the shape of leadership

Seasons and Priorities in Church Planting

A conversation with Brandon and Casey Shank

Chris Colvin on October 28, 2019

With four kids under the age of 5, planting a church and launching multiple campuses can feel a bit like a balancing act.

“It takes priorities,” says Brandon Shank, who co-pastors Lifehouse Virginia Beach (Assemblies of God) in Virginia Beach, Virginia, along with his wife, Casey.

The church has two campuses, and more are in the works. Casey Shank says managing a growing church and a growing family requires intentionality and flexibility.

“I really had to understand the season we were in, and balance out the church and the family,” she says. “I had to have my kids taken care of first, but my mom felt called to move here and help out as well. In the early stages, I was at the church early every week. And then about a year after, I stepped away to have our fourth child.”

These seasons don’t mean slowing down or stopping, but they can mean tag-teaming and juggling roles at times. While Brandon is the main communicator, the two continue to share leadership responsibilities in the church.

The congregation is taking a step of faith because they believe God is leading them to do so.

“For us, God has spoken to us that we are called as a team,” Casey says. “So we’ve always approached life like that, in any job we’ve been in. When Brandon was youth pastoring, I was right there beside him. So we approached church planting with that same mindset.”

As a team, they have moved together with the vision God is giving them for Virginia Beach. And that includes multiplication through multiple campuses.

“In the fall of 2017, I really felt like the Lord spoke to me that it was time to dream again,” Brandon says. “I had just gotten comfortable. We had small overhead. But God woke me up one night with three words: three in three.”

Brandon sensed that God was leading them to plant three campuses over the next three years. This reminded the couple of Isaiah 54:2, one of their favorite verses: “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.”

They envisioned the new campuses as tent stakes. With one in each corner, all of Virginia Beach will be covered.

Brandon says the church didn’t expand because it was running out of space. Rather, the congregation is taking a step of faith because they believe God is leading them to do so.

“We didn’t do multisite based on overflow, but based on vision,” he says.

For Brandon and Casey, multiplication is a biblical principle. As a team, they’ve moved in and out of seasons, but they’ve always moved to the beat of God’s leading in their lives.

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

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