This week we’re switching from interviews with campus pastors at multi-site churches to interviews with senior pastors at network or partner churches (autonomous churches that use video teaching primarily). The following is a recent interview with Jame Price of NorthBridge Church in Cranberry Township, PA. NorthBridge is a strategic partner of North Point Church (Andy Stanley) and uses videos of Andy’s teaching for the majority of the year. Here are Jame’s answers:

What is your ministry background? What did you do before becoming a Pastor?

I started by interning with a local church while still in college.  Within a year or two I became the Associate Director of Student Ministries there and then eventually the Director.  15yrs with students total.  Good times.

If you were a senior pastor, do you still preach? If you were a pastor, do you miss preaching regularly?

While never a “senior pastor”, I was delivering two different messages each week to our students, leading worship on Saturdays evenings and occasionally speaking Sunday mornings.  Crazy.  I now speak about 8-10 times a year at NorthBridge.  Love it.

How would you define the role of Pastor at a strategic partner church?
My job is to oversee and execute the mission/vision of NorthBridge Community Church. My top 5 priorities are:
  1. Maintain margin for family and spiritual health
  2. Staff and leader development
  3. Vision casting
  4. Fundraising
  5. Big picture perspective. I also feel it’s important to connect as often as possible with other partners. Their shared experiences, valid opinions and authentic relationships are of tremendous value and provide great perspective.

With your focus being on the role of a Campus Pastor and not preparing a weekly sermon, what do you get to do that you think a lot of pastors/preachers miss out on? What are the advantages of your role?
I’m in complete agreement with your last post and Josh’s comments on this one. “Most pastors spend 15-20 hours a week prepping for a sermon. That is 15-20 hours that I have to carry out the vision of our church. I am able to focus on the day to day stuff.

  • Build small groups and develop leaders
  • Focus on systems and overall health of the campus
  • Staff Development and training
  • Programming the weekend service around the message”

I would also add one more: For those times that I do give the sermon, I have weeks to prepare.  I get to let that message God has laid on my heart, His Word, really marinate within me.  I love that.

What are the unique challenges for a Pastor in a strategic partner situation?
I would say the three biggest challenges we face are:

  • Being portable.
  • Creating excellent environments that are portable and fit our very limited budget.
  • Figuring out how to communicate local mission / vision on Sunday mornings apart from the main message.

What is your communication like with your main campus or central support system?
We are always communicating via, phone, email, twitter, video-chat, partner-site, etc…  We also have at least three separate gatherings in Atlanta each year.

This is from DJ Chuang of Leadership Network: Do you have a backup plan? If technology fails you are you the one to preach that day? What is your backup plan?
We currently run Andy’s messages off of computer with dual DVD backup.  Should the backup fail, and we are more than half-way through the message, I am always prepared to finish it live.  What happens if we have a complete failure from the get go?  No worries. I always personally have a message or two ready to go.

*** If any of this resonates with you and maybe you feel God leading you to transition to this type of ministry, I would encourage you to check out HERE for more information on becoming a North Point Strategic Partner. Tomorrow we’ll look at LifeChurch.tv’s Network churches.

Greg Atkinson

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