I’d like to introdue you to my friend Chris Hodges. He’s the Senior Pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, AL. He and his wife, Tammy, have been married for twenty-one years and have five children.
I interviewed Chris and this is what he had to say…
- What are the three greatest leadership lessons you’ve learned in the six years of your church plant?
There is no substitute for the anointing coupled with integrity. A leader must have gifts in order to do ministry and character in order to
sustain ministry. Temptations always follow times of blessing. The devil is always looking for an opportune time.
You not only have to be a leader who has vision, but you have to be able to communicate it in a compelling way. The vision must be simple enough for everyone to do it, clear enough that everyone knows about it, and effective enough that it actually works.
Teamwork makes the dream work. Relationships will determine whether or not you reach your potential. So in order to accomplish something big, I need to let go of my ego and be part of a team. Creativity must remain a constant. The message is holy but the methods are not.
- What are the books that have influenced you most?
Good to Great – Collins
Today Matters – John Maxwell
Courageous Leadership – Bill Hybels
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Lencioni
Explain briefly your philosophy of generous ministry?
At the heart of who God is – He’s a giver (John 3:16). The best way to get your people to give is to model generosity – not ask for them to give. So we give away everything – t-shirts, CD’s, etc. We tell our congregation that they can’t buy it because they already bought it when they gave their tithes and offerings. The result – they end up giving more than we would have charged. My old Senior Pastor – Roy Stockstill – said this: “Never ask people for anything – ask God and God would ask people.”
What are you doing to plant churches?
To me one of the best ways to make the most of your missions dollars and gain the respect of your congregation is to leverage the money they give. In other words, instead of just giving to missions, give to plant churches that give to missions. In 6 years, we have planted 40 churches (independent churches – not campuses) with a group of pastors called ARC (Association of Related Churches). Our investment has been a little over $600,000 and the 40 churches have already given over $6 million to missions. I believe that planting life-giving churches with a heart for the world is the best way to reach America and finance world missions.
What excites you most about the future?
What excites me the most is the opportunity to reach young leaders and play a role in training them and helping them reach their full potential. The purest calling on my life is to help people see their ministry potential and help them find a place to make a difference. Our intern program (24/7), training leaders around the world with John Maxwell’s EQUIP organization, and our Church Planters Roundtables excites me more than anything else I do.