the shape of leadership

Casting Vision, Engaging Mission

A Q&A With Scott Holmes

Influence Magazine on September 10, 2019

Scott Holmes serves as superintendent of the Louisiana Ministry Network (Assemblies of God), a position he has held for the past five years. His previous ministry includes serving as senior pastor of Life Church (AG) in Shreveport, Louisiana, and missions work in the Marshall Islands and Siberia, where he focused on leadership development and church planting.

INFLUENCE: What are some of the challenges of district leadership?
Moving from missionary, church planter and local pastor into a district office setting was certainly different. Challenges abound in all areas of ministry, but in this current responsibility three areas top the list: developing true relationships that produce genuine partnership; identifying ministry that will genuinely benefit our leaders; and building community across previous long-standing boundaries of method, geography and culture.

The first year was spent traveling, listening and connecting to our leaders all across Louisiana. I find we often provide ministry no one is wanting or needing, so letting our leaders forge the foundation of need made it easier to develop a clear vision. 

You led a culture shift throughout the network. Explain what that looked like and why it was needed.
We’ve all heard culture eats vision for breakfast. Healthy culture is paramount for strong vision to become reality. Our culture sculpting started by asking: What are we doing? Why are we doing this? Are the right people leading the charge, and are the results moving us closer to our defined win?

It’s necessary to constantly challenge the process, evaluate the product, and determine if there is a better way forward. Some answers were not pleasant to hear. We were declining in numbers, aging and homogeneous in leadership. We realized some of our culture was a result of evolution instead of intelligent design.

“It’s necessary to constantly challenge the process, evaluate the product, and determine if there is a better way forward.” — Scott Holmes

Our leaders began to privately reshape the what and publicly declare the why. We used every means available to communicate the reasoning behind all the change. 

What words express the network’s vision, and why are they significant?
Unity, diversity and multiplication are the big three. Unity is about relationship, tribe, purpose and mission. We fight for unity, and we protect each other, even those who do church differently. According to Psalm 133, unity positions our entire network for a blessing.

Diversity drives us together, not apart. Our state is racially and ethnically diverse. Therefore, our leadership must be as well. Modeling diversity keeps us working hard to ensure that uniformity and homogeneity are never our goal in programs, personnel or final products. Diversity is intentional. We often say we will be intentional until it becomes organic.

Multiplication is all about our drive to be obedient to the Great Commission. Multiplication is about more communities reached, more leaders developed, and more churches planted.

How does church planting fit into the network’s overall vision for the future?
A goal of the network is to plant 100 churches in the next decade. This goal is a step of great faith and a bold declaration to do what has never been done in Louisiana over any 10-year period of our existence.

This passion is becoming part of our culture as we champion church planting, celebrate church planters, and challenge churches to get involved. We know we must be proactive and aggressive in leadership development and create new on-ramps of involvement.

You define a win for the network as a set of numbers: 30, 40, 50, 300, 800. Explain.
This set of numbers represents wins in five categories and helps us stay focused on the end result of everything we do. Every action must move us closer to our win.

Thirty percent is our goal for diversity. Our leadership is currently 95 percent Caucasian.

Forty represents the dropping of our average age of credentialed ministers from 55 to 40 years.

Fifty is the percentage of women we want to see in leadership, compared to 26 percent today.

Three-hundred is our 10-year goal for the number of strong and healthy churches.

The goal of 800 Spirit-empowered leaders keeps our focus on leadership development and creating pathways for our next generation of leaders.

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 edition of Influence magazine.

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