Yesterday we had the privilege of going up to the Peninsula to visit with the team of Newlife Church in Kitsap County. They currently have 5 campuses, all with live speakers (no video at this point), and have a goal of 14 campuses in the future. The ironic part of this story is that we heard their Lead Pastor, Wes Davis, speak at a church planter’s conference 7 years ago. We decided his model was not “us” and didn’t think much about it again. However, over the last seven years, we have become more and more similar in our structure and now I can completely see us mimicing a lot of their systems and strategies. I guess it just goes to show you that you can never rule anything out because God might just surprise you as you get a little further down the journey and define yourself more clearly.
Here are some things we took away from the day:
- 4:30 am is way too early to get up.
- We have visited a lot of churches over the last seven years and talked to a lot of pastors about their systems. If you are a church leader who doesn’t ask a lot of other church leaders thousands of questions, I’m not sure what you are thinking.
- We need to redefine our pipeline of communication and structure. With one campus it worked to have every leader in every meeting and communicate on a broad basis. As we move forward in our multisite system, we will need to redefine and move people to the right meetings to get the most out of people’s time and talents.
- Wes is a master at getting young leaders doing top level ministry in a way that creates boundaries. Two things are true: young leaders need to be used in amazing ways and young leaders do not have the maturity and wisdom that comes with decades of ministry experience. I think Wes may have found a way to have the best of both realities by creating leadership roles that are significant within a framework where he still provides spiritual leadership and training.
- Newlife Church is riding on the backs of a small team of staff that most people don’t ever see on stage. That was particularily interesting to me. Sarah, their “get crap done” person, literally runs that church behind the scenes. She’s not a pastor, a pastor’s wife, or called to preach. She is, however, a powerhouse of organization and a sharp thinker. She is empowered to make ridiculously important decisions in conjunction with Dan, who is basically in charge of making sure the big picture is in alignment. Together they carry the weight of the systems of running the church while Wes carries the spritual weight.
- Dan constantly asks questions. You can get a lot of clarity when you have to explain your thinking out loud to someone. If you sound like an idiot, you might want to work on your thinking in that area. Thanks, Dan, kind of.
Many thanks to Newlife for just letting us be flies on the wall yesterday. We learned a lot and plan to be better leaders tomorrow than yesterday! That’s always the goal!