Do volunteer leaders need to be members?

I’ve almost always said yes to this question, minus a few exceptions, but I’m curious what you guys think.

If someone wants to be a volunteer leader at your church do you think they should also be members of the church? Do they need to come every weekend? Where do you draw the line?

There’s a difference between working the parking lot and mentoring students, so where does that play out?

Maybe a scenario would help: If you were a youth pastor and you had a great leader who led a small group for some of your students every Wednesday night, but went to the church down the street on Sundays, would you be OK with it?

Let me know what you think!

Moving back to Arizona

Here comes some big news in the world of Lindsay and Ryan: we’re heading back to Arizona next month 🙂

It was a very difficult decision to leave our church here in California, but we know that it is the right one.

We’re headed to Superstition Springs Community Church (soon to be Mission Community Church), where I will lead the Student Ministries team and focus most of my attention on the High School Ministry.

I wasn’t looking to leave Calvary, but when the invitation came to join the staff at SSCC we had to say yes. SSCC has been a really special place for Lindsay and I for a few years now. I was meeting with the lead pastor there to offer my time as a volunteer even while I was on staff at Cornerstone- I just loved it there. And Lindsay just glows when she’s there, and I like it when Lindsay glows.

Our time at Calvary has been so good. We love the staff and students so much, and saying goodbye to them will be no easy thing. God is doing amazing things at Calvary, and we were honored to be a part of it!

Please pray for the Calvary staff as they figure out what the next move is. The High School team at Calvary is in VERY good hands with Melissa Brosch at the wheel. And please pray for us as we move back to Arizona in the middle of the summer… yuck.

You can read a copy of the letter that I wrote to the families of our ministry here at Calvary by clicking HERE.

who owes who?

I was talking to another youth pastor this week about his team structure. We started talking about the role of interns, and he told me that he doesn’t pay his. He said, “If we pay them, they owe us. But if they’re working for free, then we owe them.”

I’m not thinking about yanking the paychecks away from Katy, Blake or Erin (ok maybe Blake). But I am definitely compelled by that sort of leadership philosophy.

I’m always intrigued by backwards thinking, especially when it comes to leadership, evangelism, and personal hygiene.

disagreeing well

I learned almost everything I know about ministry during my time working at Cornerstone Church in Chandler, AZ.

I walked into my first church service there an unbeliever. I would end up working there for almost seven years. I was a hotel supervisor for a few years before that, but I had zero ministry experience before Cornerstone.

I ended up at Calvary because I spent the past few years developing some passions, convictions, and priorities that weren’t necessarily at the top of Cornerstone’s list. That’s not an insult in any way towards Cornerstone. I just felt myself moving in a direction that they weren’t planning on going. The bottom line is that my vision didn’t match up with the church’s vision. And that’s ok!

I always had a close relationship with Cornerstone’s senior pastor Linn Winters. He took me under his wing and supported me big-time. As I learned the ropes at Cornerstone he was really patient with me. For example, he would let me come into his office, shut the door, and say whatever I wanted. I could go in there and say ANYTHING that I wanted to say, and he would listen and respond. As years went by, I found myself in there a little more often (this wasn’t a regular thing, maybe a handful of times a year). We would usually leave those meetings seeing eye to eye, but sometimes we didn’t. But here’s what I loved about our relationship:

I could say anything I wanted to Linn in his office, but when I left that office I was on his team. He knew that no matter what we had just talked about, I would leave his office and support his vision. He knew he could trust me to lead my team in a way that honored him and the vision of the church. We were able to disagree very well.

One day we both knew that I couldn’t support the vision any more, so I had to go. He knew I couldn’t leave his office and lead my ministry in the same direction, so the right thing to do was part ways. That’s never easy, but I still appreciate the leadership principle I’m talking about so much. I learned it from him and the other pastors on the team.

I want to be someone who disagrees well. But more than that, I want to have an office like Linn’s.

(Calvary readers, I haven’t had any meetings with Dave, Michael, Eric or Josh… but I’m sure they would handle it the same way!)

Calvary’s Leadership Structure

My high school ministry is led by two people, myself and Melissa Brosch (in addition to a great team of interns and an administrative assistant). I interviewed with ten churches last year, and none of the others had this kind of leadership structure: two leaders with full-time salaries, benefits, equal authority, etc… Most churches would probably love to do this sort of thing but wouldn’t have the resources. Having this setup gives me the freedom to do things I otherwise wouldn’t be able to:

It frees me up to focus almost exclusively on the guys. I’m still a pastor to the whole group, but I’m not asked to do things that don’t come naturally (i.e. thinking like a woman). There’s just rarely a volunteer or part-time or “number two” person that can provide what a full-timer can. Imagine Mark Driscoll leading the Women’s Ministry at Mars Hill in Seattle… it just wouldn’t work. Would it?

It allows me to teach less and prepare more. So many pastors I know are teaching on Sundays and then trying to figure out what they’re going to say two days later (even if their topics are already laid out). It’s too much to ask of one person. Half the time pastors aren’t even pastors at all… they’re so busy coordinating events and doing other office work that they neglect the very things that they are called to do.

Over the next couple months I’m teaching on Sundays and Melissa is teaching on Wednesdays. We’ve got four other people on our high school staff that make all of this so, so, so much more exciting to be a part of. I’m so grateful that I’m not expected to be a Super Pastor every week!