Developing a Leadership Pipelinepodcaststrategy

Justin Varghese on Leadership Development Strategies That Work


Hey, everybody, and welcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast. We’re happy to have you here today as we talk with Justin Varghese, executive pastor at Venue Church.

Venue Church is probably the youngest church we’ve featured on the podcast. It was started in 2013 and is one of the fastest growing churches in America. They have two locations – one in Tennessee and one in Georgia. It’s a non-denominational church and aims to be a church where people can walk in and feel the spirit of Jesus immediately. Growing leaders is still a challenge for Venue Church, but they know in order to grow a church, multiplying leaders is essential. Justin talks with us today about growing some of their strategies.

  • Go back to basics. // Never underestimate the power of a personal invite, Justin reminds us. One of the main ways that Venue Church has grown and reached out to the community is through invite cards. They are simple, easy-to-carry options to use when inviting others to visit the church. Even options like distributing doorhangers or simply giving a friendly smile and wave to traffic as they drive by the church on Sundays has communicated a welcoming environment to the community. Don’t think that these methods are outdated or useless. Justin says all of these methods have contributed significantly to Venue Church’s initial growth.
  • Share information through a neutral person. // It’s easy for a church to become too siloed, where each department keeps their own information and isn’t willing to share leaders and volunteers between each other. One way Venue Church combats this is through Justin’s job as executive pastor and the manager over the departments. He meets with the team leaders and talks with them about their volunteers and how each of them are doing in that area. Through these meetings, Justin can learn whether a volunteer has been talking about exploring another service team. He also makes one-on-one calls with volunteers, asking them how they like the department they’re in and whether it’s a good fit. Justin says he tries to help them in their existing role or find the right fit for them. Having a neutral person is a great way to allow volunteers to be honest with their feelings about where they are called to be.
  • Teach to build leaders. // Venue started a leadership program called Venue Academy to train up leaders. For churches who are just starting out and want to raise up leaders, Justin says that this process doesn’t have to be a big, expensive undertaking. Venue started their program by just teaching the culture, core values and casting vision. They reached out to volunteers and members that they felt would be a good fit in the departments as leaders, and they asked them to join the program. It went so well that a second semester was added that teaches strategic ways to actually build Venue’s vision and grow leaders.
  • Recognize the difference in culture among multi-site churches. // One of the struggles with opening another campus is recognizing that the culture at the new site may not be the same as the first campus. They are in different locations and may have a different lifestyle or feel within the community. Justin says it’s okay for the campuses to be different from each other and yet still follow the same vision. Draw from that area in building leaders for each campus because those people are familiar with the life in that area and know better what may work within that campus.

You can learn more about Venue Church at

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Lightning Round

Helpful Tech Tools // unSeminary, Youtube, Blogs, Devotionals

Ministries Following // Bethel Church in Redding, Elevation Church, Free Chapel

Influential Book // How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Inspiring Leader // John Bevere

What does he do for fun // anything in the wilderness (hiking, mountain biking, off-roading)

Contact //

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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.