Reflecting on Seasons of Life, Leadership & Their Impact on Your Team with Lee Coate

Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Lee Coate, the executive pastor at The Crossing in Las Vegas, and the president of Growmentum Group.

Today Lee is talking with us about Growmentum Group, how they are helping church leaders accomplish their missions, and how to use the different seasons of leadership that are found on your teams.

  • Accomplish your mission. // Growmentum works with churches to help them accomplish their missions. They value partnerships and offer a full access relationship with the executive leaders that come to them. By providing an outside voice and reaching out to church leaders on a regular basis, they help you to work on the ministry while working in it.
  • Become farsighted again. // The last few years forced church leaders to plan more short-term. As a result we’ve become shortsighted in our leadership and vision and are struggling to think in a more futuristic way. Growmentum works with churches to become more farsighted in their vision and examine if their values are more actual, or aspirational. It’s ok to have aspirational values, but then we need to build some farsighted vision around how to make them more actual.
  • Work on it, not just in it. // As leaders we have to be really intentional to model farsightedness by looking ahead in ministry and not only focusing on today. Schedule “work on it” meetings that are isolated from your normal work. Get your team together to work on ministry, uninterrupted, at least once a month. Hold quarterly half-day “work on it” meetings with the decision makers, and annually get away a day or two away to set the farsighted vision.
  • Widen the targets. // If most churches could get a 10 year target, paint a three year picture, and operate on a one year plan, quarter by quarter, on a regular basis they would start to see their mission gain some ground. Target more widely and not only specifically.
  • Seasons of life and leadership. // Everyone wants high capacity leaders on their teams, but would we be prepared for what they’d demand from us? Different age groups translate to different seasons of leadership, and each brings different strengths and weaknesses to the table. Lee has identified these four main seasons as: Princes and Princesses (18-25 year olds), Warriors and Warrioresses (roughly between 25-40 years old); Kings and Queens, and then Sages and Muses.

You can find Lee Coate on most social media sites or send him an email. If you’d like to know more about Growmentum Group you can learn more at growmentumgroup.com. Or follow along with The Crossing at thecrossinglv.com.

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Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Well hey, friends, welcome to the unSeminary podcast. So glad that you have decided to tune in today. Super excited for today’s conversation—a repeat guest—which you know when it’s a repeat guest, this is somebody that you are going to want to lean in on. Lee Coate he is the Executive Pastor at The Crossing in Vegas as well as the President of Growmentum Group. Growmentum Group offers executive leadership coaching, strategic momentum consulting, and customized really solutions to help organizations reach their full potential. Lee, so glad that you are here today. Thanks for being on the show.

Lee Coate — Rich, thanks for having me back, man. I enjoyed getting to connect with you, and it’s good to to connect with you even when we’re not riding our Pelotons and actually being able to have a conversation.

Rich Birch — Exactly, exactly.

Lee Coate — So I feel like we should be on our Pelotons riding as we have this conversation. But…

Rich Birch — It’s true. It’s true.

Lee Coate — It’s good to be with you guys and all the church leaders that’ll be listening. Hopefully this will be a helpful conversation.

Rich Birch — Yeah, it’s true. I do love the Peloton. We’ve gone through this this challenge, every day of the month challenge, which is really fun actually. And it was people all from all over North America and which is really cool. This is small group was kind of a fun. The Peloton’s been fantastic. Yeah.

Lee Coate — I was waking up every day. I was waking up every day to those messages, you know, hey I did my ride I did my ride. So it was very motivational for those of us on the west coast that were coming in later to the process. It was great.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah I don’t I the people that ride at the end of the day, I’m always like that’s impressive. I cannot do that. Like the guys that ride like at night, I’m like that’s crazy. That’s that’s unbelievable.

Lee Coate — Now I’m a first first thing in the morning. Whatever it is has got to happen or it’s not going to happen.

Rich Birch — Yeah, absolutely for sure. Well what we want to do today, I want to take advantage of the fact that you have ah a really… well first of all, fill out the story. Tell us a little bit more about Growmentum; tell us about you know the church. Give us what what did I miss there in that description?

Lee Coate — Ah, you you did well; you didn’t miss much. But you know, Rich, you know after about 35, 40 years of ministry, you know, and and this season where I still feel like you know there’s a lot to contribute. I’m still operating on a day-to-day basis as an executive pastor here in Vegas. And so um, kind of boots on the ground on a regular basis, but also over the last few years have come together with K Chung who is really the founder and the CEO of a group that we call Growmentum. And it really kind of accelerated like many things in COVID as church leaders kind of you know took hit after hit and were really looking for some um, someplace to come together.

Lee Coate — And so Growmentum really has evolved, but it’s also accelerated. We’re working with churches all over the country, even have a couple now in Canada, so there you go, Rich.

Rich Birch — Nice. Love it. So good. Okay.

Lee Coate — And it’s it’s really just um, us partnering and our mission is really to help them accomplish their mission. We really value relationships and partnerships in that process. And so some of what we do uniquely is kind of a full access relationship. So we have a lot of guys that are on the executive level that you know are not only doing some of the formal stuff that we, do boots on the ground with them and with their team. But also you know hey they’re reaching out on a regular basis which makes my text messages and emails and all of that really interesting. But if I can contribute from an objective standpoint, right?

Rich Birch — Yes.

Lee Coate — We all need those individuals that are not there in it, so that we can work on it with them. So one of our things that we say, our axioms, is we want to be that group that helps you work on it when you’re in the midst of working in it. And what the challenge is when we are pulling away, we’re pulling our team away or we’re just having a meeting that the agenda is work on it, we all realize that the work in it is not happening. And so it has to be really really intentional. Because the drift to the work in it is always going to be the pull. And so part of what we’ve tried to do with clients and then just people that are in our network is just one, that encouragement to work on it. And then tools and things that they can have that conversation around.

Lee Coate — I mean you see this all the time, Rich. It’s like guys going man I’ve got this meeting. Or I want my culture to get better. I don’t know what to do. Like I’ve got a meeting in 20 minutes and I want to build the [inaudible] culture; I have no clue what to do.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Lee Coate — And so we try to provide them with regular tools as well, both in conversations and through other resources to do that. And so hopefully today’ll be a bit more of that, maybe on a wider scale as we kind of talk together.

Rich Birch — Yeah, I love it. So good. And I love your heart for serving church leaders, and you know, friends, I’m a huge fan of us having a strategic outsider, someone who can provide that like you say work on it ah, you know when you’re in the midst of working in it. And so just so good. And I so want to encourage people to get it make it make sure they get a chance to connect with you and and with Growmentum. I think you guys do great work.

Rich Birch — So you have an interesting vantage point because you see a lot of different churches. A lot of different um, whether it’s you know, direct coaches the churches that you’re coaching or it’s just through you know discussions with other folks in Growmentum. When you think about um, you know, the issues that seem to be top of mind that you keep coming back to time again, or maybe you keep seeing the impact of those like oh here’s here’s like a um, you know a thing that we just keep seeing you know as we’re as I look around the landscape, what would that be? What would be some of those things that come, you know, time and again that that you think might be interesting for us to tackle today?

Lee Coate — I think I’ll start with this one…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Lee Coate — …and what we like to say is this is like you know we we’ve kind of become so shortsighted in our leadership in, in our vision, so we’ve become we’ve got into the habit of being shortsighted in our vision that now we’ve we as leaders are struggling probably in life, but specifically in the church to really begin to think in a much more futuristic way. Let me explain what I mean. Like during COVID, and again I I don’t want to have COVID conversations, as you don’t either, Rich, right? We’re like we’re we’re all so fatigued.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Lee Coate — But I think one of the things that we learned there is we were forced habitually to think as leaders in a very shortsighted manner, right? We were you were doing it. We were doing it. You were encouraging and coaching guys like we don’t know what’s going to happen. You’re you’re on a 30 to 60 day plan, right?

Rich Birch — Yep, yep.

Lee Coate — And that’s what we were doing, and that was necessary. But what happened I believe as I’m starting to talk to guys is that sort of became ingrained.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Lee Coate — And so now it’s like all of the sudden we start to emerge and it’s like how do we get farsighted again? We’ve become so nearsighted in our style. And then you couple that with whatever leadership fatigue they’re they’re dealing with, whatever the team exhaustion they’re dealing with. And then to go, Okay, how do we get farsighted again?

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — So a lot of the work that we’ve been doing specifically in the last year and a half is helping guys to build some structure that would begin to bring that farsightedness back into view for them, right? When we talk a lot, and we’ll talk in a minute about some team health things, I think one of the key components of team health is also making sure that the team actually understands the unique missional objective that we as a as church are trying to accomplish, right?

Lee Coate — We say something at Growmentum. We say, strategy drives our vision through our values towards our mission, right? And so mission mission is the same for all churches – Matthew 28 Jesus kind of gave it to us, so we can’t really change it, right?

Rich Birch — Yes.

Lee Coate — We don’t have that option…

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, yes.

Lee Coate — …but we all say it in different ways.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — We all use our own language, right? So then we get to values, and values are really unique. I think values are actually under underappreciated.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — So that’s a secondary thing we’ve been looking at with churches. It’s like sometimes churches just kind of throw values on the wall, or you know it’s something on their website, but values to me should be what’s unique. Why do you exist when our church exists up the street, or that other church exists? It’s because there’s a uniqueness to who you are, what you guys care about, and so we’ve got to filter all of our decisions through that. So we challenge teams right now really to get more farsighted in their vision, and then are your values more actual or more aspirational, right?

Rich Birch — Oh that’s good.

Lee Coate — And really have a conversation around that. Like are these values that were just and it’s okay to have, Rich, a few aspirational things. There’s nothing wrong with that. But to just be aware that currently, whatever it might be, you know we want to be a come as you are environment. Is that actually happening or is that just more aspirational? If it’s more aspirational…

Rich Birch — Oh right.

Lee Coate — …maybe we can build some more farsighted vision around how to make that more true.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — And then the last thing really goes to vision, which is like ten or three years, and then strategy which is like what do we need to do tomorrow? Like what do we need to do tomorrow…

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — …to make sure that that mission gets accomplished. So that’s a long answer but I really see that more and more being the case of like how do we get leaders farsighted, and how do they lean back into why they uniquely are positioned where they are.

Rich Birch — Oh I love that. Let’s talk about that farsighted issue first. What would be some of the kind of evidence that you’re seeing in churches that maybe we’re not thinking far enough down the road that we’re you know we’re we’re being too, you know we’re thinking too much about this weekend or we’re caught too much in in ah, you know this kind of current situation, rather than looking up over the hill.

Lee Coate — Um, yeah I think it’s a continuation of that work in it conversation, right?

Rich Birch — Yep yep.

Lee Coate — The the demands I mean that’s not a new that’s not new ground we’re treading, right? The demands of the day and and all of those things. I think as leaders like if you’re an executive level leader or you’re leading a team, I think part of it is we have to really be intentional to model that. Right? If we’re affirming all the work in it all the time or every meeting that we’re having it has an agenda that’s very “work in it”. That’s going to become just by nature very nearsighted.

Rich Birch — Oh That’s good.

Lee Coate — But if we’re having time that we’re intentionally setting aside to say listen, we’re going to work on it in this in this environment. Like we actually I actually believe that teams need a rhythm in meetings that doesn’t just have a part of the meeting that’s “work on it”. I don’t think that works I think the work in it will always invade and overwhelm. I actually would encourage our listeners, whatever their rhythm of meeting with their team is, to actually isolate that “work on it” time.

Rich Birch — Oh love it. Yeah.

Lee Coate — And it needs and it needs to happen minimally on a monthly basis, right? So then it’s not just a quarterly or ah or a yearly annual offsite. But it’s ah a it doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be it doesn’t even have to be any longer than your normal meeting rhythm, but just like we’re clearing the decks and we’re going to work on it a little bit. I mean here at The Crossing where I’m at serving every day, man we’ve we’ve we’ve wrestled with that same challenge.

Rich Birch — Right. Yes, yeah.

Lee Coate — So it’s not something I’m just observing as I’m out there doing it. It’s something that I’m I’m living out in a in a real way, you know? And so yeah, so that’s part of it.

Rich Birch — Um, when you think about the ratio, even if we’re thinking at a high level around okay, our team’s time invested. Do we think like is it like a you know a third of our time, 10 percent of our time? How much you know when you think of what is a good healthy rhythm. It probably depends on the church. But how often should we be thinking about like I need to get my team away to be thinking about stuff that’s up over the horizon?

Lee Coate — I would loosely say there should be a once a month rhythm of a normal non non-evasive meeting that’s work on it.

Rich Birch — Sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lee Coate — You know where it’s like yeah we’re just in the room and and we’re just all coming together. I would say quarterly I would encourage at least a half day with your executive – those that are decision makers. And then of course annually a day or two away to really set that farsighted vision that’s going. We’ve we’ve we’ve introduced a lot of churches to EOS and using that system; some of your listeners will know it. Um we we don’t dive deep into it because we believe that you know 99% of churches (I just made that number up, Rich), but you know the large large percentage of churches if they could just get a ten year target, paint a three-year picture and operate on a one-year plan, quarter by quarter. If they just did that on a regular basis and just wash, rinse, repeat, they would start to see their mission that we’ve been given this huge mission we’ve been given. We would start to see that actually start to gain some ground. If we could just get there.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — So that’s a big deal.

Rich Birch — Right. Love it. Let’s…

Lee Coate — I think it’s funny, Rich, we actually chart we actually challenge guys, we’ll we’ll say hey tell us what your, you know, give us a sentence or two or two or three bullet points when we start a relationship with them, like what is your ten year target? You would be shocked how hard that is for senior level leaders. And I know some of it is because the recent coaching has always been everything changes so fast. You should think further out. I think I disagree with that a little bit because I think target is very wide. It’s it’s not specific, right?

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — So like here at The Crossing I’ll I’ll rattle off our target. Our target that we’ve come up with is in 10 years The Crossing will be a multi-generational multiethic network of churches with a median age of 35 that has doubled its outward focused impact. Now what does that mean, what does that mean? What is a network of churches? We actually don’t know yet, right?

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — Like what does that mean, but I’ll tell you what if we have a target of a median age of 35 because our power lead pastor is going to be moving on in that realm…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Lee Coate — …we got to do some strategic thinking around that, don’t we?

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Lee Coate — That’s not going to happen magically.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — So we put that in our targets so that now when we start painting a picture and working every every year, and every every quarter, we’re thinking about how does this contribute to that target more likely being hit. And there’s the last thing, if we don’t hit the target and we fall a little short who cares?

Rich Birch — Yeah, you’ve you’ve gone a long way.

Lee Coate — Because the target…

Rich Birch — Exactly.

Lee Coate — Correct. And so we’ve got a coach guys to get them out of thinking that target is like ah is ah is something that’s like restricting. It’s actually free.

Rich Birch — Well and I love that because there’s there’s like ah you’ve identified even in your ten year target there like durable long term um, yeah, aspirational and actual goals for the organization that kind of regardless of what happens between here and there like the getting younger is a durable issue. We’ve got to figure out how to do that. The becoming multi-generational, becoming multiethnic, like those are like it’s not like 10 years from now the world’s going to change so much that we’re going to say, you know what? I think we should have a less multiethnic church like that’s just not the way the world’s going, right? The reality of it is on that issue alone every zip code in the country is more diverse today than it was ten years ago, and it will be more diverse 10 years from now. And so our church unless we get passionate about how we’re going to do that, um, we’ll just drift. We’ll drift in the wrong direction. I love that. I think that’s so good.

Lee Coate — And what’s what’s what’s exciting is as as I mentioned a moment ago as, Rich—that was so good—as as challenging as it is when we get the team in the room, and the and the lead guy has we’ve worked with us ahead of time and he’s got that sentence or that 3 or 4 points. And we we make him the hero.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Lee Coate — So we step away…

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah.

Lee Coate — …and he stands up in front and goes, here’s what I believe the target is. And you know what happens to the team that’s sitting there, right?

Rich Birch — No, I love it that. Yeah.

Lee Coate — All of a sudden they’re going, you know, yes! Like right? And some of that is just give us a target.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes. It’s rallying.

Lee Coate —But then on top of that is like I can get excited to get up every day and rally around…

Rich Birch — Absolutely.

Lee Coate — …that objective because that informs what I’m going to do on a daily basis.

Rich Birch — Yeah I love that. That’s so good. Well let’s let’s let’s hone in on the team issue specifically. You know you mentioned the team there. I know lots of folks that are listening in are executive pastors or senior you know, lead pastors and we’ve got a team. What are you seeing on that front? You know as you’re helping leaders lead their teams, are there regular patterns you’re running into or things that we should be wrestling with and thinking through in this age?

Lee Coate — Um, I think this is probably a pattern that has always been there I think it’s probably a little bit accelerated at the moment. Um, and that is the dynamic between some of our more mature leaders and some of our emerging leaders. And that dynamic, again, I know that it’s always been there but I believe that maybe with some of the acceleration that we’ve seen with especially our emerging leaders like maybe a little bit, and I mean this in ah in a kind way, but a little bit of impatience sometimes that emerges there. I think the dynamic between our emerging leaders and our more mature leaders is definitely something that is an ongoing conversation that I’m having and also an observation. So when I’m sitting with teams, it’s like, Okay, how do I rally these younger leaders while also maintaining a bit of like um my experience, or or my desires, or my my best practices as me as the senior leader needs to see. So I’m personally wrestling with that as well you know in this season of my life.

Lee Coate — You know I’ve I’ve changed my life mission in the I went on sabbatical last summer and came out of it. And one of the things—it’s not a perfect statement, but—I’m still wrestling with is you know personally I believe as I’m in my fifties, the next ten years of my life is really you know how is God how is God powerfully positioned me to influence and serve the leader that I once was – these younger leaders.

Rich Birch — Oh that’s good.

Lee Coate — So how can I how am I now powerfully positioned by my experience, etc. not to just continue to be Lee accelerating, but to influence and serve the person that I once was, that I can see that was me, right? And so that’s driven a lot of the conversation around that and how leaders… because we want younger leaders, don’t we?

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — But we really don’t know what to do with them sometimes.

Rich Birch — Yes. Yeah, let’s let’s pull…

Lee Coate — Because they they can be challenging.

Rich Birch — Yeah, let’s pull that apart like I think you know this is so I think germane is at the core of so many of our of issues whether it’s um, you know, succession issues, or staff development issues, or even that that aging down issue we just talked about. It’s like we all, you know, I remember years ago a friend of mine said you know the the problem with deciding that you want to lead leaders is that they want to lead. And so when you gather young leaders around you the problem with that is they’re young leaders.

Rich Birch — And so um, you know I think you know you and me are in that kind of like I don’t feel like an old leader yet, I just feel like a leader but I’m definitely not a young leader anymore. I know that. So help us think that through a little bit. What how what how should we be wrestling with it? As maybe someone who does have a few more lap laps on the, you know, on the car. What are some things we should be looking at to kind of engage next generation leaders?

Lee Coate — It’s interesting listening to when you said that because I’ve talked to pastors all the time, both with their staff and probably even with the volunteers, which is another conversation, but they’re constantly saying to me (I know you’re hearing this too), like how do I how do I get more high capacity leaders, right? How do I get stronger leaders?

Lee Coate — And I’ve rarely said this but I’ve often thought this that I don’t know if we are actually prepared for what a high capacity leader would demand of us. Think about the high capacity leaders in the workplace. If if I get some of—and I’ve experienced this—if I get some of those people engaged at the church, they’re not playing. Like they need to know what are we doing, where are we going.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Lee Coate — I have a limited time; I have limited resources. What do you need me to do? So I think sometimes there’s a false narrative where leaders go on I need these high capacity leaders. And if they had them, they wouldn’t know what to do with them. It would freak them out.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — So I think we have to think about what is that. But specifically with our staff, one of the things, one of the conversations I’ve been working through with my team is something that I jotted down on a napkin at breakfast. I kind of do some of my best thinking with a napkin and a really sharp Sharpie. Um I sit at the same breakfast place all the time. And the other week I was sitting at the same table and I noticed some of my Sharpie was on the table itself. So probably I probably probably owe them a new table.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Lee Coate — But one of the things that occurred to me is I was thinking about seasons of life and leadership right? Not just younger leaders…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Lee Coate — …but like what are the seasons. And there’s probably a little Richard Rohr and a little John Eldredge woven into this…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Lee Coate — …but it’s it’s the idea of like it… And what I’m about to share with you is really not about age, though. There’s obviously some age…

Rich Birch — Some connections. Yeah.

Lee Coate — …built in. Correct. What I mean when I say it’s not about age, I don’t think you get to a certain age and you necessarily transition into this next season.

Rich Birch — Oh good. Yeah yeah, that’s good.

Lee Coate — I think that there’s probably some ballpark of like this is a season based on age. Um, so let me just give them to the listeners and then you and I can banter around about them, you know? Um, ah we start with prince or princess, right? And I think that’s probably like our 18 to 25 year olds, right? I’m talking about your staff leaders, and what’s interesting about these individuals is we call them princes and princesses. I think the term is is really great because I think it it makes sense for um, for that season that they’re in. And what’s great about the prince and princesses, Rich, is they have passion…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Lee Coate — …and they have curiosity.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — Like they are curious, they are asking questions. They are doing all those things.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — And so I love having those princes and princesses around. My son is 24; he’s just joined our staff here at The Crossing.

Rich Birch — Love it. Yeah.

Lee Coate — He is a prince, right? That’s where he is. He’s passionate his life his season of life allows him you know a little more leeway. Um, as far as how engaged he is, right? So their biggest contribution as a prince or princess, if you’re listening right now, your biggest contribution is passion and curiosity, right?

Rich Birch — Love it. Love it.

Lee Coate — But but there’s a dark side.

Rich Birch — Okay.

Lee Coate — And we can stop at each of these. There’s four of ’em, Rich, if you want to.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yep.

Lee Coate — There’s a dark side and um, it’s not going to surprise anybody, but the dark side of a prince or a princess is entitlement. It’s the idea of like I want to move fast. I know it all.

Rich Birch — Right. I know it all. Yeah.

Lee Coate — Right? And I want to be at the table, right now.

Rich Birch — Right, right, right.

Lee Coate — You know I’ve been serving here for six months, why am I not making the the decisions for the direction of the organization?

Rich Birch — Yes.

Lee Coate — Right? And if somebody’s listening and they feel like I’m an old guy being cruel… I’m not. Because I was that person too.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes, yes.

Lee Coate — So just so you know we’ve all been there and been that person, and felt that tension.

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, yeah.

Lee Coate — So that’s the prince and princess stage. That’s really important.

Rich Birch — Yeah, let’s so when we think about… so yeah I think that’s a really vivid picture. I think that’s a you know I think we can picture those people in our um, in our circles. If we don’t have those people I think sometimes those those people can be flushed out of our organization because it’s like we’re scared like you say of passion and curiosity. We don’t know what to do with that. And so it’s funny you say that about your own kid, like my the lead pastor at our church recently, my my daughter is 22 and she’s like super creative and all that. And she and he said to my wife recently he’s like, man we got to figure out some way to how do we harness that – that’s just is so exciting. And I thought that’s an interesting word when you think about the prince and princess. It’s like well there’s a lot of good there. But it’s like hey how do we get that kind of you know in in the right spot. Um, what are the other ones? What are the other kind of categories?

Lee Coate — Somebody once said with prince and prince as I was sharing this a few months ago somebody told me there was parallels with Paul the apostle. And they kind of broke it down and said like when Paul was a prince he was the one holding the coats while they were stoning Stephen. You know he’s kind of there, curious about what’s going on. It’s an interesting playout. So the second one is um, warrior or Warrioress, and this is probably your 25 to 40.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — You know, it’s that season where there’s a degree of either purpose that has been discovered, or purpose that is at least desired, right?

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — So it’s like I have a direction that I want to go. Um the warriors in warrioress, man, they are so vital.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — Because they bring the energy to your organization.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — Like my team right now is filled with warriors, man. And they are getting bloody every day; they’re strapping the sword on. They’ve got the armor; they are going. And they have it seems like they have unlimited energy, right? And they want and and the the healthy warriors want to, you know, cliché but they want to make a difference. They want to provide value. They want to do all those things.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Lee Coate — Ah the dark side of the dark side of warriors is um, burnout, basically. It’s that idea of you know I’m in this prime season…

Rich Birch — Just keep running.

Lee Coate — …feel like um yeah, they keep running and maybe the purpose that they’re chasing is not discovered or it it starts to be elusive. And so I think some of that can also produce the burnout. I’m doing this over and over and over again and nothing I’m not really ah I’m not really getting where I want to go. I’m not winning the battles, right? What does that mean? So that can lead us to some burnout for sure.

Rich Birch — Love it. Love it.

Lee Coate — So prince/princess, warrior/warrioess…

Rich Birch — And then what’s next?

Lee Coate — …um, third is king and king and queen. Um I don’t know where you are, Rich. This may be you. Um I’m definitely a king.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Lee Coate — And when I say those words sometimes people can think well, you know, that’s ah that sounds kind of arrogant. That’s not the direction. What what it really means is the kings and the queens bring experience.

Rich Birch ‑ Right, right.

Lee Coate — That’s their contribution to the organization. And they provide direction, right? So my biggest contribution right now is I’ve got all these warriors…

Rich Birch ‑ Right.

Lee Coate — …and if I’m constantly going hey guys, let’s go this way and here’s what you need to be aware of, right? And let’s sit down together and let’s review everything so that I can use my experience to help you avoid things. And they’re like cool, right? Here’s the thing that’s interesting with my warriors is I need to strap the armor on once in a while; I need to put the sword on. I need to get in it with them.

Rich Birch ‑ Right.

Lee Coate — There’s certain moments where it’s like I need to get in there. But what’s interesting is they love that. But then there’s also a moment where they’ll say, leave; we’re good. We got it.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Lee Coate — We’ll let you know if we need you again, right?

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lee Coate — And so again and and I don’t want I don’t have the energy to be in there now. The the dark side of Kings and queens is they get they can check out, right? We can get to the point where you know we’ve kind of arrived maybe; we’re not as ambitious anymore. Um, we don’t have the energy, and so in some ways we can check out and just put our lives put our leadership lives on cruise control. And nobody nobody even knows it cause sometimes as a king and queen it’s pretty easy to just kind of sit on the throne and not really do anything…

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Lee Coate — …that’s moving the organization forward.

Rich Birch — Wow.

Lee Coate — By the way, Rich, if if you walk into a room and you have to tell someone you’re a king, or you have to announce that. You’re not.

Rich Birch — You’re not a king.

Lee Coate — You’re not a king.

Rich Birch — Yes, exactly.

Lee Coate — So if anybody listening if you’ve got to go in and say, guys, I listened to Lee and Rich and I’m a king.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Lee Coate — You’re not the king.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, totally.

Lee Coate — The king whenever a king walks in the room, people know the king’s in the room, or the queen’s in the room.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, that totally, absolutely, yeah.

Lee Coate — They just know; they defer.

Rich Birch — That’s vivid. That’s very and that’s interesting you say the dark side around that kind of like being checked out that being, you know, like not not as engaged. I remember ten years ago I was with a lead pastor of a very large church and definitely in the king phase, and I remember him saying, he said—and it was like a bit of a shocker—and at the time I was like I don’t get what you’re saying because—maybe it was more like fifteen years ago—he was like well you know this is not like a full-time job. Like this isn’t this doesn’t take all of me. Like I I and I remember at the time thinking that’s very odd, like that’s an odd thing to say. I’m like you’re leading a church, at this point was like you know tens of thousands of people and, but now I can kind of see that where I’m like there’s it. It can create that opportunity for you to just as you know on the negative side of you know, being a king just kind of amass your kingdom and sit back and let all the let all the warriors take care of everything. Interesting.

Lee Coate — Where I where I think this is important to talk about with your team is I think warriors will get frustrated with kings and queens…

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — …if they experience that, right?

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — Because again the warriors they just want direction. They don’t need you fighting every battle, but man they’re going to get frustrated if you don’t provide them.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s good.

Lee Coate — And by the way if you’re a warrior, nobody wants a warrior that acts like a king.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Lee Coate — So if you’re in a warrior phase, be a warrior, right?

Rich Birch — Yes.

Lee Coate — When it’s time to be a King…

Rich Birch — Yeah, yes.

Lee Coate — …we’ll all know that and and lean into it. The last one, Rich, is what we call a sage or a muse. This is you know, what that latter season of life and their greatest contribution is wisdom and being advisory um, as they’re on the team. I think this can also be maybe kind of as a side note something that we can look at even as our church, you know, there’s something about this probably that also speaks to our church, our congregation, our volunteer structure, all of those things, right? Because there’s always that tension between what do we do with the more you know mature people in our church. But man if someone’s a sage and they know that, and they embrace it, that is so amazing.

Rich Birch — Yeah, it’s huge. It’s huge.

Lee Coate — That is so healthy they can bring that with time now. The dark side of a sage is they have an agenda.

Rich Birch — Okay, what do you mean by that?

Lee Coate — So well I mean and we all experience. It’s like when you’re a sage and I bring you into the room and you say listen, here’s here’s what I’ve learned, here’s what I think, here’s what I would suggest you do, go do that, let me know how that goes. Right?

Rich Birch — Okay, okay, yeah.

Lee Coate — And and and they’re kind of like, you know, it’s not that they’re disengaged. They just understand their role, right. But if you’re a sage and you’ve got an agenda behind the advice that you’re giving, that can be unhealthy, right? It can be it’s that older staff person that really is giving advice based on I don’t I don’t like these changes, or I don’t I don’t think this, right? They’re they’re giving advice with a personal agenda.

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — That can be the dark side of being a sage or a muse.

Rich Birch — So then…

Lee Coate — And we have to work really hard to move people along, rich, in this. We do…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Lee Coate — I had a prince that was on my team in the last year and as their role evolved, we really needed them to start warrioring and they literally said, not not with words but with action, I’m not ready to do that and I don’t want to do it. And so they chose to do something else, right?

Rich Birch — Interesting.

Lee Coate — Because they like being a prince. I mean think about a prince. Princes aren’t princes are usually like they’re not like; they’re born that way, right?

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lee Coate — Like when you’re a prince, it’s like you just all that’s all you know. I’m a prince.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Lee Coate — And so you have to move them out of that stage…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Lee Coate — …into like no, it’s time to go to battle. So.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s I think that’s a really helpful framework. It’s a creative framework ;I think it’s a helpful framework too to think. Because I’ve even said I’ve said to young leaders, like it doesn’t bother me as ah as a leader to look at somebody in their twenties who is kind of they’re still trying to figure it out like they’re they’re trying different things they’re like in and out of stuff. And but there is there’s a weird moment there which I’ve so I’ve said to people I’m like there, I don’t know when it is I don’t have a way to prescribe it, but it’s like if you keep doing that it goes from being like a normal behavior which in this case is I would say is a princely behavior, or a princess behavior, of like hey I’m trying to figure out I got lots of passion I got lots of curiosity I’m trying different things. But then eventually if you just keep keep stuck in that phase then you get passed over. Because people are like no well we actually need warriors. We need we need you to settle down on something and to, you know, take up arms and and push forward. Um yeah I think that’s really fascinating. What a fascinating work.

Rich Birch — Now this is interesting framework. How have you found this helpful as you’ve been engaging with your team at the church or with other, you know, with other churches.

Lee Coate — Yeah I mean I think so pretty simply it’s it’s you know it’s something that you know just trying to kind of build out obviously…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Lee Coate — …it’s something new but you know in the culture meetings that we have here at The Crossing when I stand in front of the team. It’s become language that you’ll hear them use. Right? And so as we’ve kind of unpacked it a little bit…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Lee Coate — …in a facilitated way now you’ll start to hear, yeah, he’s that you know that’s a prince thing. Or he’s not in ah, not in a detrimental way but more in a like understanding way.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Lee Coate — And then as so as as this is something that has started to take some form, there have been a lot of occasions with teams and churches that this has been really helpful, you know in that work on it rhythm that I’m talking about, this would be an example of something where hey we’ve got an hour or 2 hours we’re gonna sit, and we’re gonna we’re gonna wrestle with this. Where are you; where is your team? What is your best contribution? Are you leaning into the dark side a little bit? I mean you know your listeners are already going, yeah, this is a rich conversation that they can have.

Rich Birch — Interesting, interesting. So good. Well I love this. This is so helpful. Um, what ah what a cool framework. As we went through this, you know, I was just recently in the last six months I was talking to a king um, in your language, who um they they were they’ve come to a bit of a a crossroads where they’re they’re feeling that pressure of like okay, so now what? They’re like now now what do I do? And um, are are really asking the question am I going to warrior for the next ten, fifteen years? Am I going to you know do I do I have you know it kind of in me to continue on in a purpose, or do I need to say do I need to really switch to being a sage or a muse? And and and and they definitely are feeling that, you know, I think that checkout thing really strongly because they’re like like my life just keeps running. It’s fine like it’s all it’s all fine; nothing’s not you know there’s no, nothing’s really nobody’s burning the bridges at the door. We can keep going as we’re going, so I just think this is really helpful, Lee. I appreciate this framework; this is great.

Lee Coate — Absolutely. I wonder if there isn’t I mean anything to the quietly quitting conversation again. Not a conversation we want to have again.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lee Coate — But I don’t I think this could I think this could also contribute to some of that…

Rich Birch — Sure. Yeah.

Lee Coate — …if there was frustration on a team where they could have a better understanding of where they currently were…

Rich Birch — Right.

Lee Coate — …and what that would demand of them. So I think I think that would be really key. I would say, Rich, as well before we close up is that, you know, somebody asked me and I think it’s true. I think that again I said this is an age. I think there are things where it’s a season like I would say in my executive pastor work I’m a king. I would say in my Growmentum work I’m probably in a warrior season, frankly. I’m using that king experience and direction. But as far as like what I’m doing and digging a new thing out of the ground. It’s kind of a warrioring.

Rich Birch — Oh yeah, that’s a good phrase.

Lee Coate — So that’s where I think sometimes even a king might say—some of the people you reference—it may be time for them to find, if they’re not ready to be a sage, they need to find an area of their life where they can warrior again a little bit, right?

Rich Birch — Yeah, totally. Yep.

Lee Coate — And lean in a little bit if they’re feeling bored or those things. So I think it’s just a I think it’s a I think it’s just a healthy conversation to have…

Rich Birch — Yeah, interesting discussion. That’s so good.

Lee Coate — …thanks for letting us have it rich.

Rich Birch — Yeah it’s so great. Now we’ll we’ll in our show notes what we’ve got. Like ah you put together a slide that talks through all of these. Um I’d encourage you, friends, you should take that, print it, maybe hang it in your desk somewhere or you know in your office. It might be something that could be interesting to ah come back to time and again as you’re thinking about your team and wrestling through.

Rich Birch — Now, Lee, I want to make sure people get a chance to connect with you just as we close up. Where do we want to send them online to to talk to connect with you, with the church, with Growmentum – where are all the places that they can chase you down?

Lee Coate — Absolutely; it’s really simple. Obviously if you’re a social media person I’m there living life on social media like everybody else. And so it’s just simple; all of the handles there are @leecoate. I haven’t left Twitter yet so you can find me there, but mostly on on Instagram.

Lee Coate — But then more importantly you can follow Growmentum Group. We’re on Instagram and you can email me specifically and I can have some conversations if you’d love for me or our team to have more conversations with you. If this conversation would be helpful to have in person or Zoom we can do that. But it’s Lee—very simple—[email protected]

Rich Birch — Love it.

Lee Coate — [email protected] – I’m sure it’ll be in the notes as well.

Rich Birch — Yeah, totally; we’ll link to it there.

Lee Coate — So I love to have a conversation with anybody who wants to have it. But praying for the leaders out there. It’s not easy; lean in. We’re gonna we’re we’re gaining ground. So let’s keep doing this thing.

Rich Birch — Love it. And and, friends, you know I don’t so first of all I think if if anything today you’ve said like oh I think I’d like to talk to Lee or the folks at Growmentum, act on that instinct. Don’t don’t just let that pass you by; reach out. So I I don’t do this for everybody; I really do trust Lee. I think he’s he there’s there are people (shocker) who are in this market who see it as a market, but that like Lee doesn’t. Lee sees it as a chance to try to help church leaders. I know he wants to help you, wants to come alongside you and be a strategic outsider to help you think about these things. And I would strongly encourage, recommend, endorse that you reach out to him if you’ve got any question. This would be a perfect year if you do not have someone like Lee in your corner, this would be a perfect year to do that. So thanks so much Lee; I appreciate you being on the show. Thanks for coming. We’ll have you back in the future. Love, love talking to you. Thanks, buddy.

Lee Coate — Thanks, Rich; appreciate it, bud.

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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.