Jessie Vaca is finishing a NewThing Leadership Residency at Community Christian Church - Lincoln Park. One of the key distinctives of NewThing is Leadership Residency. I am convinced that one of our goals must be a leadership resident at every location.
Here's Jessie's story.
When I first heard about a Leadership Residency I was a little skeptical. I mean, I knew I wanted to plant a church, I knew that God was leading my wife and I and our family in that direction, so why would I put the dream on hold? But come to find out, the more questions I asked and the more research I did, I came to believe the experience could be helpful and the coaching could prove crucial for the future. And man was I right!
There are too many values to doing a Leadership Residency, both tangible and intangible, to list them all here so I’ll give you the top 3 values I’ve found from my Residency experience. Those values are Growth, Experience and Influence.
The growth value is probably the easiest one to guess, but can also be easily underestimated. Throughout my Residency I’ve had every opportunity to grow as the leader of a team. The great thing is that the growth has come through leading a team myself (Operations and First Impressions) but has also come through walking alongside the Lead Pastor as he led his teams.
Another growth area has been the chance to grow as a communicator. Not just from the stage, though that has been incredibly helpful, but also from presenting classroom/discussion material through consulting with other churches and speaking at conferences.
The next value add that comes with a Leadership Residency comes in the form of experience. And the most helpful experience for me so far has been my experience of leadership at the very top level of the church. I’ve been invited into leadership meetings at the top levels of our church and the amazing thing is I’m not expected to just be a fly on the wall, but am invited to participate.
The other experience I believe will be invaluable to my future is the experience of actually planting a church. Now I get the fact that the entire weight of the project hasn't been fully on my shoulders, but walking alongside the Lead Pastor and having some of the responsibility has given me a chance to see all of the challenges and blessings that come with planting a church. I can carry that into my eventual church plant and it will help me avoid some common mistakes and give me a head start as I enter my project.
The last value I’ve been able to gain through the Residency can most easily be defined as influence. One of the most amazing things the Pastor I work with has done for me is that he’s opened his networks to me. Other Pastors, authors and leaders that I can talk to and bounce ideas off of to help me as I grow and develop as a church planter.
He’s also leveraged his influence to help me as I progress in my church planting journey is by opening up his resource connections to me. I’ve been able to access anything from graphic designers, business startup consultants and printers to help me as I try to create marketing pieces for fundraising and project announcements.
Without a doubt, making the choice to take part in a Leadership Residency has been the most important leadership decision I’ve made. I can’t over state the value it’s been as I’ve developed as a church planter and I’m sure there’s no way to ever know how much more difficult church planting would have been without this important experience.
So who is it? Who is your next Leadership Resident?