Bayside’s commitment to collaboration and shared leadership sets it apart from many of the churches in the United States. When I came to Blue Oaks to be the Senior Campus Pastor, I got my first taste of co-leadership. Jason Krogh was already there as a campus pastor at the time, so I joined him as a partner. Our particular gift mix was very different—his was very much an executive role and mine was more a teaching and ministry role. About a year into the job, Pastor Ray had what I considered to be a genius idea and brought on Jason Caine. Jason Caine is a lot like me—we have different flavors and all that—but his gift set is a lot like mine, so we became co-campus pastors for all ministry and teaching.
It has never been that way in my ministry career, so there were some adjustments I had to make. I was thinking at first, “who’s this young guy coming on? How are we going to get along? How’s this going to work?” You have even a little bit of fear and worry, but what happens is that if you put yourself aside and you say, “God, I’m interested in trying this,” God can do some pretty amazing things.
Right now, Jason Caine and I have been working together for about 9 months and it’s been like a hand in a glove, brother-to-brother, and not only are we good working partners but we’ve become friends. It has been an amazing, unique, and marvelous experience.
Many people have asked me about this untraditional co-leadership relationship and I always tell them it not only starts with getting yourself before God, but it starts with acknowledging and looking for His plan. You have to turn your focus toward God and be ok with what that experience will be like. Self-checks are a huge part of this process. I think one of the things you have to do is you have to constantly go, “okay, I have to grow and make changes so that this will work.” So, I had to do some growth in myself and I had to continue to put myself before the throne and just say, “Hey God, I’m interested in what you’re doing.”
The other thing, too, is embracing relationship. With Jason and his wife, the first thing we did when we knew this was going to take place is invite them over to our house because we wanted to get to know each other’s story. Because when you hear a person’s story, it’s the base where everything else takes place. On that first night of connection when we were together at our house, even before he was on staff, we created the foundation of all the other working elements we needed to thrive. We decided early on, that if there are issues, we should get to them quickly. I believe the mark of a healthy relationship is to communicate issues quickly. In my experience, when an issue comes up, you have to go the last ten percent. Most of the time, we are only willing to communicate ninety percent. That last ten that we hold onto is where cracks in relationships start. I’m thankful to lead with fellow pastors—both Jason Caine and Jason Krogh—who hold the same relational and leadership values as I do. It’s made all the difference as we navigate leading our campus.
From those early days to now, it has been a joy to lead together. It’s been a pleasure to watch our campus grow, both in numbers and in health. And we’re just getting started!