Workshops 2017-11-22T15:20:27+00:00


Most workshops will be offered twice. No pre-registration for the workshops is necessary–but it is advised to get to the room as soon as possible as some rooms fill up fast.

Thanks again for the conference. Thanks for the privilege (and I mean that term, privilege) of sharing a slice of life from my experience with the conference participants. You continue to provide a necessary, stimulating, and exciting energy to many of us in ministry.

–Paul Utnage, XP of Catalina Foothills Church, Tucson, Arizona

Workshops on “Business Brains”

Basics of Tax Compliance

Mike Batts

Mike Batts

All XPs need help with the basics of tax compliance for churches.  Mike and BMWL have compiled excellent materials on this vital topic. This will cover the basics of federal tax compliance for churches. They have such a wealth of experience that this workshop will be done in two parts, back to back.

This workshop will be led by Mike Batts. Mike is the president and managing partner of Batts Morrison Wales & Lee, CPA firm dedicated exclusively to helping churches, Christian ministries, and other nonprofit organizations cover their financial bases through professional audit and assurance, tax, and advisory services Mike has more than 30 years of experience serving churches and ministries in a variety of ways. He advises churches on matters related to board governance, financial reporting, tax compliance and strategy, risk management, corporate structure, international activities, and related topics. Mike recently co-authored, together with attorney and CPA Richard Hammar, the book Church Finance, published by Christianity Today. Church Finance has become the “go-to” reference in America providing practical guidance for church financial administration.

Building a Vision Centered Staff

Julie Eastman

This workshop is both ‘business’ and ‘ministry.’ It often feels like everyone on staff is running in different directions.  Work is duplicated, ministry opportunities are overlooked and communication is a mess. Silos form to solve the problems, but can complicate ministry. As an XP your role as a staff leader is crucial to eliminating these distractions and uniting your team with one central purpose.  At Northside, recently we have been intentionally seeking to unite our staff with our vision, becoming disciples who are making disciples.  It has been a slow, sometimes bumpy ride, but so worth every investment.  If you are interested in creating or honing a workplace that starts is vision centered, this workshop will be a great discussion.

Julie Eastman is the Executive Minister at Northside Christian Church. With a Masters in Administration degree, she works closely with their Lead Pastor to develop the overall leadership and direction of the church staff in order to carry out its God-given Vision of becoming disciples who are making disciples.  Her role also includes assessing current church health, the development of strategic planning, goal and budget setting, with an eye on overall staff operations.  One of her favorite parts of the role is the opportunity to act as a catalyst in the formation of needed teams and ministries to carry out our vision.

Executive Pastor 101

Dr. David Fletcher

Reviewing the basics of the XP role is a good idea for seasoned veterans and newbies alike.  Question Zero from the Harvard Business School is one good place to being: “What exactly are we trying to accomplish here.” There are a lot of things to master, but not many people to ask. In this session, we will dialogue together about the role. We’ll talk through the best areas on which to focus, common pitfalls and practical resources for XPs. Don’t expect a lecture from David but his synthesis with you on the salient issues that face XPs today.

Architect and Pastor Alliances

Bruce Woody

Bruce Woody will share what a great alliance of architect and pastor can look like. Their credo says it all–“We Believe, We Serve, We Create.” When you are looking for an architect, what are the guidelines that you will need? HH took over a project that had been over-designed by another firm, way out of the church’s budget–and what were the keys to get the scope and budget back on track?

Bruce is the President and CEO, HHAchitects. Based in Dallas, this architecture & planning firm has done work around the country. This award winning firm has a commitment to quality and thorough understanding of planning for growth. It has attracted a wide range of clients with needs on both a small and large scale. For 45 years, they have provided Architectural, Interior Design, Strategic Positioning and Master Planning services to clients ranging from churches to municipal entities to schools to corporate buildings. They approach projects from the client’s perspective. Building upon your image and identity, they strive for creative solutions that meet the project’s scope, schedule, & budget. They have developed an expertise in designing to a highly complex set of requirements and constraints, and through this process, they provide the facility that meets and exceeds all of the owner’s expectations.

Pulse on Capitol Hill

Dan Busby President ECFA

Dan Busby
President ECFA

Michael Martin
Vice President ECFA

With all that’s happening on Capitol Hill these days, who has time to keep up? This informative ECFA workshop will highlight the most significant changes impacting churches, from recent tax and legislative developments to charitable giving trends, judicial activities affecting religious freedom, and other areas of interest.

David Fletcher heard Dan Busby give a “Pulse” in March 2017 … it was an enthralling 45 minutes. Bring your questions for some discussion after Dan & Michael’s presentation.

Dan Busby is the president of ECFA, an organization that accredits Christ-centered ministries in the areas of governance, financial management and stewardship/fundraising. ECFA’s seal enhances trust of givers, which increases generosity, providing greater resources to help fulfill the Great Commission. ECFA accredits over 2,000 churches and nonprofits. These organizations have annual revenue of nearly $25 billion, receiving charitable contributions of nearly $17 billion. Dan has over forty years of experience serving the Christ-centered church and nonprofit community and frequently speaks nationally on related issues. He is a prolific writer with 55 volumes of five book titles published including a 2015 release, TRUST: The Firm Foundation for Kingdom Fruitfulness. Dan received a masters of business administration degree from Emporia State University, Emporia Kansas. The University also named him as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2014. Dan served as a member of the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations, a national legislative advisory commission convened to address legislative proposals for the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit Times named him as one of the 50 Most Powerful Nonprofit Leaders from 2010-2015.

Michael Martin serves as ECFA’s vice president and legal counsel–and a newly minted CPA. He graduated with a bachelor of arts in government, summa cum laude, from Oral Roberts University and a juris doctor from Regent University School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Regent University Law Review. Michael is passionate about helping churches and ministries with legal and tax-related issues and compliance with ECFA standards. In addition to authoring and reviewing articles and other resources featured in ECFA publications, he assists with member compliance and leads ECFA’s church initiative. Beginning with the 2013 edition, Michael co-authored the Zondervan Minister’s Tax & Financial Guide and the Zondervan Church and Nonprofit Tax & Financial Guide with ECFA President Dan Busby and ECFA Executive Vice President John Van Drunen.

How Risk Management and Internal Controls Can Improve Performance

Rob Faulk

There are two often hidden issues at a church–risk management and internal controls. Both are vital and need your attention. Using the COSO Enterprise Risk Management and Internal Control frameworks, this workshop will explore how well-designed and implemented risk management and internal control processes lead to improved operational performance and governance.

Rob serves as Partner and Church and Denomination Services Director at CapinCrouse. He has more than 35 years of financial leadership experience in serving both for-profit and nonprofit entities, as well as more than eight years of direct ministry experience as Executive Pastor and CFO of large churches. He previously served with a Big Six accounting firm, where he was the lead manager on the project that developed the COSO Internal Control framework. Rob holds a MA in Ministry Management from Azusa Pacific University Graduate School of Theology.

Leveraging Technology to Build Spiritual Communication

The people in your church matter. Your ministry is about more than managing data – it’s about connecting with your people and helping them connect with each other, so they can grow in their faith.  Join us as we discuss using the power of technology to build community, engage people, and help grow disciples.  In our time together you will learn how you can:

  • Know first-time guests and stay connected with fully engaged members
  • Provide opportunities for people to connect with each other and grow deeper in their faith
  • Follow up with people so they feel valued and keep coming back to your church

This workshop will be brought by a leader from Church Community Builder. Past workshops by CCB have always delivered the balance between activating ministry and utilizing technological tools.

Retirement Planning for your Staff

Thirty years ago, most workers retired with a traditional pension plan. Employers managed everything. Employees made no decisions, but retired with a set amount of money. The rise of 403(b) and 401(k) retirement plans in the 1980s and 1990s shifted responsibility from employers to employees. This workshop will help you think through the different options out there as you consider what would best benefit your employees in their retirement years.

Jeff Robinson joined GuideStone in 2002. His background includes 29 years in the financial services area. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baylor University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas. His professional credentials include: the CFP®; CLU; ChFC; CEBS; FLMI; and the Series 6, 7, 26 and 63 investment registrations.

Workshops on “Pastoral Heart”

Developing Elders

Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor is the XP of Mosaic Church and is a frequent part of XPastor.  He has just released Eldership Development: From Application To Affirmation. What does it take to develop the next group of elders for your church? This workshop will show you the actual process that one church uses to develop their elders over a two year period. Think of it like a case-study. You’ll see the prerequisites and the application that potential elders fill out, and even the questions asked during the interviews. You’ll get an in-depth look at the two-year process, all the way to the final moment when you affirm the new elder on stage in a gathering. Phil will explain from experience why he made the decisions he made on everything from book assignments to awkward questions in an application.

Also, Phil has also written Defining The Executive Pastor Role and more in his Backstage Pastor Series of books are in the hopper. Phil has served the church for over twenty years. He is passionate about bringing vision into reality and has spent the last eleven years serving alongside of gifted communicator-visionary Lead Pastors of Acts 29 Network churches in New York and now Florida. He serves as the Executive Pastor of Leadership and Development at Mosaic, a multi-site church in West Orlando and at Walt Disney World. He is passionate about serving the XP community around the world through writing, speaking and coaching.

Finding, encouraging and building new givers

Brad Leeper

Brad Leeper

Some say that giving is the last step in the assimilation process of a new person. Can we overcome that being the last step? Yes! You will learn the mind of a potential giver, what prevents them from giving, what prevents them from giving sooner and how to develop the rhythm of giving so they give more sooner and stay with you as a financial giver. Increase your giving streams with this usually untapped source.

Brad Leeper is the President and Principal of Generis Partners. Based on experience and affinity, he is drawn to innovative, growing churches and the challenges of helping them expand practically and spiritually.

Forum for Churches Under 2,000 in Worship

Kent Lawrence

Kent Lawrence

This forum will be for XPs in churches with under 2,000 people in worship. Gather with your peers to talk through an open agenda. We will identify specific issues to the church in this size range and then “have at it.”

The discussion will be open to all, rapid and exciting! Bring your questions, issues and thorny problems! Meet people who serve in the same size church as yours. This is a great way to form friendships with other XPs.

Kent Lawrence is the XP of Grace Bible Church of Dallas. Kent brings a warm pastoral spirit to his role, effectively leading a medium-sized church. He is one to get to know!

Forum for Churches Over 2,000 in Worship

Rev. Nicholas Smith

Dr. David Fletcher

Dr. David Fletcher

This forum will be for XPs in churches with over 2,000 people in worship. Gather with your peers to talk through an open agenda. We will identify specific issues to the church in this size range and then “have at it.”

The discussion will be open to all, rapid and exciting! Bring your questions, issues and thorny problems! Meet people who serve in the same size church as yours. This is a great way to form friendships with other XPs.

Make Your Church the Primary Giving Destination of More Givers

Brad Leeper

Brad Leeper

In an increasingly complex giving environment, churches battle factors that constantly reinforce not to give to a church. This workshop will cover not only the mounting pressures but will give you practical skills to overcome the threats. You will know how to make the complex simple. Turn threats into strengths to have your church as the primary giving destination–not just one of many.

Brad Leeper is the President and Principal of Generis Partners. Based on experience and affinity, he is drawn to innovative, growing churches and the challenges of helping them expand practically and spiritually.


Dr. Paul Utnage

You’ve heard the adage: strengthen the culture and effectiveness of your staff for a variety of reasons—reasons that don’t need to be repeated because they’ve been rehashed dozens of times. Yet can you maximize—not just strengthen—the effectiveness of your staff during seasons of change, whether small or great change? The answer is, absolutely yes. Change does not need to diminish effectiveness. Aim to maximize. In this workshop, learn to implement four crucial skills that maximize the immediate impact of staff members’ leadership upon your church ministry.

Paul has been an XP and SP, serving in ministry for decades. He has served with some of the most noted pastors in the nation. Paul has been a noted contributor to the XPastor world, giving mentoring to many upcoming XPs. Currently he is the XP of Catalina Foothills Church in Tucson, Arizona and earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Dallas Seminary.

Mentoring Your Staff

Dr. Nathan Baxter

Dr. Nathan Baxter

Mentor your staff and help them move their lives and leadership forward—helping them strengthen their gifts, talents and abilities while keeping balance in their lives. Dr. Nathan Baxter, founder of Lead Self Lead Others has been leading teams and helping people move their stories forward for over twenty years. Before starting his Executive Coaching career, he served for 28 years in full time ministry, filling the roles of Youth Pastor, Senior Pastor, and Executive Pastor.

Multi-Site Strategies

It seems every church is going multi-site these days, so shouldn’t you? To quote Lee Corso, ESPN’s college football prognosticator, “Not so fast, my friend!” Multi-site is a strategy and a tool, but not a magic bullet for church growth. In fact, if done incorrectly, it can be harmful to your church. So, what is the purpose of a multi-site location? When, Where, and Why should I launch a multi-site? What role should contextualization and demographics play in selecting a multi-site location? This workshop will discuss general trends, provide insights into what gives a multi-site the best chance for success, and highlight potential pitfalls.

Jody Forehand, MBA, LEED AP, DBIA, is President of Visioneering Studios Real Estate. Jody has been working with churches nationwide since 2003 helping them with development advisory services, real estate consulting, and coordinating the design and construction of everything from multi-site tenant improvement projects in repurposed retail locations to new ground-up campuses on greenfield sites. Jody also holds general contractor’s licenses in several states and a real estate brokers license in North Carolina.

Rowing in the Same Direction

Dave Brandolini

As leaders, we understand the crucial importance of leading a team that’s rowing in the same direction, with everyone on the same page. Do the ministries on your team determine their own vision, language and ministry plan, or do you have a shared ministry plan that answers not only the “why we do ministry” question (mission statement), but also the “how we do ministry” question?  Not having a united mission and plan leads to confusion among your staff and within your church. A shared ministry plan, on the other hand, provides clarity and simplicity as your church seeks to carry out the mission Jesus gave us. Developing a shared plan can revolutionize your team and ministry effectiveness, while providing a great measuring tool for accountability. This seminar offers practical steps to help you create a unified team rowing together in the same direction.

Dave Brandolini is the Executive Pastor at Austin Ridge Bible Church, in Austin, Texas. He brings 14 years of XP experience to his role, which began at Christ Community Chapel in Hudson, Ohio. Prior to that, Dave served 18 years as a student ministries pastor. He loves working alongside his lead pastor to shape the vision and philosophy of Austin Ridge, and helping teams to row in the same direction is his passion.

Tune Up Your Small Groups Program

Ryan Hartwig

This workshop is based on “Lessons Learned From A Study of Hundreds of Church Small Group.” Over the past year, Dr. Ryan Hartwig, a professor from Azusa Pacific University and author of Teams That Thrive: Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership, has led a research team studying hundreds of church small groups to learn what thriving groups do and don’t do. Combing through a rich data set, Ryan and his research team have learned several key characteristics and behaviors that set great small groups apart from those that aren’t so great.

Ryan will bring a sneak peek into his team’s emerging Leading Small Groups That Thrive model. This distills their key findings into action steps for pastors and leaders, and those who architect and direct small group ministries. Learn data-driven, practical tips you can implement right away to take your small group ministry to the next level of health and effectiveness.

Ryan is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Azusa Pacific University, an evangelical university near Los Angeles with over 10,000 students. He teaches group, organizational, and leadership communication courses, and his engaged scholarship, training, and consulting work aims to help nonprofits and churches thoughtfully leverage effective group and organizational communication practices, processes, and structures to fulfill their missions.

His scholarship has been published in academic journals, including the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Southern Communication Journal, and Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal, and presented at numerous academic conferences. His first book, Teams That Thrive: Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership (with Warren Bird, InterVarsity Press, 2015) explores how to build healthy leadership and ministry teams.

The XP During a Senior Pastor Transition

Mike Bonem

The Executive Pastor role is dynamic, rarely the same from one season to the next. Few changes are bigger or more unsettling than a transition in lead/senior pastors. In this workshop, we will look at ways that the XP role changes during and after a pastoral transition. We’ll explore some of the things to do and to avoid and whether it is possible to remain as XP after a transition.

Mike Bonem is an author, consultant, speaker, church leader, businessperson, husband and father. He loves to help ministries and their leaders grow in effectiveness to reach their God-given potential. Mike’s books include Thriving in the Second Chair, In Pursuit of Great and Godly Leadership and Leading from the Second Chair. He has spoken across the country and internationally on topics related to ministry leadership and congregational effectiveness. Mike has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a breadth of experience in ministry and business, including 11 years as an executive pastor, consulting with Fortune 100 companies, and leading a start-up business. More information is available at