Welcome back to the Monday Morning Church podcast. We have Willie Hill on the show today, coming to us from Revealing Truth Ministries out of Tampa, Florida. Great to have you on the show today, Willie.
Hi, Courtney! Thank you for having me.
Willie, you are the Director of Operations there at Revealing Truth Ministries. Tell us a little bit about how you came into your position there.
Well, it’s really an interesting story. It’s a life changing story so I’ll try to keep it brief, but I joined the Revealing Truth Ministries in 2006. I was just remember. My wife and immediately gut plugged in and began serving in various department. I was in Corporate America at that time. But shortly after joining the church, in prayer, God actually spoke to me and said, all of the things that we’ve done in corporate and all the trainings and successes I had in corporate, He wanted me to take to the kingdom. And so I prayed about what that meant and He expound a little further and said that He has many faithful in committed leaders in churches, but they don’t necessarily have the training to lead their people to achieve the vision that He’s given to the church. So with all the corporate trainings from Fortune 500 companies that He’s given me, He wanted me take that and take it so it could be used for the kingdom. And I said, wow, okay.
So I developed some leadership training. Then He actually led me to actually start a corporation where I could do leadership training throughout churches. Shortly after that, with no conversation between us, my church asked me to begin doing leadership training. And I was still in corporate at that time. But I was doing it once a month for our staff, for about a year and a half. And then our pastor asked me, shortly after that, to come here and work. And at that point, I had to say, I was at a pretty sweet place in my career. So I was thinking that God had lined everything up dutifully, and I was in a great place. And so I went home and prayed with my wife and say, God, I know you’ve done all this and thank you so much, but, are you telling me to leave right now? And that’s when God confirmed with me that everything He done for me through Corporate America, all the successes we had, it was all preparation for this very moment, and He indeed most prepared me to move to the kingdom. So with that confirmation, I put in my two-week notice and started working at the church two weeks later, and thus this position.
So that can be a difficult transition, moving from the pace and perspective of Corporate America, then moving into the church. So you have this very clear calling, which is definitely a huge help in that transition. But what were some of the things you had to unlearn or re-learn coming into this different environment?
Well, I guess, initially — I think God made it pretty clear, I’m not sending you there to turn this into a corporation. So I couldn’t come in with some cookie-cutter approach to every challenge that I see or every task that I see, to make it what I had seen or done before. So I had to really be spirit-led in exactly what was I to do with the things that I was seeing. And again, in prayer, Holy Spirit disclosed to me that, look, you have a two belt full of gifts and talents and everything that I prepared you with, but I will lead you into when to use those things as it furthers the vision of the church. So that was one of the things I had to kind of step back and just really be, I guess, be extra observant of things that I saw. Probably, I didn’t pull the trigger on things as fast as I typically would in Corporate because I knew, for me, there was a long curve, and I was also looking to see how the things that God had given me fit into furthering the vision of this church.
So tell me a little bit then about your position today. You’re 12 years into it. What falls under your responsibility and what’s the general makeup of the church structure?
Okay, well, I technically been working here for seven years now. Our church is actually a non-denominational church. It was founded by — our founder and his family are still the founding family of the church, and they all are part of church leadership. So that’s kind of a unique experience there, but it’s really cool. So with that experience, they’ve brought in people to devout the leadership team. We have a staff here at our home church in Tampa, and then we have a couple of extended campuses that are actually remote campuses here in Tampa, as well. And the staff here at the church actually runs all of those campuses. So we now have a couple of operators or three operators, to be specific, that are covering various aspects of the church. And mine, in particular, is the education program, as far as continuing to develop leaders, any expansion that we’re looking to do that has now become under my responsibility, as well as managing and executing the facilities.
So tell me about something you guys have got going on there at Revealing Truth Ministry, some kind of solution or best practice that you’ve really found success with.
One of the things, I think, that really helps us along is, one of the underlying missions of our church — visions of our church, actually, is developing leaders. So as we approach the actual growth of our staff, as well as the growth of our volunteers, we look at everybody as a leader and we approach it that way. So we set up training that are out there to help further you in wherever place you come to us. Wherever God sends you to us, we want to meet you in that place and then grow you to the abundance of everything that God intended for you. So that leadership focus matches exactly with, again, how God prepared me to come into this situation. But I think by doing that, you set yourself up to not only build for now and build a solid foundation and structure for now, but also set yourself up for the future. So you have a legacy that you can see coming and not get so caught up in the moment, but you’re constantly have a focusing forward. And the church now is in its 3rd generation, basically, of families here. So it’s definitely about legacy and continue to see — again, everything as a leader should survive a team so we can continue to build leaders for now and the future.
So now, what does that look like in your actual programming? Because that’s a very difficult thing for most churches. A lot of them really struggle with how to raise up leaders within the congregation. So what does that look like for you guys? What’s that programming like? Or the system.
So what we’re doing this actually, we’re in the middle of revamping that because we see, again, in this kind of third generation of the church, there’s some different approaches we need to take. With our vision, being just to produce holiness for everyone who comes through here to be able to live an abundant life the way that would happen, we zero in on our vision and really set a pattern for how you come into the church, we meet you there, and we give you a certain level of training to just help you understand the vision of the church, and then show you how the things that we do, the vision that we have for the church is an abundant life. How that will then benefit you in what God is showing you to do? So that’s anything from just basic leadership training. Again, with the things that I do, I’m certified and trained at several different areas. John Maxwell certification, Stephen Covey certification. So we can give you practical, real world training to help advance you personally, as well as, on your job and your family. And then we saw how that fits within the vision of the church. So that kind of can lead you to the various places where you can see how serving in certain aspects of the church will fulfill your personal vision along with this corporate vision. And of course, as we do that, that sets us up to put you in leadership positions as you continue to grow people and ultimately grow disciples that will not only be leading within the walls of this church, but will be leading out in the marketplace and beyond, as we continue to grow and expand the church.
And I find this interesting and really exciting, you don’t hear churches often refer to training their people. And you hear a lot of things about Sunday school programming and discipleship and all these things, which obviously, are very important. But I find it interesting that you keep going back to that word training. So where does that come in? Are these weeknight training sessions? Do you do this during the typical Sunday school time? When is this?
We actually will incorporate them in every aspect that we can see. For example, right now, we’re in the middle of a, what we call a discipleship training class. And those classes are — actually, we try to meet the needs of our folks regardless of where they are. So we have them broken into eight week series, and there’s three opportunities to take that class each week. So there’s a Sunday morning, a Monday evening, and a Saturday morning class. And you can choose based on what fits your schedule. And you do that for eight consecutive weeks to get through that series. And then for the discipleship classes specifically, we take eight weeks off and then we’ll start another level of those classes. So that’s just one example of how we do those classes. But we’re equipped to — again, meet you where you are, give you multiple opportunities because we understand work life, family life, and that balance you have to keep. But again, we are focused and make sure that everyone reaches that holiness love that God has for them. We have to give them those opportunities for them to take advantage of the training that God has shown us.
So what do you find, since you gig out on training, which I like, what do you find to be the most satisfying result of all this, so when it comes to seeing members in your church?
Probably the most satisfying is how we’re able to impact people’s lives beyond the walls of the church. I can specifically see from staff members who were here when I got here, and maybe are not working at the church anymore, but have advanced in their careers outside of the church and families have grown. And you can just see the fruit of what God had us plant in them, whether to doing their time working here or our staff. The same thing with our volunteers. Our volunteers or impacting the community in various ways. And yes, you have a youth program where they get a chance to go out and impact youth, and volunteer in other areas around the city. So to see those trainings actually come to life and become part of your everyday walking around existence, it’s probably the most fulfilling thing I can imagine. Because it’s not just something that we’re doing, we see fruit of what we’re doing, and the manifestation of what God told us we needed to do.
Now, that’s definitely exciting. I’m going to flip this on the other end now. What is something you guys got going on that you have not yet found a solution for?
I would say, probably a couple of things. A seamless type communication plan is always a bit of a challenge, not only with an organization that is multi-faceted, say, we have remote campuses and those things, but even just in keeping your congregation engaged and keeping them informed about everything that’s going on, especially as we mentioned, with all the classes and all the different services and different locations. So streamlining that communication to keep everybody in the know and to keep everybody engaged in what’s going on is probably one of our biggest challenges. And again, that’s a focal point for us this year, as well. We are a FellowshipOne church. That is our database. So with zero in on FellowshipOne this year, to really use it to its extremities, to make sure that we’re engaged in all of our people and having them engaged in the church as well. Because there is still, in our church, a bit of that transition technology-wise. From the old paper world or to getting into so much of the electronic things now. So we are utilizing FellowshipOne for the type of things, to do that engagement. And then within the staff, internally, getting things where we can do project management more effectively and all that. So we’ve done applications like Asana that we use as a project management tool. Really switched over to like a G-Suite environment, which is much more participative and sharing of work between not only staff, but also being able to share with volunteers. And so using technology really to keep us together, to keep us engaged, and to keep us in team, and all on the same page is one of the things that — it’s a huge challenge, but it’s something we just suck out to this year to really try to treat up.
So, Willie, where do you go to make sure you’re staying sharp in your role?
Everywhere I possibly can I’m a big reader. I’m just a student of this constant growth. That’s my philosophy. It’s live to grow and grow to live. So I’m constantly doing workshops and going to various places. I look to churches who are maybe in the place where we’re trying to get to, and I can go on visit them and talk to their leaders and learn from them. Even just from a leadership standpoint, again, I mentioned some of the people who have been students of — corporately, from Maxwell and Jim Dornan. I’m constantly reading and learning from those, and incorporate those into what we do. So it’s a continuous line process for me. I want to always have that 2 boat full. No matter what God exposes us to, I’m able to pull from that and be ready to execute on where he expose us.
So what kind of encouragement would you give to others in church leadership?
Well, I guess I said, to use myself as an example, but what I would love to have big curve along the way. But just some of the things that I’ve learned, number one, I would say definitely stay in the word so you can stay spiritually with your pastor. You don’t just work at the church, in my opinion. You can’t just work at the church. You have to be spiritual and you have to know what’s going on. Again, back to the two belt reference, so you’ll be able to effectively use all of your learnings, and talents, and experiences in tune with the pastors, not just a machine that they have to try to make fit into the vision. Now, you have to the spiritually be attached and engaged in that business. And then all of those tools can be used guided by the Holy Spirit, and what is the best experience that I’ve had that will help us execute on this situation successfully. The other thing I would say is constantly hone your own skills. Again, I keep that growth mentality because it keeps me confident. I have some friends of mine who made the same transition that I did, but they didn’t stay in the church work for more than like a year or so. Because I think it’s so easy to get discouraged if you come from corporate the way I did, and thinking that maybe the experiences that you have don’t really fit in the church because you face challenges that you didn’t face in corporate. You have to deal with a lot volunteers when you don’t have the same leverage dealing in the volunteer that you did in the corporate environment. So you have to constantly hone your skills. So you maintain confidence in who you are and what God is put in you. So you don’t lose confidence when do you see the challenges and things that you are going to face, not if you’re going to face in a church environment. But I think if you stay in the word, continue to grow your skills, it gives you the confidence you need to stay with it and not get discouraged.
That’s fantastic. Willie, thanks so much for being on the podcast today.
Courtney, thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed it.