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March 21, 2017

Leading Up - Part 2

By Chris Kouba

It plays out time and again, when helping others succeed, one often finds their own path to success. Never is this more true than in the principal of leading up.

The measures I suggest today will be much more effective on the shoulders of the ideals outlined in part one of this blog.  In fact, if you are not leading from a place of humility, and relationship with your pastor—comfortable in your role—you will likely be unable to set your senior pastor up for success at your location.

If you are unable to set your senior pastor up for success at your campus, he will suffer…there.  However, he may continue to be successful in the overall multisite matrix which will ultimately expose your campus, and by proxy you, as the weak link.  Setting your pastor up for success is not only the best thing for your church, but it is likely the best thing for your campus and your future.

How Do I Help My Pastor Succeed?

Leading up is ideally initiated from the beginning of a working relationship, within the first 90 days.  It’s not impossible to change course midstream, but efforts may seem disingenuous if they are in stark contrast to previously established patterns.  Still, no matter where you are in the timeline of working with your senior pastor, you should begin now doing everything in your power to help your pastor succeed.

Here are some practical things you can do in your as campus pastor to lead up:


My philosophy is the senior pastor can always hit delete on an email if I give him more information than necessary, or he can tell me to back off.  But I never want him frustrated he hasn’t received enough information.  Each Sunday afternoon I send our senior pastor and staff an email that gives attendance information, baptism information, which key leaders I’ve met with that week, any staff “wins” we’ve celebrated and any key members who might be in the hospital or need a personal touch (along with phone numbers).  This provides an opportunity for coaching or an email exchange that leads to a productive discussion or highlights a need.


As the campus pastor I should have solid connections within my congregation.  I am a tangible representation of the senior pastor at our campus.  As much as I strive to reflect who he is in a positive light to our campus, members will still form opinions of who he is apart from who I am.  That’s why it’s important I leverage opportunities to connect him with our members whenever possible.

A few ways I have done this is through designated times of interaction. When our senior pastor comes to our campus on a Sunday morning, I invite 4-5 to spend a few minutes getting to know our Pastor and praying with him before the service.  I prepare a card ahead of time for the senior pastor that lists these couples’ names, involvement, and family members.  Over time, when the Pastor comes to visit he begins to expand his base of connectivity by recognizing people and being introduced to others.

Secondly, when I get the opportunity to include my campus staff in meetings with the senior pastor I do so.  If appropriate I always provide information about my staff to the senior pastor ahead of time.  I also provide him with updates on our campus ministries, so that he can personally congratulate the team on current wins and encourage them in times of transition. When my staff feels recognized and known by the senior pastor, they will be my biggest allies in creating an atmosphere conducive to success.


In the realm of practical advice, this is somewhat a moving target.  To the extent that you are able, anticipate how your senior pastor might interact at your campus and run interference for him in situations when you can.  When our senior pastor comes to our campus, I host him as much as I’m able.  When I’m not able to be with him, I encourage other staff or leaders to be nearby.  This way someone familiar with the campus, the people and the programming is able to provide information and help at any given time, lessening the possibility that he will feel or appear uninformed or aloof.  I also try to anticipate things he may or may not want to do.  I have extra announcement cards prepared in case he chooses to make the announcements—but I’m prepared to if not.

Leading up is worth the investment, especially in the multisite model, and especially to further the cause of Christ within the church.

Make sure to check out our newest course, Essential Campus Pastor


Chris Kouba

Chris Kouba is the Lead Pastor at Prestonwood Baptist Church North Campus and has been a part of all campuses of Prestonwood, one of the largest churches in the country. He is a graduate of Baylor University, received his Master’s from Dallas Theological Seminary, and his doctorate from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He serves as an adjunct faculty member of Southern Seminary teaching leadership to doctoral students. He is passionate about the local church and seeing it reach his full potential of influence. He is married to Hillary and has four children, Katelyn, Mackenzie, Hudson, and Griffin.


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