by Rich Birch: Welcome back to another episode of the unSeminary podcast. We’re in for a treat today with Lee Coate, the executive pastor in charge of ministry and media at The Crossing Christian Church in Las Vegas.
The Crossing began in 2000 as a partner plant coming out of Canyon Ridge Christian Church. It started with a large plant team and has experienced steady growth since it’s inception. Every community has a unique culture, and that is certainly true for the city of Las Vegas. The staff works to learn from the culture in the larger community as well as intentionally implement the church culture as they grow and hire new staff. Lee talks with us today about how he navigates culture at The Crossing.
Navigate culture. // Lee views his role as a sort of culture engineer. You can often find him walking the halls and connecting with the 50 or so staff at The Crossing, trying to get people unstuck, dealing with conflict, or figuring out how to get more collaboration and communication across different departments. Throughout his days he’s navigating and cultivating culture to ensure that the staff keeps the church’s values at the forefront of their minds as they work, lead and make decisions.
Be aware of the culture in your city. // Las Vegas is unique culture-wise in that things are always being updated and renovated to something new. It’s been interesting to see this mentality influence the residents in the Las Vegas area where people get bored really quickly and need to be reengaged frequently. As a result, The Crossing’s ministry has to be designed to address that. The executive team spends a lot of time looking at how to move people from the streets to the seats, and then what the steps through that process look like. Even this process needs to be refreshed fairly often. At The Crossing they are constantly reengineering the top of their “engagement funnel” as far as a growth plan in order to find new ways to keep people engaged and get them into community.
A unique twist on the engagement funnel. // One example of how The Crossing invites people to connect with the church and each other is through their Discover process. In Discover, visitors have the chance to meet the pastor and are taught the six core values of the church in a creative way that does not include sitting in a classroom for an extended period of time. Instead people take a tour of the campus, experiencing brief presentations at different stops which coordinate with the church’s values.
Guard your church’s culture. // Those six core values are constantly reinforced among the staff as well. The larger you get as a team and as a church, the more intentionality somebody needs to have towards culture. This is where Lee comes in. Each week he holds a Monday Morning Meeting with the people on his side of the org chart which is all about culture rather than “business”. During this 45-60 minute block, they discuss anything from articles or podcasts to books they are reading together. Whatever they are talking through, Lee is intentional about linking it back to the church’s core values, using this time to reinforce what The Crossing is all about. These practices are especially important with new hires coming in where the culture needs to be communicated from day one.
Learning in tragedies. // Even with all efforts towards intentionality and strategy in making decisions, particularly to help in the community, The Crossing learned during the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that they had to put some of those philosophies aside. During these times, people just want to have something to do and they need you to help them with that, even if it’s only delivering water to a fire station. Be prepared to set aside your desire to be strategic, and help people with the emotional and spiritual needs they have to respond and help during tragedies, even in small ways.
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Helpful Tech Tools // 15Five Software
Ministries Following // Mariners Church and Rooted
Influential Book // An Unhurried Leader: The Lasting Fruit of Daily Influence by Dan Fadling, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Inspiring Leader // Barack Obama
What you do for fun // Run, Read, Travel, Coach/consult other churches
Contact // email at firstname.lastname@example.org