We Could Have Been Bigger By Now – Part 2

The is the second part (you can part 1 here) of a two-part series on why Compass Point could have been bigger by now.  My hope is that people will learn from my…our…mistakes…and successes.

Leadership is not a state of mind.  As I have stated before, me being the Senior Pastor of Compass Point is not a state of mind…it is reality.  The crazy thing…it’s taken me a while to come to grips with the fact that I am the leader.  Sounds weird I know…but that’s the truth.  I was so busy being everyone’s friend and trying to break down the barrier between shepherd and flock…that most people never saw me as more than Chris the goofy, fat guy that can make people laugh and is fun to be around.  The problem…that is how I saw myself also.   I wanted everyone to feel comfortable and happy…I didn’t want to rock the boat.  What I discovered…people pleasers can’t be leaders.  The church takes on the personality of the leader…when the leader belittles his position…that is how the congregation also treats the position. I spent almost three years being everybody’s buddy…now we are taking steps to help the congregation see me as their pastor…and the staff as their boss.  Most importantly, I’m taking personal steps to help me see myself as the leader of Compass Point.

You can’t serve two masters When Compass Point first started as a small group Bible study I was still working on occasion with Prison Fellowship.  Due to some unforeseen circumstances the money that was promised for us to officially launch took months to materialize.  As a result I started touring pretty much full time with Prison Fellowship the first two years of Compass Point’s life.  What I discovered was…you can’t serve two masters.  There were months where I was out of the pulpit two out of four Sundays.  I missed our first two Easter’s…which is a no-no in church planting.  Even on weekends I was in town I had just flown in on Saturday night…and was too whipped to really put my all into preaching.  The worst thing…there was no one around Monday through Friday to conduct ministry, handle administration or cast vision.  Two years ago I came to the conclusion that if Compass Point was going to have a chance I had to put all of my eggs into it’s basket.  It meant financial sacrifice for Denise and I…and the letting go of another ministry I dearly loved.  I miss my “prison friends” (Duane, Leslie, Justin, Don, Ron and the various other “lambs”)…but it was the best decision to date concerning the future of Compass Point

Fast to hire and slow to fire.   I plugged holes.  I hired from outside the church.  I didn’t properly interview people.  I didn’t pray or seeks God’s will in making staffing or leadership decisions.  I just wanted to shift as much stuff off my plate as I could in the quickest amount of time.  Therefore I hired anyone that had a pulse…and would take forever to cut them loose when they turned out to suck as leaders.  In hindsight I can’t believe some of the crap I allowed to go on within the staff and leadership at Compass Point.  I was an idiot…that let other idiots…help sink the ship.   These days I’m a little slower and cautious in bringing people on staff…and a little quicker to cut them out of the body if they become cancer.  In essence…slow to hire…fast to fire.

We Could Have Been Bigger By Now – Part 2

9 thoughts on “We Could Have Been Bigger By Now – Part 2

  1. I really get a lot out of conferences like Unleash at Newspring and C3 at fellowship church. That said…the one thing I wish some of these conferences (insert whichever leadership, church planting,etc conference you want here) would do more of is sharing stories of struggle and even failure and possibly how to avoid them. Huge thanks for this post and your blog, Chris. Really appreciate you being real bro. God bless.



  2. Good post! I think your honest assesment of your struggles will help others (like me) find those same tendencies in themselves quickly. By the way I am a Church Planter in Maine and have found your web-site very encouraging.


  3. Just missed you at Unleash. I saw you, but you were finishing up a conversation with someone right before a main session getting ready to start.

    Was wondering what your process is for hiring and firing?


  4. This is a great post and is much appreciated.

    I especially like the part of trying to “Win friends and influence people” – great for business, not so great for ministry.

    Also, serving multiple masters will never work – I agree.

    I was a little surprised that a church would consider hiring outside – that’s a foreign concept to me completely.

    Most of all, I appreciate the honesty and integrity of the post. My bet is that this type of self-examination will pay huge dividends to you personally.


  5. I’m with you Christ. Especially the “fast to hire and slow to fire”. I have made this mistake over and over and over in my ministry and it has hurt me as well as our church. Thanks for the honesty.


  6. Chris,

    Thanks for evolving out loud!

    Thanks for being willing to mix it up a bit rather than toeing the blogosphere line.

    Thanks for modeling authentic authenticity!


  7. Eddie – You should have interrupted…I would have liked to meet you. 🙂

    Hiring process…hmmm…let’s see…I suck at it so you should ask Kyle Bridges our Executive Pastor. 🙂

    Seriously…we no longer hire anyone that isn’t already working as a volunteer in our church. They need to be at Compass Point at least a year or so…and Kyle and I both talk to them separately…and then together. We hire everyone on a 90 day trial basis. We have just stopped hiring from outside…or people that are not already working hard in a volunteer role. There is some other things I picked up from a conversation with Bil Cornelius that we are going to be implementing in the next few weeks. I don’t feel like I can share them on the blog until we have shared them with the staff and leaders.


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