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A Pastor with 30+ Years of Leadership Experience Reflects on What He’d Do Different If He Started Today with Andy McQuitty

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Thanks for joining in for another episode of the unSeminary podcast. Today we have Andy McQuitty from Irving Bible Church on the show.

IBC is a non-denominational church in Irving, Texas. Andy was the senior pastor for 31 years until January 2018 and now works as the Pastor at Large, leading and mentoring the next generation of IBC pastors.

Andy is with us today to share what he wishes people would have told him when he first started pastoring.

  • Create a personal board of directors. // The first advice Andy gives is to have a personal board of directors. For Andy, this looked like a group of men from within the church, all of whom were older than Andy. These men were friends of his as well as influencers in the congregation. Some, but not all of them were elders. This personal board of directors came around Andy on a weekly basis and held him accountable as well as offered each other fellowship. Andy recounts what a difference this group made in helping him not feel alone in his role, in encouraging him, and in wanting to see him succeed enough to confront him and speak the truth in love when he needed it.
  • Connect with your board. // Andy would meet with his personal board of directors weekly during three quarters of the year. During this time they met at a restaurant on a weekday morning, connected with each other about what was going on in their lives, and prayed for one another. They also had a bible study time in which they examined the passage that Andy would be preaching on the following Sunday. Andy would receive their input as far as what the passage was saying to them and would allow their thoughts to influence his preaching.
  • Connect with other senior pastors. // The second group Andy meets with is a peer group of senior pastors. This is a group of like-minded friends who are kindred spirits in their pastoral call. They lead similar sized ministries which have similar complexities and conflicts. This group meets every month over lunch to talk about best practices and shared experiences as the senior leaders in their churches. Because they understand what each other is facing, they provide essential encouragement and support for one another.
  • Don’t compare. // Carefully choose the people in the group to ensure that it doesn’t just become a time of comparison over successes in everyone’s ministries. The size of the church shouldn’t be an important part of the group; it should be based on whether you can connect with each other.
  • Apportion your time. // Pastors have a responsibility in preaching, pastoring, and leading the church. But between preaching and pastoring, leading can be short-changed. Leading is about casting a vision, getting people on board, and then delegating and following up with the people. This time leading can be the lowest in pressure, but it is still the most important part of being a pastor.
  • Fight the battles for the spiritual flourishing of your church. // A tension exists for pastors who are trying to live out the idea of a kind and gentle shepherd, and it can easily careen over into people pleasing. Andy notes that the pull toward people pleasing in pastoring and shepherding is almost inevitable. It’s incumbent on you to be kind and good, but you must also lead authentically and transparently. This includes standing up to the people who are barriers to the progress of faith in your community, and also being willing to help people leave your church when they feel the need to.
  • Exhortation and encouragement. // We all need exhortation and encouragement as the chief of staff. Get the right people on the staff bus and maintain them on that ride. The accomplishment of the mission and vision of the church rises and falls on the leadership of the church.

You can find out more about Irving Bible Church at irvingbible.org

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.