Jenni Catron on the Internal Life of Church Leaders
Jenni Catron is the executive director at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, a 10-year old multi-site church. She leads the staff of Cross Point and oversees the ministry of its multiple campuses. Prior to joining the staff of Cross Point, she worked as Artist Development Director in the Christian music industry for 9 years. In this episode she’s talking about what she’s learned about finding confidence in your role as a leader in an every changing and growing environment. She also talks about her upcoming book “Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence“.
01:38 // History of Crosspoint Church, Nashville, TN
02:38 // Jenni explains her role at Crosspoint.
03:40 // Jenni’s heart for equipping leaders.
04:21// Why Jenni wrote her new book called ‘Clout’.
05:00 // The surprising thing that gives us clout in our leadership.
05:37 // The danger of ‘clout killers’.
06:04 // The seven ‘clout killers’.
07:00 // One of Jenni’s ‘ah-ha’ moments. Pride as the ugly form of leadership.
09:04 // Jenni’s hope for readers of ‘Clout’.
09:33 // “Lead yourself well, to lead other better.”
10:50 // Jenni talks about how to nurture her own personal leadership health.
13:09 // Leaders need to always access the health of their relationship with God.
Lightning Round Highlights
Inspiring Ministry // Blood Water Mission
Inspiring Leader // Rudy Giuliani
What does he do for fun? // Playing tennis with husband and her team, renovate and decorate houses, reading
Check This Out // Pre-Order Jenni’s Book: Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence
Interview Transcript //
Rich – Well we’ve got a real treat today on the show. We’ve got Jenni Catron from Crosspoint Church in Nashville. She’s a blogger, a leader, a multisite expert, she’s just a real treat to have on the show today. So thanks so much Jenni, thanks for being here.
Jenni – Rich, thank you. It’s exciting to just be a part of the conversation. Looking forward to it!
Rich – Alright, well why don’t you give us a little bit of an introduction. Tell us a little about your church. A bit of your background, the churches background. We just what to get to know you better.
Jenni – Awesome. I work at Crosspoint Church in Nashville TN. We are 11 years old this fall, planted by our lead pastor Pete Wilson. I have been a part of the church from the very beginning. My husband and I were part of the core team that launched the church so it’s just kind of fun to look back at the days when there were 30 of us sitting around a living room, dreaming about what Crosspoint could be and then about three years into the church’s life, I came on staff. Now I had been in the music business here in Nashville prior to that. I thought I would run a record company some day. Never dreamed of being in ministry. And about three years into the Crosspoint’s story, Pete and I started discussions about me coming on staff to really lead and oversee the staff and the organization as a whole. So Pete could focus on being the visionary leader, the pastor, the shepherd, and I could run the ministry. So i’ve been Executive Director for a little over 8 years at Crosspoint and that role has morphed and changed repeatedly. When I started there were about 500 attendees and about 6 staff members. And now we have almost 5500 attendees every weekend, 5 campuses, I think 45 staff, so the scope has changed drastically through the years and it has been an absolute blast. It’s an amazing place to do ministry.
Rich – Fantastic. Now, you’re coming out with a new book soon. It’s coming out in January so I don’t know how much we want to give away to people. You’ve written a book before, you are an author already. Tell us about this new book and what spurred to you write something again?
Jenni – I think I discovered a little bit of a passion in me to…I’ve always been a learned, and I’ve always been an avid reader, and I think I always had a little dream of writing but as I continued to just explore my leadership influence, and some of the things God’s put on my heart, putting that in written form seems to be just a part of how I’ve been wired and gifted and I’ve really discovered a love for it. But my biggest heart to for equipping leaders. So the book is just a format for me to kind of take some of what I am learning as a leader and hopefully just kind of put it out there and learn from it, or maybe for people to say ‘OK Jenni, you’re crazy but glad you worked thought that.” But this book called ‘Clout’ is really just an overflow of what I feel like i’ve been learning as a leader over the last couple of decades and I’m excited to share some of that with folks in the coming months.
Rich – Alright, well ‘Clout’, you are already kind of drawing me in. Why is it called ‘Clout’? What is the internal stuff that spurred to you say I should write this book.
Jenni – ‘Clout’ is, and the subtitle is “Discover and Unleash your God given Influence.” I’ve loved the leadership word for as long as I’ve understood what it was. John Maxwell is quoted as saying “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” And I used to kind of get frustrated by that because I wanted leadership to have so much more significance. But ‘Clout’, I kind of go to that concept that leadership is influence, that we all go to that place where God has placed us and it includes our gifts, our talents, our abilities, those things. But it also includes the experiences. It’s the stuff that we haven’t enjoyed that actually give us some of our clout as a leader. And in my leadership journey, of course I have wrestled with just the insecurities and the fears and some of the comparison things, that just that stuff you don’t want to realize that you are actually wrestling with. And I think over the last decade or so I’ve realized how much that stuff was holding me back and not allowing me to live out my God-given influence. Not allowing me to really step into the clout that God has given me. And so that’s what the book is about. It’s a little bit of personal story meets the leadership challenge to say, there are something, we call them the ‘clout killers’. Something that’ll hold you back from really stewarding your leadership, your influence in a healthy way. So that’s my heart in this book, it’s to really equip young, developing leaders with some warning signs of the things that really could be hindering you and holding you back, and if you really make yourself face those things that it can allow you to unleash those things that God wants to do in you.
Rich – The 7 Clout Killers you talk about are fear, comparison, jealousy, scarcity, insecurity, pride and control. I know for me, the part that I have really appreciated about your book is there’s a lot of stories in it. There’s a lot of you telling your own experiences. Great insight for leaders. You know sometimes it can be a little lonely as a leader and you think things in your head. I don’t know if anyone thinks those things. And there are multiple times where I think Jenni might be listening in on my brain. Which is amazing. In particular there’s this story where you talk about being in this fight with your team. And you’ve got an idea that is opposed to them. Why don’t you talk a little about that, maybe the role of pride in leadership, as a Christian leader leading in the church.
Jenni – In that chapter I talk about, we are in this stubble, me and the team and I could have solved it right there. I could have just said ‘Hey, I’m the boss” and just made the decision and I realized my pride just wanted to win. My pride wanted to be right and so it was just one of this ‘ah-ha’ moments where I recognized, it wasn’t about just doing right or just leading well. It was that my pride wanted to be in charge and step into the authority of my leadership position. And so the definition of pride is inordinate self esteem. What I really challenge folks in that chapter, is that in fact, most of us don’t have inordinate self esteem, we have the illusion of, you know we are trying to cover up, we have this false exterior. BUt it manifests itself in pride. We have this false pride, this false identity that we can do everything when inside we are wrestling with all those insecurities, fears and doubts are resurfacing in what looks like pride. You know I think just as leaders, we are so hungry and eager for leadership and influence and we cover up a lot of the other fears and insecurities and the stuff we are wrestling with and it manifests itself in pride and it becomes kind of an ugly form of leadership.
Rich – Nice. Very insightful. A super insightful book. Now what are you hoping are some action steps that readers will take? What difference are you hoping it makes in readers lives?
Jenni – I think I would hope, that much like myself, you know the funny part is, you write a book like this and you feel the most inadequate person to have written the book. You write about all these fear, pride, insecurity, comparison, and all these ugly issues that you are wrestling with as a leader and you go ‘who am it to write this’, because then you start recognizing it. Seeing it all in everything you do. And I think that’s what I hope for everyone else. As you read it, I hope we are not discouraged by it and I hope it’s just a little more hopeful ideas in cultivating your influence. I hope that it makes us more aware of where those things are lurking in our heart. You know a lot of times as leaders we are moving so fast, we are trying to accomplish so much and do so much that we don’t always pay attention to what’s happening in here. I think that as leaders I often say ‘lead yourself well, to lead others better’. And a lot of times I thinks we are so hungry to develop our leadership that we neglect what’s happening in our own heard, in our self. That’s my heart, can we take a pause and do a little self leadership, and be aware of, we are not going to master these things, you know, we are human, and we need to wrestle, and some of them we will wrestle with more than others, but my heart and my hope is that it at least gives us some tools to identify those things that are hindering us and then puts us at the feet of God so that we continue to pray through and see what God work through those things in our life.
Rich – That’s fantastic. Question just around some practical tactics that you do as a public leader. You’ve got a huge staff team, multiple campuses, you’re a public person, you’re out speaking all the time. So lot of times as leaders we think about what we do publicly, on the stage. What do you do, what are some of your own practices to kind of cultivate that interior life, to wrestle with those issues that clearly you have tilled over many times to come up with a book like this.
Jenni – I think the more influence and the more opportunities you have as a leader, the more troublesome and difficult that becomes. To find the time for your own personal health. I’m an introvert by nature. I’ve learned to be extroverted and outgoing and I think not on the way extreme side of the scale but I rejuvenate by alone time and quiet time. But it’s also the thing that’s the most scarce in my life, because of all my influence and opportunities. You know I lead a great staff at Crosspoint, and it’s busy, and there is always someone who kind of needs you. So I have even rearranged some of my own schedule. I get up earlier in the morning than I ever have in my entire life. My husband and I don’t have children so we don’t have littles ones tugging and pulling on us, but I realized I had to find that quiet alone, contemplative time for reading and study and so forth and I have to make that a discipline. So that’s a big one for me. And then just knowing the things that rejuvenate you. For me, I have Friday’s off and my husband works so I don’t book much on Fridays. Friday is a quiet day, at home, I work on somethings, I’ll clean the house, I’ll do stuff that doesn’t involve me having to leading others. That’s particularly critical. As leaders we can find ourselves in places where we are always leading others and you need to not lead. And I have a good circle of friends that don’t need me to lead them. Friends that I have had for a couple of decades and they have no problem bringing me back to reality. I think you have to find the stuff that rejuvenates you and it’s not the same for everybody. That formula looks different. You know what you are thriving and feeling re-energized, so you have got to look for those windows and you’ve got to make them in the rhythm of your life. Easier said than done of course.
Rich – Ya, absolutely. I can identify with that. It’s like that sounds great. Anything else you would say to our listeners. Either about ‘Clout’ or about this topic in general.
Jenni – I think leadership is such an extraordinary gift. And as ministry leaders we never arrive. We are always growing, we are always learning and I think just by being on the quest to continue to hear from God. I’m learning right now, it’s an older book by Bill Hybels, but it’s a book ‘Too Busy not to Pray”. YOu know just going back to basics on those simple things. Our health as leaders and our relationship with God is so incredible critical, and I think just keeping a pulse on that and what’s going on here, what’s going on in our life as leaders. Then God does what God will do with the overflow of that. I would just encourage you all to stay focussed and committed to what God’s got for your heart and life and let everything else flow from there.