5 Areas for Continuous Improvement as an Exec Pastor

It’s easy to get caught up in the doing of a job, be overly-led by a job role/description, maybe even make the Executive Pastor [XP] role too operational. In my opinion it is much more than just keeping an eye on the budget and all that stuff, although they are very important.

Here are 5 things I work on and remind myself of often which I hope help me in my role as an XP .

To Be a Better Listener. I acknowledge this is a much needed area of improvement for me. I like to give an opinion, yet I am learning that the XP role requires a greater willingness to listen. It has to be about helping others feel like they have been heard and understood, even if the answer is still no or not yet.

To Become More Solution-Orientated. This doesn’t mean I fix everything but I can give time and attention to a challenge or idea that others may not be able to. Sometimes this can involve some tough conversations, asking the difficult questions and digging in to understand something properly. The bigger challenge is doing so in as graceful was as possible.

To Develop Others. I am always reminding myself, what we do is all about people. I  might love a good system or process to help move things forward, however there is no substitute for being more focused on growing bigger people.

To Make it More Fun. I mentioned in church the other Sunday how I used to be the life and soul of the party and that maybe I have allowed an appropriate level of sarcasm to become cynicism. There’s an honest ouch! Life should definitely be more fun.

To Always Know the Heart of my Lead Pastor. Probably the most essential. Knowing what to say yes or no to depends on me knowing and understanding my Lead Pastors heart. This means good, regular, open and honest communication, alongside the need for a strong trust-filled working relationship. If I don’t know him well enough then I cannot act on his behalf with any confidence.

I am here to serve my Lead Pastor and his vision, which is all about God and building the local church.  It’s about being able to work well with others, including people in the process, in the decisions and empowering them to make things happen.

If you are in a similar role, what would you add to this? If you are a Lead/Senior Pastor, what would your comments be?

A Day in the Life of Xcel

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Sunday ~ what a day. It doesn’t happen by chance. We pray like it depends on God but BIG UP to the teams that work like it depends on them!!

Here’s some of the things I love about my church…

3 locations. Multiple teams. All about lifting the name of Jesus and with a desire to see transformation in local community. It’s a beautiful thing. The willingness of so many volunteers to come early for set up, sound check and to pray together.

Troubleshooting. Things don’t always run smoothly. The ability to take on an issue and just get on with it, no fuss, no big panic, it is fantastic. Here’s the best thing too, most people wouldn’t have even realised that anything went wrong. Me included sometimes.

Worship. Such an excitement about the place as we get ready to record a live album on Sunday 11th September. Checkout this short clip from yesterday and another new song. Save the date!!

That we are building something for God. Never underestimate the power of a big vision to engage. The Xcel 2020 vision is bold but full of opportunities for some ‘only God’ moments. There is a place for everyone to participate.

The people. Just love the heart of the people. Love that they are with us on the journey. I know we may not always agree on the best way to do things and that’s ok. That’s family. We can have our discussions and then we get on with it. People are what this is all about. Connecting with Jesus. Connecting with others within Xcel. Connecting with those who don’t Jesus yet. It doesn’t get any better than that.

I could go on. The adventure is on and I am glad to be a part of it. Why not join us this Sunday and find our for for yourself what all the fuss is about. Check out the website

So, You Want to be a Leader?

Over the next few Monday’s I’ll share some thoughts around leadership which I consider important for me in my role. In fact they would be considered important for any leadership role. 

I take no credit for them as they are not new but they are all a good reminder to those of us who are leaders and those who want to be.

1. Leaders Develop

You want to be a leader – then you better get learning. 

For me this means 4 things – praying, seeking God, listening to other leaders and reading. 

They don’t happen by chance, I have to make time for them and that can involve sacrifice, inconvenience and a whole heap of challenge. 

I wasnt always good at them. I have had to be disciplined about them so I am not disqualifying myself from what God has for me, now and in the future. All are essential for wisdom, knowledge and understanding. 

Plus I think they help make me credible, after all, who wants to follow someone who is more of a ‘lone ranger’ and about do as I say, rather than do as I do?

What’s your thoughts around these development questions…

  • Where does your growth come from?
  • What are you reading?
  • Who have you given permission to speak directly into your world?
  • What has God been saying to you lately?
  • Why would someone want to follow you?

Here’s what I do when I notice I’m not learning…I challenge myself to set aside time to learn. I grab a book about leading well in life and read a chapter, take 15 minutes to pray, get a devotional on the go, ask another leader some questions about how they do life and glean some wisdom. 

How do you develop and grow?

Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics [Exec Pastor Blog]

Ok. So this is a curious title. It is a well known phrase that describes the persuasive power of numbers, especially to prove certain things. We are not about that but in our weekly meeting tomorrow we are talking numbers. They are not our primary driver, but they are important. 

Nobody wants to think that we don’t care about the finances. We track the income and expenditure – you would expect that. 

Yet counting people and tracking numbers when it comes to people can often offend people. I think that’s because we don’t understand their importance….

We count people because people count. It is a cliche statement but it doesn’t make it any less true. 

We need to know if we are reaching people. The great commission is about making disciples, so the right and difficult question is ‘are we?’ Numbers can help us in that

We can feel like things are going well but the numbers rarely lie. We can always choose the right ‘period of time’ to make us look good. Neither are acceptable. Get the figures in front of you and be honest about what they tell you. 

We don’t substitute faith for numbers. We are still a faith church. We are still trusting God for the future. We pray like it depends on God. Yet we still work hard and make sure that what we are putting our energy and resources towards is actually making a difference. 

So today on my first day back I gathered those figures together ready for discussion in the morning. I can’t share the stats but I can say this…things are healthy. 

5 Things on my Desk Today

For the last few weeks I have not consistently been at my desk, which means I haven’t necessarily been able to focus in the way that I would like to. After all, most jobs require that you get stuff done.

One thing is for sure, there is never a shortage of jobs that need attention. The key is to make sure that I am doing things that others cannot do, but also to have an awareness, on behalf of my Lead Pastor, of what else is happening across locations and ministries.

I’ve been blessed to travel to Berlin for an Executive Team Conference, to Bangalore to spend time with Immy and help in the preparation for our location over there. Then it was Conference week for us and Influence 2016, which by the way was amazing. That was followed by last week which was a Learning Communities event, you can read about in previous posts, plus both my dad and my father-in-law were in hospital too.

So today I was at my desk, with the mother of all to-do lists, nicely colour coded to show what was for me, what was for a meeting and what could be delegated. Having said that though, 6 things remain on my desk….

Systems – looking at what are the right meetings to be taking place, team get togethers, agendas, maybe even some of the church journey for people who are part of Xcel.

Website/Communications – we lost our site earlier this year and I am hopeful that this week will see the launch of a new xcelchurch.com. At to that a plan for the best way to communicate what we do each week to team and congregation.

Budgets – to organise and communicate with greater effectiveness and then monitor in the same way too.

Job Roles – on behalf of the Board, thoughts about job roles for myself, other staff, Congregational Pastors, Key Leaders and looking at possible future positions too.

Xcel Bangalore – alongside other members of the Pastoral Team, making sure Immy is equipped, encouraged and inspired with all that he needs to make this new location work.

Being able to do what I am passionate about is a privilege and I don’t take the responsibility lightly. My energies are all into playing my part in building the local church, doing whatever needs to be done. 

What’s your passion? How are you living it out every day?

My Week: Monday

Conference weekend was AMAZING. So much to think about so why not relax, chill and think about all that God has been saying. 

Or not.

Maybe head off to a 3 day Learning Community with 49 other churches to share and learn together about how to grow church. 

I’m looking forward to gleaning some wisdom, some ideas and some inspiration. My desire as Exec Pastor had always been to do the best I can, so times like these, though tiring are really beneficial. I’ll share some thoughts as we go through. 

Time to Get Back to It

Been a strange day today. No sunshine. No warmth. No horns continually beeping. Less traffic. A lot less traffic. Way fewer people too. And no Immy either.

Yet, like I said yesterday, I am glad to be home and back to it. After some family stuff a quick visit to the office.

Time to catch up. Talk Bangalore with my Lead Pastor. Send some messages. Sort a bunch of little things for the weekend and Conference.

Time to think ahead. Just plan the week and organise myself. If I don’t know what needs to be done then how do I know if I have done the right things. The danger is just a lot of energy expended on good things but not necessarily the best things.

Time to reflect. Last week was amazing. It’s surreal to think that I was there hanging out with the incredible Immanuel. So it’s good to reflect, remember and then act on the right things.

Time to be the best me. Not wanting to sound arrogant but this is my heart. To be the best I can be and what I am supposed to be doing. Check out my previous posts about this idea.

Time for some more writing. I am behind on my goals and that frustrates me. Nothing but procrastination and being busy with other ‘stuff’.

Time for some sleep. Not quite yet, as I write this it’s only 4pm. A good sleep is important to keep you fresh and healthy, part of helping us in all these other endeavours.

What is it time for you to get back to?

Heading Home

Our trip is coming to an end today. We are making our way to the airport via the massive Pheonix Shopping Mall. Thank you to Immy for looking after us so brilliantly and for our driver Stalin. I would not have wanted to be driving here.

  
I didn’t really know what to expect before I came so it’s difficult to comment. The extremes of wealthy and poverty are evident, especially as I sit in Mall with every designer label you could name. 

The traffic is insane. No one stops for anyone. Crossing a road here would be like walking across the A1. 

The weather for us has been beautiful, sun shine every day and 35°. Can’t wait to be back in Aycliffe and a lovely 5° (not). 

  
Shopping for furniture was fun, bartering for the best price. We got there in the end and bought Immy a bed and mattress. 

Thanks for praying for us and checking in with all our social media posts. Here’s to the future of Xcel Bangalore. Why not be a part of the mission trip in August and you can experience it all for yourself firsthand.