold our home in Atlanta before we even flew to Daytona to see what this church would like. It could have been a shack, as far as we knew. We didn’t care because we believe. And I have my pastor in Atlanta got a little bit upset with me actually, and said, I can’t believe you’re doing that. You don’t even know what you’re doing. Why are you doing it? I said, because I really believe that God spoke to my heart. And he said, yeah, but what if you go down there — my friend, Pastor Raley was an Evangelist at the time. He goes, what if he just goes in there and then he takes back off on the road again, evangelizing? What are you going to do? Because I had a business I had to move. I had all kind of things. He said, what are you going to do? I said, I believe I heard God. But guess what? If I did, and I pay the consequences. But I don’t believe I did. And then God, of course, took it from there.
Now, you came into this church so, obviously, there’s a lot of issues to start with. But you also came at a time, 20 years ago, when the position of an Executive Pastor or someone who’s more business minded in the church wasn’t quite as well-developed as it is today. So did you find you had to fight people’s perceptions also what a pastor should be when you came on?
It was a little bit different thing because I had my business I had to move. So I had to move my business here and I had to hire people. So I was dealing with that front and then also trying to help. So what I actually did, as I told my friend Jim, I said, look, I’m going to help you as much as I can. I can’t come on full time right now because I have to run my business, but I’m going to come in and help. Of course, I put it in full time hours. You know how that goes. But I said, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I don’t want to be called a volunteer because nobody’s going to listen to me. So give me $100 a week and I’ll run the whole business side and the executive side, and you can just concentrate on the spiritual side. So that’s where I started because I had to run my business, as well. So during that time, and I was putting, no exaggeration, 70 to 80 hours a week, trying to do both until we grew to the extent that I couldn’t. But by that time, I had raised people like in my business that we ever to take over. But in the very beginning, I was very business-like. I’m a ‘get it done’ kind of guy. So I came in pretty tough. And that’s another thing. You’ll probably get to it down the road but just the way I handle people back then, I was so focused and so business back then that I was coming in and I would tell the secretaries, hey, do this, do this, do this and I walk away. I wouldn’t say, hello. I was just so focused. But man, I learned that I got to be a little bit nicer than that. And then I’m a whole different guy today than I was 20 years ago.
Okay, so fast forward to now, how is the church structured and what exactly do you do today? What falls under your responsibility?
Alright. So the way it works is our Senior Pastor is the leader and the visionary. And then it’s me, which is the Executive Pastor. But then we have pastors over all the ministries. Youth pastors, children’s pastors, and campus pastors. And we have a school that has about 500 kids in it that that headmaster reports to me as well. We actually have a college that has about 37, 40 kids in it, and those people report to me. So they all basically report to me and I help all of them in that way, which is a lot. But our senior pastor also, he communicates with some of them directly too. So he’s very available. So he and I being friends is such a major advantage because we kind of keep that. And then obviously, I have a business manager, and then, of course, people in the accounting team because we run all the accounting for all the campuses, and our school, and everything. But I’m ultimately responsible. I’m the one that presents the budgets to the church and our board. I’m the one that to makes sure that we’re on point. It’s all at my end of line responsibility, even though I do have people helping me. I don’t do it by myself.
Now, as you mentioned before, you all believe very strongly that true unity comes from diversity, and a lot of churches want diverse people in the congregation. But you all have a diverse staff as well. So tell me a little bit about that team and about some of the dynamics there of having a staff that comes from very different perspectives.
I’m really glad that you asked that question because that’s what we’re really most proud of. Like I said, we came here, there was two African-Americans in the church and the rest of the church was white, and mainly older as well, which is totally against — we were young. I was 34, and the pastor was 33. And we come to a church that probably has an average age of 55. So it was not something that we would have chosen. That’s why I said it was God, because we would have never chosen to come here. And we made an intentional effort. So it’s not something that happens by accident. It was very intentional. And we went out to where other churches wouldn’t go. We literally do what the Bible says and went to the highways and byways. We were in neighborhoods, all over Daytona, all over Ormond and the surrounding areas. We were roving on people from everywhere. We made an intentional effort to go after the college. If you know Bethune Cookman University who is predominantly African-American, we connected with the staff there, the chaplains. Even the president started coming to our church. The athletic director started coming to our church. It was big. As in Embry-Riddle, as well, and their Aeronautical University, which was Asian, mainly white and things like that. But we were able to connect with everybody. So like right now, our church is probably 40% African-American, maybe 10 or so percent Hispanic, and then another white and a little mixture of others. So we have a really diverse group, and that’s what we’re proud of, but it was all by an effort that we went out because that’s what we wanted to have.
Now, sticking on some of these exciting things going on for you guys, what is some kind of solution or best practice that you all implemented there, that you’ve really found success with?
Well, we have a lot through the years, obviously. But I’ll tell you, I’ll start with what we’re doing right now because this is something that anybody can do in our church at this moment is we were pretty early adapters in certain systems. We’ve always been the ones that go out there and say, let’s just go for it. For instance, text giving today, everybody does it. But when we started it, we were one of the first ones that ever did it. Online giving, we’re one of the first ones that ever did it. So we’ve been doing that for years and years and years. But here’s the deal. I wanted more. Because my thought was that here we are, we have all these text numbers that people are texting the giving, and we can’t communicate back to them. It was a one way street. They could give, but that’s it. I couldn’t do anything back.
So I started researching. And I said, there’s got to be a better way. First, I’ve tried with our current company that said it couldn’t be done. So I begin to research. There’s got to be a better way. There’s got to be a better way. And we found one. And we found this company, and we just recently migrated to them, but they’re able to do all the text giving, the ACH giving, credit cards, it doesn’t matter, anything. Whether it be web, whether it be online, whether it be kiosk, whether it be text, all together in one system, which is great. But what I wanted to do is communicate back, which means I wanted to say — what if, we’re in Florida, let’s just say we got a hurricane and we have to cancel services. I want to get information out to our people as fast as I possibly can. Of course, I can email them and I could put it on our website, but I want to text people. We have their text numbers. Why can’t we do that? But now we can. We can text back and say, hey, we’re not going to have a service on Sunday, or, hey, we’re going to have a special service, or we’re going to do this. And another thing, we can do auto responders like to our guest, we could say, hey, just text word ‘guest’ to this number, and immediately they’ll get an auto response of all of our guest information. So things like that. It has event tracking. There’s no reason to have special event brides or planning center events. It all does it right in the giving program. It does a lot of different things like that inside the program that does it in one thing, where normally, you’d have to use three or four. So I believe that was a big deal for us recently that we’ve done.
Alright. So you got to share the name of the company. Who is it?
I didn’t know if you want me to but I will say they are good. Catalystgiving.com. They do a real good job. And we even had something we wanted – I hate to brag on this because I don’t have any stock in the company or anything, but there was something we really wanted to do. And so I was telling them and I said, listen, this is just really big for us. And he goes, I’ll tell you what, we’ll have that bill for you in 14 days. I’m telling you, the developer actually wrote it for us. And so they just such easily get along with good people.
I will definitely put a link to them in your description so people can access it. Now, one thing, though, about being able to respond to people with text messages, it’s easy to abuse that. Obviously, you have to show some restraint. What kind of messages are you mostly sticking to when it comes to sending people messages?
I’m glad you said that, as well, because that is extremely important. And I make a commitment to our — I stand in the pulpit and make a commitment to our congregation. I said, we will not bombard you a text. So what we do is we save it for specific times. Let’s just say, we’re going to have a massive, a huge service that’s coming up and we’re renting a stadium, we’re doing all kind of stuff. So we’ll save it for a massive time that we can get the full effect of it. So they may not get a text for two months, then I’ll send, again, a text. As long as they get one every now and then, they’re cool. But if you start doing that a couple of times a week, you’re done. They’re going to start opting out.
I’m going to flip this over then. What is something that you haven’t yet found a solution for? Though, it sounds like from your personality, you’re probably already researching it.
Yeah, we are. Another one recently we’ve done is — I know you’ve heard of Basecamp. But we never really used it. We’re like, I don’t know. But we started doing some research. You know what we found out? Things like our outreach that we’re going to do, we’re going to rent out a stadium in Daytona and have this massive Easter egg hunt, we’re going to have helicopters dropping eggs, and all these skydivers flying in. You got all of this stuff. But here’s the thing, that’s a massive amount of planning, right? So what Basecamp does is, it puts all of our planning in one place. So every department knows exactly what the other department is doing and where they are with it. There’s deadlines on it. So if they don’t meet there or a certain department doesn’t mean they’re deadline and what they have to do, it flags. And we go, hey, what’s going on? Where are we? So we all stay on the same page. And you don’t have to worry. If your department is doing something and you’re waiting on another department, you don’t have to worry about, okay, are they done with it? Where are they with it? You just look on Basecamp. There it is. It will tell you exactly what’s going on. And every single time they complete a task, or even they’re involved in a task, they’re noting it. So everybody’s on the same page at the exact same time, which makes a massive event like that a whole lot of easier to take off.
I think you’re an app developer’s dream because a lot of people use these services but don’t utilize them to their full capacity. So obviously, you guys are really serious about making sure your IT and applications are up to date. What does your IT department look like?
I hate to keep saying this, but we just changed that again. We are always changing stuff. That’s the one thing that we do. 20 years, and I would tell our guys because I don’t care if I’m here 20 years or 50 years, we’re going to change. We’re going to move. We’re going to do things. We had an IT department here that did things, but our school is so big, we’re so big and it’s just difficult. So what we did, believe it or not, just yesterday, and that’s true, we had a meeting and finally made a decision to bring in an outside IT company. So if anything happens on our campus, whether it be our computers mess up, an end user or the server goes down, all we have to do is make a phone call and they take care of it for us. And we’re able to do it in such a way, those guys that are listening that are very financial minded, where we also are very financial minded. We negotiated with them. Whereas, they took over our phone systems, our internet services and save us so much money and gave us an increased amount of speed. Whereas, it will only end up costing us probably an extra $500 a month. And we got everything we wanted. So it really worked out.
So Troy, aside from your researching prowess, where do you go to make sure you’re staying sharp at your role?
Well, a lot of times, I know you say we have to get in Executive Pastor groups of that, but in the beginning days of here, it was just survival mode. So I didn’t have anybody to talk to or nobody to learn from. So who do I have to learn from? There’s books everywhere, right? So these people are putting out books. The guys that are traveling and speaking, they’ve got books. So I started reading them. Leading from the Second Chair, Roger Patterson and Mike Bonem. And that really helped me a lot from my position and how that works. And Dare to Serve by Cheryl Bachelder. Bachelder, I think, the last name is. She is phenomenal in terms of how to have servant leadership. As a matter of fact, all of our staff is going through that book together, right now, even though I read it a while back. So all of those different things. And of course, the podcast nowadays is so easy. You can learn so much with podcast. You got Andy Stanley, the Craig Groeschel leadership podcast. And of course, yours is awesome because it gives it from an Executive Pastor point of view. So you can see leadership and then you can see it from all different points of view. So there’s so much learning tool about there now, there’s no reason people can’t learn to try.
Troy, what encouragement would you give to others and church leadership?
Some 20 years of experience, I go right back to Luke 6:31 or so. Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you. Like I told you, when I came in here, I was all business. I’m in all business. And I didn’t think about how I treated people. I would just get the job done kind of guy. And what I realized through the years is, this is a church. And yes, it’s a business and we run it like a business. There’s nobody on the outside is going to take advantage of us and they found that out since we’ve been here. But I’m going to tell you something. You’ve also got to learn how treat people. So with our employees and even with our congregation, we treat people with the utmost respect, and we earn their trust. So three years, we’ve earned their trust. So I’m not bragging, but I can pretty much talk to any employee or any person on congregation. I can pretty much tell them anything, even very difficult things. But see, they know that I have their best interest at heart. And because I have their best interest at heart, I’m not going to try to hurt them. I’m going to talk to them with respect. I’m going to treat it the right way and they know that I’m going to do that even though it is some of the difficult conversation I have to have with people through the years. But your influence will be much, much greater when you treat people the way the Lord would want Him treated and the way you want to be treated yourself.
Troy, thanks so much for being on the podcast today.
Thank you so much.