Pre-registration is not needed. It is advised to get to the room as soon as possible—some rooms fill quickly.

In the darkness a light shines for the godly,
for each one who is merciful, compassionate, and just.  —Psalm 112:4

2019 Workshops

What Does Your Kid’s Ministry Space Say to Your Visitors?

This workshop will examine check-in centers, hallways, classrooms and multi-functional rooms. What do these areas of your kid’s ministry say to your visitors? Does it welcome them, provide comfort and ease of navigation? Check-in centers should be safe, simple and fun. Check-in centers provide wonderful opportunities for a great first impression, as they are one of the first things your visitors will see. In the hallways, it’s great to have wayfinding signs so that visitors can easily navigate your facility. Classrooms and group rooms can become adventurous destinations where kids come ready to learn and explore.

We know you want to reach families in your community with your unique message and vision. One of the most effective ways to draw families to your church is by providing a welcoming environment for parents and their children. In this workshop we’ll cover ways to make your environment just as friendly and welcoming as your church family! Open your doors for visitors with love, comfort and excitement!

Todd Parks has over 21 years of ministry experience. He is a visionary servant leader who sees not only what is but what can be. Prior to joining Worlds of Wow, Todd served as an Executive Ministry Consultant where he helped over one hundred churches build incredible teams through church staffing, consulting, compensation analysis, and succession planning. Todd is a Business Development Manager with Worlds of Wow, a company that creates cool and fun environments for kids and families.

How Churches Can Leverage the Coming Big Data Revolution

Big Data tools are being used in retail, healthcare, education and other fields. They are just entering the realm of affordability and usefulness for churches. How should we understand the tools available now? How are forward thinking churches using the tools NOW? Which tools are coming this year and how do you need to prepare your team and church to leverage them for kingdom use?

Dave Travis is the Director of Strategic Counsel for Pastors and Church Boards at Generis. He also serves as a Senior Consultant at Leadership Network where he has worked with large churches for almost 25 years. For the past four years he has tracked with Leadership Network’s involvement with Big Data tools and their real-life applications for churches. A former engineer, pastor and denominational official, he now works primarily to help churches and pastors make plans for “What’s Next?”

The XP-SP Relationship … and all those other people on staff

Are you spinning lots of plates? Juggling lots of balls? Never a boring day? If you could master one thing that would make the biggest ministry impact in your church, what would that be? There’s budgets, and policies, and security, and strategy, and vision, and programs, and buildings, discipleship and all of the the other things that fill the days of the Executive Pastor. What about the relationship between the Senior Pastor and Executive Pastor? Join us as we talk through the breakthroughs, set-backs and keys to a vibrant and healthy XP-SP relationship. In addition, we’ll dig into the keys to good staff relations between the Executive Pastor and student ministry, facilities, creative/worship arts, kids ministry and more.

Eric Rojas is the XP of Rolling Hills Community Church in Nashville. He is a coach, developer and overseer of the staff and ministries with 14 years of experience as an XP. During his 25+ years of ministry, Eric has served in churches various pastoral roles.

Eric Ferris is the Executive Teaching Pastor of the 5000+ member Vineyard Cincinnati Church. Eric earned a Biblical Studies Degree at Wheaton Graduate School. Eric is known for bringing clarity in complexity, love for the local church, and a straightforward approach to life and ministry.

Church Budgeting When Resources Are Scarce

Many churches are experiencing financial pressures that are causing them to reduce their budgets. The challenge becomes ensuring leadership and the board understand what expenses can be cut while still maximizing ministry.  This workshop will show the participants how to: 1) Prepare a clear and compelling analysis of fixed, semi-fixed, and variable budgeted expenses; 2) Clearly explain to church leadership and the board which areas of the budget can be easily reduced, and which cannot; 3) Execute a strategy to effectively reduce budgeted expenses while maximizing ministry effectiveness. In this workshop, a CPA and former Executive Pastor and church CFO will show that, while challenging, these objectives can both be achieved.

Rob Faulk 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.

Preparing for a Faith-Based Loan

Is your church growing? Looking to expand facilities? Looking to go multi-site? If you potentially need a loan to accomplish these objectives, this workshop will provide a great summary on areas you can focus on as an XP to prepare for a faith-based loan. We will discuss interest rates, evaluate the current lending environment, explain certain bank ratios that apply to ministry and suggest ways to make your lending request stand out to a bank. Our discussion will be centered around a hypothetical church case study that may just look a little bit like your church!

This workshop is brought to you by Steve Hron, Vice President of Lending at Cass Bank. Steve has been serving churches and other nonprofits for over 27 years with their financing needs. Cass Bank began in 1906 and is a long time provider of banking services to religious organizations and non-profits, including financing for churches. Cass Bank loans help build, acquire, and renovate ministry facilities or refinance current debt.

Handling Challenging Counseling Situations

Counseling isn’t an area that many senior leaders signed up for. The challenge of bearing the burdens for others is a task at times. Nicholas Smith brings best practices and discussion about how to deal with difficult people and situations. Whether it’s a church member, another leader or someone off the street. We all need the safety of a counselor on this life journey. Nicholas gives ideas on some of the harder situations in counseling. It might be someone who drops by the church and you are the only pastor there. It might be a friend or relative. It might be with a fellow pastor in the community or even a fellow staff member.

Pastor Nicholas A. Smith is the Executive Assistant Pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, working hand-in-hand and assisting pastor-teacher Bishop David G. Evans. He is a long-time friend of XPastor, with some outstanding articles on the site.

Dream Bigger—
From Maintenance to Multiplication

Throughout history, every move of God has required men and women to grow dramatically and step out in great faith. We need to continually elevate the standards of our faith, evaluate the expectations of ourselves and deepen our belief in the goodness of God. It’s time to reimagine the capacity of the local church, not only in your specific content but around the world! Yes, we have accomplished much in ministry but what are we dreaming about next? Leaders, we won’t lead well or last long without great faith! Join me for a discussion around ten leadership questions that we must all resolve in order to take our churches to the next level.

Daniel Rolfe is the Senior Pastor at Mountain Springs Church. Born in Suffolk, England, Daniel has the coolest accent at the XP-Seminar.

More workshops will be posted soon.

Thanks again for the conference. Thanks for the privilege (and I mean that, privilege) of sharing a slice of life experiences with the conference participants. You continue to provide a necessary, stimulating, and exciting energy to many of us in ministry—Paul Utnage, XP

Taste the 2018 Workshops

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, a 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 as 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 their 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 begin: “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? How can you build a relationship working towards a common goal? The keys are removing barriers, opening pathways to connecting, and setting the ministry up with Strategic Positioning towards growth.

Bruce is the President and CEO of HH Architects. Based in Dallas, this architecture and 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, and 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 and 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 2,200 churches and nonprofits. These organizations have annual revenue of nearly $26 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. His latest book,co-authored with John Pearson, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, a 2017 release. 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 Know, Grow, and Keep Your People

Shannon Neely

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

Shannon Neely has been advancing the local church through Church Community Builder for the last five years, where she serves both churches and denominations. Shannon is often a speaker on behalf of Church Community Builder at various national conferences and seminars. Prior to joining the ChMS team, she was leveraging technology to develop brand management and online marketing campaigns for various companies. Her paths have always involved furthering the church in some capacity through church planting, worship leading, mentoring young women, commencing homeless outreach of college students in Santa Cruz, lay counseling for grief and loss sufferers, serving high school and college populations, and employing short-term missions to Mexico, Germany, and Chile. And now, she enlists all her experiences to encourage the church to engage technology in order to follow Christ’s command to “go and make disciples.” She is passionate about Jesus, His church, and her local church, Rock Harbor in Bakersfield, California, where she is involved in mentoring junior high and high school girls and playing the keys every Sunday morning on the worship team.

Retirement Planning for your Staff

Jeff Robinson

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.

How To Establish Your Staff Values & Build A Winning Team Culture

William Vanderbloemen

Building a winning team culture is hard work, but it’s crucial to retaining a high capacity church staff. The foundation to a winning culture is establishing staff values that unify your team. They are more than words in an employee handbook – they guide the daily rhythms of your team. In this session, you will learn how to establish your staff’s values, develop leaders, and build a winning culture where staff and volunteers are lining up to get on board.

William is an entrepreneur, pastor, speaker, author, and CEO/Founder of Vanderbloemen Search Group. He is a regular contributor to both Forbes and Fortune. William has combined over 15 years of ministry experience as a Senior Pastor with the best practices of executive search to provide churches with a unique offering: a deep understanding of local church work with the very best knowledge and practices of professional executive search. Vanderbloemen Search Group has served over 800 churches since its founding eight years ago, has grown to thirty-five full-time employees, and has won several company culture awards.

William has written: Next: Pastoral Succession That Works (2014), Search : The Pastor Search Committee Handbook (2016) and Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace (March 2018).

21st Century Giving: How to Use Technology to Fuel Church Growth

Gary Kehr

Tom Mays

As a successful XP, you should not only understand your giving trends, but all of the tools available to grow top-line revenue. Join us as we discuss the ins and outs of electronic giving, including how it is priced, the advantages and disadvantages of “flat rate” pricing models, how to use it both to reach millennials and existing givers, how to automate your giving, and how to better incorporate social media platforms. Additionally, we will present an overview on how to use that giving to prepare for your next expansion. If you are considering buying a property, refinancing existing debt, or even embarking in a building project, we will show you what lenders are looking for, how to prepare your ministry for those expectations, and what to expect when applying for a loan in today’s changing market.

This workshop will be brought by Gary Kehr, Regional Director Lending, and Tom Mays, both with Associate Vice President, both with the Evangelical Christian Credit Union.

Communication Strategies that Shape Culture and Grow the Church

Ted Vaughn

Communicating in an effective and compelling manner has never been more important to sustainably growing your church and shaping a healthy culture. From your digital presence to the print collateral you distribute, intentionally connecting the right message to the right people at the right time is critical to ensuring your voice not become white-noise and be pushed into the background. In this session, we’ll review the fundamentals of a good brand and communication strategy and consider innovative new solutions and best practices that make communicating with excellence more possible (and affordable) than you might think.  From social media to storytelling, come learn strategies and solutions that can take your brand and communication to new levels of excellence and impact.

After 22 years of local church leadership, Ted serves multiple congregations in America, Africa, and the UK as a consultant and strategic advisor in areas of brand, vision, strategy, and organizational alignment.  His most recent staff position (2009 – 2014) was as Chief Creative Officer for the Rock Church in San Diego, CA, a young, urban, and forward-thinking church of roughly 16,000 weekly worshippers.  With an additional 14-years of leadership experience in mainline denominations, Ted has unique insight and passion for the local church of all stripes and sizes.  Today Ted coaches vision clarity, strategic planning, and organizational alignment through Leadership Capital and is a partner in Historic Agency helping churches and non-profits grow their brand and digital communication strategies.

Christianity Today Forum

Rob Toal

This invitation-only forum will discuss key topics of church ministry. Rob is a Publisher at Christianity Today, overseeing its Church Law & Tax, Small Groups and Christian Bible Studies brands. He has 15 years of experience in brand strategy and content development and 8 years of pastoral roles at Park Community Church and MissioDei in Chicago.

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.

Church Analytics

Brad Leeper

This workshop will focus on what your giving data says about you and your church. Let’s examine what that data means and what to do about it. Like a properly designed medical test, understanding what to look for in your church giving patterns can reveal hidden insights into how your giving flows and does not flow. Using real data from churches, we will examine data points rarely looked at by church leaders. Good news: whatever that data might be, you can take steps to elevate the giving direction by year’s end.

Brad 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

Mike McDonough

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. Executive Pastor Mike McDonough will lead the discussion.

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.

Nick Smith is the Executive Assistant Pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, Lindenwold, New Jersey, where he assists pastor/teacher Bishop David G. Evans. This is a dynamic church with mega-thousands of worshippers. Nick brings pastoral warmth to his staff and leadership style. He is one of our favorites! There are always great take-aways with Nick.

Make Your Church the Primary Giving Destination of More Givers

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

Jody Forehand

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 Groups.” 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 church small group ministry philosophies and practices, and what thriving small groups do and don’t do. Combing through a rich data set, Ryan and his research team have learned what’s really happening in small groups across the country, what differentiates thriving groups from those that struggle, and what support group leaders need as they seek to lead transformational small groups.

Ryan will offer a sneak peek into his team’s research findings and share implications 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.

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

Ministry Planning … Does It Really Matter?

Chris Lagerlof

We know that without vision people and ministry perish and that a vision, without a strategy or plan is just a dream. Join us as we look at how to design and implement a ministry planning process that will serve as a blueprint to help the ministries at your church think differently and create a “bigger” and “better” way of executing ministry in the preferable future. Our time will focus on designing a ministry planning process and schedule, integrating the churches vision, mission and values into the life of every ministry, building a culture of accountability and synergy to outcomes, designing a ministry planning retreat, implementing standards of excellence within the organization and providing you with several tools to implement great ministry planning in your church.

Chris is a Lead Associate with Slingshot Group, where he focuses on helping Kingdom-minded leaders and organizations thrive. Chris is a strategic thinker, project specialist and experienced leader. His passion is to help leaders and churches move forward by maximizing their focus, clarity and performance. Chris worked for 17 years as a Pastor and Champion of several ministries at Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Chris and his team at Slingshot leverage their relationships and experience to deliver expert staffing and coaching focused on helping churches find clarity at the senior leadership and multisite level. Chris also serves as the Executive Catalyst for Mission Orange County, which exists to Mobilize and multiply churches in Orange County to collaborate within their cities to impact every man, woman and child with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The New XP

Craig McClain

What is needed in the first 90 days, the first six months and the first year of being an XP? There are special challenges when entering the role. Are you ready or in the midst of it already? Some new XPs have been in their church for years and enter the role. Others move to the city and become the XP. Still others transition from business to ministry life.

Craig McLain is the Executive Pastor of Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota–an active and growing non-denominational church of over 5,000 members and attendees with two campuses in the Southwest suburbs of the Twin Cities. He works closely with the Senior Pastor to define and deliver organizational leadership and vision for Grace Church while leading the efforts of staff to accomplish the church’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities. Professionally, Craig has an extended background in both the public and private business sectors. Most recently, he served as the Vice President of Global Business Development for a medical device company. Prior to that he was one of the founding executives of a company that provides innovative technologies to the Life Science industry. Craig has just finished his “first year” and has plenty of stories to share and lessons learned.

Focus Discussion on Small Groups

Ryan Hartwig

This invitation-only forum will discuss key topics about Small Group Ministry in local churches. Ryan is a 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.