No senior pastor ever wants to hear: “I don’t have any stories of life-change from my campus this weekend.” You simply cannot have that response, ever. In fact, you should be the best storyteller in the church. As a campus pastor, one of your primary responsibilities each week, is to capture, celebrate and circle back on stories of radical transformation, because your senior pastor and executive leadership team are depending on you to celebrate more than just the weekend statistics from your campus.
Last year, I had the opportunity to interview Kevin Queen, a campus pastor at 12Stone Church in Atlanta, GA. I’ll never forget the statement he made regarding metrics: “I don’t measure the success of my campus in numbers, but in stories and seasons of life-change”. That statement totally convicted me, because capturing stories were not part of my weekly dashboard (I’ll write more about metrics & dashboards in the future). Following my conversation with Kevin, I became more intentional about listening to the stories in every conversation I had with church attendees. Everyone has a story, and every story matters to God. Sure, some stories sound larger than life but each and every story is worth sharing. When you’re only listening to drama-filled stories, you might miss the simple story of spiritual growth in someone’s life. By the way, any step in spiritual growth towards Jesus is radical growth worth recognizing.
Statements that tell me I might hear a story of life-change often begin like this:
– “I’m new here and…”
– “I never thought I would have…”
– “This is my first time in church and…”
– “My friend or coworker said I should visit here because…”
– “I just started a new…”
– “Something told me to…”
– “I’ve got to tell you something…”
– “I’ve been praying and…”
These are just a few of the statements people make when they’re trying to tell you a part of their story. Following those statements could be the words that will reveal how their life has been impacted by you, your church or the Holy Spirit.
To track and share the stories that I hear each weekend, I:
- write down their name. I keep a small Moleskine journal in my back pocket and actually write down people’s name and basic info. I don’t want to be seen as the pastor who is always on his phone in those settings. I learned this concept from Rich Birch over at unSeminary.com in his post on 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Campus Pastor. Getting their information also allows me to follow up later in the week on their progress and possible next steps.
- ask if we can grab a photo. I typically ask them if I can share their story publicly and most people don’t have a problem with that (especially if you let them approve the photo).
- post to Instagram or Twitter. The more stories you share, the more you inspire your volunteers and leadership with what is happening at your campus. See my example below.
- include their story in my weekend report to my supervisor. You will be surprised how well your leader connects to the story when the image is attached. As a bonus, these stories become compelling illustrations for your senior pastor to use in their upcoming messages.
As you begin to listen more critically to stories of transformation at your campus, get the details no matter how much or how little. Don’t just measure the attendance and the amount in the offering, measure and share the stories of life-change you a’rre hearing. At Christ Fellowship we say: “Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God.”