Developing a Leadership Pipelinepodcaststrategy

Darin Yates from the Fastest Growing Church in America on Next Gen Leadership Development

Welcome back for another episode of the unSeminary podcast. Today I’m happy have Darin Yates, the executive pastor from Crossroads Community Church in Cincinnati.

Crossroads Community Church is 22 years old, starting with a group of 11 people and eventually growing to the 10 locations it has today. Being one of the fastest growing churches in the country brings a number of challenges, and Darin is here today to talk with us about developing next generation leaders to keep up with the church’s growth.

  • Prepare for the complexity and responsibility. // One of the things contributing to Crossroads being the fastest growing church in the country was a merger with another church. This immediately added three additional locations to the ones Crossroads already had. During this process, their consultant told them they would be crossing some thresholds that would make the process even more challenging. Very few multisite churches have more than eight campuses, and it becomes extremely complex when you hit this point. With growth there’s always a lot of responsibility that comes with it.
  • Focus on leadership development. // The biggest issue with explosive growth is always leadership development. As Darin explains, “We have way more opportunities than leaders who are ready for those opportunities.” At Crossroads they are constantly on the lookout for people who can handle responsibility, whether they are paid staff, unpaid staff, or volunteers. Staff is taught to give away their jobs and hand over real responsibilities to unpaid staff and volunteers. This never leaves people without a job, because there is always more work that comes up! Getting people involved in the church in this way helps Crossroads find their next level of leaders, and then the church can do more. Develop people to handle responsibility that they didn’t think they could, and help them stretch and grow beyond their current capabilities.
  • Share your learnings with younger leaders. // Darin sees younger staff among the church who are making the same mistakes he made when he was young. He believes it is selfish of him not to convey his mistakes and successes to the younger staff to help them learn and grow. So he asked his staff to tell him the top leaders they have under the age of 35. From that list he picked 16 of them and started meeting with this group once a week to share stories. This includes talking about past failures and successes, and answering and asking questions. They meet about an hour a week and Darin asks them what is going on in their life that will be helpful in leading the church. Before a team can really get to a high performing status, you need to know why are you there, who you are, who is your team, what is your purpose, who is doing what, what is your accountability. Use any system you want to look for efficiencies and weaknesses to develop more productivity.
  • Allow the group to grow or change. //Darin stresses to his group that this is for them, so they can stop anytime they want. Recently, all of these people now have grown to have their own groups that they work with, which brings new questions from them in developing their own leaders. Use the question time for really connecting with your group. Listen to what concerns your group has and what challenges they are facing, and develop their leadership and capacity for responsibility within that context.

You can learn more about Crossroads Community Church at

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Lightning Round

Helpful Tech Tools // Crossroads Community Church app

Ministries Following // Chick-fil-a

Influential Book // Captain Class by Sam Walker

Inspiring Leader // Jeff Bezos

What does he do for fun // Golf, Walking in the Woods, Hanging with Family

Contact // website or email DYates [at] crossroads [dot] net

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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.