Church Leadership Truths From Day One of Summit 2019

Church Leadership Truths From Day One of Summit 2019

It’s Summit week at Pushpay, and we’re honored to welcome more than 1,300 people in Dallas for the next two days for a leadership conference to solve today’s biggest ministry challenges. Leadership teams from more than 40 states and nearly 370 different churches are gathering to connect and learn from industry speakers and thought leaders.  

For those that aren’t able to make it in person, here’s what you missed on day one…

Nurture Your Community

Chris Heaslip, CEO and founder of Pushpay, kicked off the morning with the opening keynote. He launched the Nurture framework, a new strategy churches can use to strengthen their communities and create deeper connections among local churches.

Every church wants to reach new people and better engage with those who are already a part of their community. But for many churches, there’s a participation gap that is inhibiting growth and a sense of belonging.

“We’re all on a journey, let’s go together.”

-Chris Heaslip, CEO and founder of Pushpay

In looking at corporations like Nike, REI and Starbucks, they’ve found a way to tap into their customer’s need to belong by creating an experience that’s unique to their brand followers. However, that’s often a missed step in the Church. Nona Jones, director of faith-based partnerships at Facebook, stated it well when she said, “When did the church become a program to watch rather than a community to belong to?”

The Nurture workbook is designed to help leadership teams understand their community and find ways to create a sustainable cycle of engagement. The four-part process of Know, Seen, Receive, and Participate guides church teams on a journey to drive participation by presenting congregants with the right next step, at the right time.

Overcoming the Dysfunctions of Leadership

Patrick Lencioni, founder and president of The Table Group, delivered the morning keynote, discussing his book and thoughts on how to overcome dysfunctions in a church team. Patrick believes that effective leaders need to lead with:

  • Trust: As a leader, if you can’t be vulnerable, your team can’t be vulnerable with you. Trust is the foundation of building a successful organization—when there’s an absence of trust, teams suffer. Vulnerability-based trust is that ability for people to be honest, emotional, open and truly vulnerable. When people can be emotionally vulnerable, it makes a huge difference in what you can accomplish as a team.
  • Conflict: Often times in church settings, we’re known for being “nice.” However, a healthy dose of productive conflict is necessary. If we fail to have conflicts around issues, it results in conflict around people—which is often times why people feel burned in their calling to serve in church. It’s okay to lovingly say, “I don’t like that idea, and here’s why.” Address the topic at hand, discuss it, and move on with transparency.
  • Commitment: As leaders, we need to be all in on our mission, especially if we are asking people to engage with and contribute to it. Without commitment, we are not going to hold each other accountable, which leads us to our next dysfunction…
  • Accountability: Many leaders do not want to hold their people accountable. However, accountability leads to action.
  • Results: Share tangible results with your team on how you are tracking towards your goals. Commitment, without sharing progress or results, creates an environment of ambiguity. What are great leaders without great results?

Declare a daring destination

Cheryl Bachelder, former CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and current interim CEO and Pier 1 Imports, also delivered a keynote on effective leadership. 

She led the group to ‘declare a daring destination’ for their organization which includes creating a roadmap for success.

 Many churches have a solid mission statement, but lack a clear roadmap, which creates a challenge for others to follow them and engage in their ministry efforts.

Lastly, Cheryl discussed the importance of investing in talent management—not just providing an opportunity for people to learn and grow, but creating an environment of love and respect.

“The decision to love the people you lead is powerful.”

– Cheryl Bachelder, Author, Former CEO, Popeyes© Louisiana Kitchen Inc.

She asked the leaders to honestly answer these questions:

  1. Do you love the people you lead?
  2. Have you invested in getting to know your people well?
  3. Have you walked them through a job description?
  4. DO you allocate time for coaching?
  5. Have you thanked them lately?
  6. Do you provide development opportunities?

In addition, there were eight breakout sessions that focused on church technology, communications, leadership, finance, and operations. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks as we dive deeper into the insights they shared to help the faith industry thrive.

Post-Summit learnings

In the meantime, if you love learning new and innovative ways to serve the Kingdom and people of God, you’re in the right place. While the Summit attendees are learning about best practices that build healthy, thriving churches, we’ve also developed resources to help churches avoid practices that make churches unhealthy. Download the free ebook, the 5 Bad Habits That Kill Church Growth (And How To Break Them) today!

Chelsea Looney
Chelsea Looney
Corporate Communications Manager at

A Seattle native, Chelsea is a seasoned communication and marketing professional with a passion for skiing, great music, and exploring the heights of the Pacific North West.