We polled a wide range of blue collar works, college students, non-profit leaders, teachers, pastors, seminary & university presidents, consultants, moms/dads and business leaders. We received over one hundred unique answers to the following question:
Here’s my conversation executive pastors Bryan Carter of Crossroads Cincinnati, Greg Gilmore of Owensboro Christian Church, Chris Hahn of Southland in Lexington, KY and Bart Stone of Momentum Church in Atlanta. All went to college together, all began in kids ministry (I didn’t actually even know that until this conversation), and all have sustain ministry for the better part of 25 years.
Perhaps you have a memory of climbing up to the top of the high dive, or walking to the edge of the cliff over looking the lake below. Your friends are there urging you on. Suddenly, your legs feel wobbly, you let out a nervous chuckle, and you think to yourself “I can’t do this. Perhaps I should climb back down.”
My pathway to leadership began in 10th grade, in student ministry. I was approached by my student pastor to lead worship, as well as leading other groups of students in various event settings – Wednesday nights and Sundays as a volunteer. I loved it. I loved leading, but at that point in my life, it was more just something for me to do than really thinking about it as a ministry, let alone as a career. At that time, I never considered ministry to be an option.
Five years ago, we led a series of round table discussion with dozens of church leaders with over 800 years of combined leadership experience in small and large churches in a variety of settings. We asked two questions: a.) what are you looking for in your next hire? and b.) why didn’t that last hire work out like you thought it was going to?
A commitment to being this type of church is at the core of all we do. Perhaps you could evaluate your church or organization through these six criteria that have now become values that we try to live in to with our partner churches.
How would you rate your church in owning these six values:
If in your coaching & developmental conversation time you’ve hit a road block, and when you ask “How are you this week?” you are getting a predictable blank stare or the same old “fine" then perhaps this could help.
I didn’t plan to work at a church. Ministry kind of chose me, in college. I was actually pursuing my finance and economics degree, but I always had a passion for music. I was creating and producing music in my dorm room when out of nowhere, a long-time family friend asked if I wanted to be part of a creative arts internship at Verve Church in Las Vegas.
All my passions, dreams and desires have always pointed directly at ministry. I certainly looked for ways around it, but God simply laid a vision and passion on my heart to be a pastor some way, somehow.
From a very early age I loved to lead, build and create. Whether I was conning my parents into buying something from my “art store” (the bottom bunk of my bed) or leading a group of guys at church, I was always creating and leading. It’s what somehow landed me a job in college working for a rapidly growing church plant, doing everything from creating the student ministry to running the fully mobile setup team …
I chose ministry because I was honestly searching for something more meaningful to do with my life, craving to be part of something bigger. When the opportunity to become a Student Ministry Resident at Rocky Mountain Christian Church came along, I saw it as a happy accident. It made me realize: Why not me? Why not my life?
My dad is an incredible leader and a powerful developer of people, so I’ve got this theory that he’s been developing me since I could talk. He saw potential in me and made sure I was surrounded by excellent leaders, and put in situations where I could learn how to lead. As a church planter’s kid, I stared volunteering in the nursery at age eleven. I served on our production team and eventually joined the worship team.
I’m now entering my second year at Centerburg Church of Christ, and I feel like a whole new door is opening. Different leadership aspects are starting to become more natural to me. I still struggle with confidence in myself, but I’ve seen a lot of growth in this area, too. I’m even becoming more of a people person. How I handle difficulty is helping shape who I am as a leader.
I now serve as an apprentice in young adults ministry and missions at Crosspoint Alliance Church in Lewiston, Idaho. I know I’m very much at the starting line, but I’m confident my leadership experience is equipping me in more ways than I know. So far, it’s been awesome being on staff and I already feel like I’m making a difference.
I tried to walk away from my calling. It was the team at Leadership Pathway that pulled me out of that pain. Sometimes, the call still feels impossible, but God is teaching me that He deals exclusively in impossible matters.
While still in high school, I kept getting opportunities for leadership and activities in my home church. I just kept saying yes, which eventually landed me in the position of being the “go-to” worship leader on Sunday mornings. I was completely in over my head, but there were some great people there challenging and encouraging me to go for it.
It’s going to take a new kind of leader to lead in the local church. And we need them now more than ever before. You don’t have to look intently to notice that our world is changing. As issues continue to get more complicated and divisive, church leaders are faced with new questions and challenges that need to be answered by a new generation.
This is what drives our passion for creating church leaders at Leadership Pathway. What we do is fueled by a passion to see a new generation of leaders prepared for ministry through the local church.
Sometimes “paying it forward” doesn’t take decades. Just ask worship leader Brandon Grant of Eastside Community Church in Richmond, KY. “I was headed to the University of KY to pursue a law degree,” says Brandon, “and then my pastor challenged me to think about ministry.”
People ask all the time where do you find residents? So here's a quick scan of the most recent applicants and where they came from:
Loyola University with a Masters in International Studies College drop-out who has been working a job for the last 3 years Auburn University Grad with a Business degree From within their own church Graduate of a prestigious Small Liberal Arts College
We are always trying to find ways to succinctly say what we care deeply about. We hold six shared values with the churches which we partner with: Coaching, Obligation, Endgame, Filling the Gaps, Best Practices, and Leadership Development.
Leadership Pathway (Lp) is thrilled to partner with Perimeter Church of Atlanta. We are searching for their next worship resident. You can read more about that opportunity here. We thought we’d pick the brain of Leah Sowell, the Director of the Residency program and learn all we could about their journey doing residency at Perimeter.