To all my fellow XP’s out there—many who, like me, have come out of marketplace—I say, “If you ‘wanna learn’ what you need to know to be an effective pastor, administrator, leader, and coach, look no further than XPastor Online Courses from”  You will find a virtual cohort of like-minded, like-hearted people, called to serve the Lord and His church with excellence, banded together to encourage and equip each other in effectively organizing our local churches to reach the lost, make disciples, and grow the Kingdom for the glory of Christ.

First, a brief history on my search for relevant education. I graduated high school and, filled with plans to take the creative world by storm, I headed off to Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). I learned quickly that all of my instructors had come directly from academia. None of them had ever had a job in the “real world.” I was employed in the field of design but was being taught by people that weren’t—and never had been. How could they possibly help me?

I dropped out after 3 months.

At 25, I started a project management firm that I would lead for 16 years. At 28, something interesting happened. Things were going well, but I discovered there was a lot of stuff I didn’t know about running a business. I needed help and was ready to learn.

I looked at college but, based on the required coursework of an undergraduate degree, was not sure the time, energy, and money required would yield a great return. I stumbled upon St. Thomas University in Minneapolis. They had just started their Center for Entrepreneurship, an MBA course offered during evenings and weekends. I met with the admissions board, shared the details of my company and business plan, and told them what I wanted, hoped, and needed to learn. They allowed me in without any undergraduate work!

Classes began:

  • Course 1 – Finance: Taught by the CFO of Medtronic
  • Course 2 – Marketing: Taught by the SVP of Marketing at Best Buy
  • Course 3 – HR: Taught by the HR Director of a Regional Hospital system with 22,000 employees

… and on and on it went. Brilliant!

These were not men and women that had studied “about” the topics they were teaching. They were not people that “used to” do these things. They were in the trenches. They left their offices and came to school—just like me. The lessons they were teaching weren’t hypothetical exercises from textbooks—they were pulled directly from what they had been doing earlier that day.

There I was, a 28-year-old kid with a start-up company, learning from some of the best and brightest the marketplace had to offer. It changed my world.

Fourteen years later, I was asked by my church to step into the role of Executive Pastor. I found myself thinking, “I should probably go to seminary … or something.” Once again, as I began to look at evening, weekend, and now online courses, I was instantly deterred because they all required an undergrad degree. “Seriously?” Not only that, I discovered that there’s no such thing as an Executive Pastor Degree. “But I wanna learn!”

Fortunately, I found a website called It had lots of great articles and tools to help me get a handle on this new position I found myself in. I went to a few seminars, met some great people, and picked up some very helpful stuff.

Then it happened. In a stroke of genius, David Fletcher, founder of XPastor, launched the church-world equivalent of St. Thomas’ Center for Entrepreneurship. He calls it the XPastor Online Courses.

Practical courses taught by leaders from churches and organizations provide information that we can implement in our ministries the same day:

  • David Lyons of MinisterSearch helped clarify our process for hiring new staff.
  • XP Bill Egner discussed the importance of hiring for fit and vision alignment.
  • (The Former) Mars Hill XP Sutton Turner, taught us more about multisite ministry in 90 minutes than we would learn at seminary in four years—or ever!
  • Paying your team appropriately? Professor Fletcher dumped a truckload of salary grids and metrics right in our lap.
  • XP Paul Utnage coached us on, well … coaching, performance reviews that actually accomplish something.
  • Daniel Rolfe, Lead Pastor at Mountain Springs in Colorado, taught us to “never confront something we have not coached,” then gave us seven keys to creating a culture of leadership development.
  • Multisite guru Jim Tomberlin, brought us up to speed on what’s happening in “Missional Mergers.”
  • XP Eric Rojas shared the hallmarks of an effective Employee Policy Manual, and managed to make it fun—sort of.

The only thing pastors like more than books are seminars. Any one of the above could be a one to three-day conference. We’d pay for the conference, the hotel, flight, car, and the meals, and we’d feel pretty good about it. When you enroll in XPastor Online Courses, you get all of this for less than the cost of one flight. But unlike many seminar speakers, these folks are in the trenches. They aren’t espousing theories or concepts that they’ve never tried. They come out of a staff meeting, strategy session, or just off a hard phone call, log into the webinar and share applicable leadership lessons from personal experience. Stuff you will never learn at college or seminary.

So, if you “wanna learn” what you need to know to be an effective pastor, administrator, leader, and coach, look no further than XPastor Online Courses from

Blessed to serve, eager to learn.