Welcome to day four of our conversations with senior pastors featured in our new book – A Multi-site Church Road Trip. No reason to leave Texas so soon … so today we check with Steve Stroope, Senior Pastor at Lake Point Church.
Steve, you say in Multi-site Church Road Trip that you and the team at Lake Pointe are always looking for leaders. Outside of folks that are in your church, where and how do you look?
We utilize two primary profiles in vetting potential leaders to invite to the Lake Pointe team. One is Strengthsfinders by the Gallup organization, which is a measurement of strengths. This is not a personality profile. It measures something entirely different. It measures competencies. When combined with a good personality profile, it gives you a good indication of how one will approach a task and their likelihood of success. The second tool we use is a form of the DISC. The one we use was developed by John Trent and is a profile called Leading From Your Strengths.
In addition to these two profiles, we are looking for someone with strong character and a strong track record of leadership. Of course, there is no profile to measure those two things. We have found that it is essential to know someone who knows the candidate well and who also knows us well to assess both character and past performance.
You told me that you are known around Lake Pointe as somewhat of a “nut” about leadership! I know that reputation is simply a reflection of your belief that if leaders are not developed, the church suffers and is limited in it’s capacity to touch its community and the world. Your passion is a demonstration of a strong culture for leadership. What are the things you do to develop and nourish that culture?
I agree with Bill Hybels when he said the best way to learn how to lead is to lead something. We are continually putting people in situations to lead that will stretch their current capacity. Part of our corporate language around here is to identify opportunities for leading as M1, M2, and M3. If someone is doing a good job leading in a M1 situation, then let’s invite him/her to lead at the M2 level. Then if that individual is doing well at the M2 level, let’s give him a try at the M3 level. The way you get better at anything is to do it—including developing your leadership muscles.
Secondly, I think it is important to be around other leaders.
Finally, you improve your capacity to lead by reading everything you can get your hands on concerning leadership. I have been mentored for years by many leaders who I’ve never met, but I have benefited from their leadership IQ by reading their best stuff.
Some have critiqued the multi-site movement believing that it feeds a diminishing pool of leaders. You told me that you believe it has exactly the opposite effect. How so?
This is a great time to be a participant in the church leadership world. There are so many different kinds of opportunities to lead that require different types of leaders. The multi-site movement is an example of this. It is providing many more opportunities for strong leaders who may not fit into the “senior pastor” leadership mold. Some do not possess a strong gift for communication or teaching, but they are high capacity leaders and the multi-site model is creating a variety of brand new categories for those leaders.
One of the key components to your leadership development model is what you call “resourcing.” What are the resources you are feeding your leaders with during this season of ministry?
I think there are three streams of resources that help build a leader and I need to make sure that my leaders are getting a fresh infusion of all three streams.
First, there is what I call the science of leadership, and there are a lot of great writers and thinkers out there to whom I can introduce our leaders, i.e., Peter Drucker and Jim Collins.
The second stream is the implementation of those leadership principles. People like Ken Blanchard and Marcus Buckingham represent the group helping us with those issues.
Then the third and most important stream is the leader’s soul. People like Mark Buchanan who wrote “The Rest of God” and J. Oswald Sanders, who wrote “Spiritual Leadership” are two examples of contributors who help us consider the importance of growing in character.
What is new about the multi-site ministry at Lake Pointe since we last talked?
In the last year, we have closed down a couple of what I would call “boutique” campuses. These are campuses that were “flyers.” In other words, we didn’t know whether they would work or whether there was enough of a critical mass for them to be successful in the long run, but we thought they were worth trying. After giving them a good run, we realized they weren’t going to be viable. We’re not sorry we started those particular campuses. We learned a lot about what to do and what not to do, and we believe that a certain amount of experimentation and risk is healthy and necessary. We are getting ready to launch a third major campus within the next 12 months, and because of the current economic environment are moving slower but are feeling confident that multi-site ministry is a proven and effective way to make disciples.
What have I not asked that I should have?
You did not ask what do we not have figured out about multi sites. There are several—but the one most perplexing to us that we continue to struggle with is what strengths and personality type are necessary for an effective campus pastor. We are still trying to figure this one out. I think we are getting closer – but we’re not there.
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