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Lessons from a New Campus Plant

This weekend we had our first service of Clear Creek Community Church’s third campus, the Clear Lake Campus (currently meeting at a local high school). What was amazing about the weekend was over 300 people attended this inaugural service with little to no publicity whatsoever. Today, I interviewed Clear Lake Campus Pastor Karl Garcia to see if he had any learnings or insights on leading his campus team to such a hopeful beginning.

Karl, what is your responsibility as Campus Pastor and how did that role play itself out in building the Core for the Clear Lake campus?
My three primary responsibilities are: building teams; pastoral care; and being the ‘face of the place.’ In the building phase of this campus, team building was key in that it was structured and we followed the model of: Identify>Assess>Train>Evaluate. This set a great standard to follow in that we continue to utilize this model and it creates opportunities to have a culture of continual improvement.

Campus Pastor Karl Garcia

The pastoral care component of my responsibilities seemed to naturally unfold in that my team know they are deeply loved by me. In this time of team building, one of our team members died of cancer. This man was actually at a team meeting on a Sunday and within 24 hours went to be with Jesus. It only made sense that I would be the officiant and share the message at his memorial service.

Being the ‘face of the place’ played itself out through presence. Not only presence to my team, but also through all communication, promotion, and church-wide announcements. We creatively used different forms of communication to achieve this.

What steps did you take to develop the Core?
I started by identifying people that lived in the area we were trying to reach and then I sat down with them to cast vision. I shared our church’s vision, data to support why and where we were going, Scripture that calls us to go, the story of what Jesus did in my heart and the radical transformation of my life, and Christ’s call on their lives to be missionaries.

What leadership insights did you gain as you developed the Core?
1) Action determines core, not words. Not everyone that says they want to be a part of this, actually does. So, we dance with them as opposed to kicking them off the dance floor.
2) Let your leaders lead. The age old axiom will always play out: there is not one of us as smart as all of us (or even two or three).
3) Enjoy the journey. Stories of God at work is the fuel that drives the engine and if you’re too busy/stressed/self-absorbed/self-reliant/prideful, you’ll not only burn out quickly, no one will want to follow you.
3) Use the experts. Leaders are learners so never assume you’re the best at anything. Humble yourself and ask lots of questions.

First service at Clear Lake campus

What was your biggest struggle throughout this entire process? How did you seek to address it?
Everything I read, heard, and discussed pointed to somewhat rigid requirement for core team members. As I looked at this process I discovered that there were actually three buckets of people that were in “The Core”. They were: Core (those who were prepared to do whatever it took to make this happen); Serve (those who thought they were prepared to be part of the core, yet really just wanted to serve in an area); and Attend (those who one way or another came to the realization this was just going to be their church). My epiphany came as I sat back and looked at this information and came to the realization that this was the church! My job, along with those I knew were part of the core, would be to take responsibility for walking those in any bucket to the next level.

Why did you think the Core-development strategy you chose was so particularly effective?
It was clearly laid out, methodical, flexible, inclusive, celebratory and it was never about anyone other than Jesus.

Is there anything you would have done differently? If so, what?
I think time will tell. As we go on I anticipate seeing gaps that could have or should have been addressed.

With such a fortuitous opening, what are you focusing on currently?
Celebrating, and strategizing on how to harness the energy and fan the influence of our team to attract those far from Jesus.

Thanks Karl! What Karl didn’t say (but I will) is that he also is from the Clear Lake area. In fact, Karl graduated from the high school where his new campus currently meets. One of the great stories we get to see unfold at CCCC concerns our wonderful campus pastor. When Karl left the Clear Lake area he pursued a life aimed in a different direction than to glorify God. Now, years later, God’s grace has so radically rescued him that he returns home (and to his school) as a pastor of a young congregation willing to do whatever it takes to see Jesus for the city. Amazing grace indeed!

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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