At Chase Oaks Church, experts help “build remarkable teams.”
By RaeAnn Slaybaugh
When Senior Pastor Jeff Jones was taking over leadership at Chase Oaks, he and the existing senior pastor knew they needed help in navigating their way to the worship style for the future.
Determined to help bridge the gap before the transition was finished, Jones called on Stan Endicott and Monty Kelso, co-founders of Slingshot Group.
“We needed the nuance and experience required to listen to both the existing senior pastor and to me, as the incoming senior pastor, and navigate that situation,” Jones explains.
It was an informed choice: Slingshot Group is uniquely suited to help large churches, like Chase Oaks, in this area.
“They’re not just watching; they’re talking with those leaders and interacting,” Jones says. “They know there’s not one model of succession that works; there are 50, and they’ve seen them all.”
Jones and Executive Pastor Jack Warren also credit Endicott and Kelso for knowing the church’s DNA, heartbeat and vision.
“It almost feels like [Endicott] is on our staff,” Warren says, lauding Endicott’s big-picture, storytelling ability — especially as it interplays with Kelso’s strategy-based strengths.
Know When To Ask For Help
This initial experience showed Jones and Warren the value of embracing outside expertise when facing difficult staffing or coaching needs. Today, Chase Oaks and Slingshot Group enjoy a decade-long partnership.
Jones says the church generally enlists consulting or embraces outside hiring when their staff is stretched too thin, or when they want to avoid repeating the same culture. Case in point: During the succession season, Chase Oaks was also responding to an increased demand for family ministry and struggling to find a relevant, consistent approach to student ministry. The need for both was especially acute as the church launched multiple campuses.
“Our student ministry leaders would sit in a room and debate models of ministry for hours and hours, but they weren’t landing in a common place,” Warren recalls.
They needed guidance from someone well-networked in student ministry throughout the country, and David Miller, vice president of coaching, emerged as the ideal fit. Having served as a student pastor at a multi-campus church, Miller understood multi-site church dynamics and brought a relevant, contemporary voice to the Chase Oaks student ministry and executive teams he coached.
“They had immediate respect for him. [Miller] is smart, super likable, and just really gifted,” Warren recalls. “So, rather than me — who was a youth pastor 20 years ago — we got an expert who’s done it at a larger level than [Jones] or I ever did.”
“Our ministry practitioners truly do set us apart,” says Kelso. “They’re not only well-networked, they’ve actually been there. They’ve lived it firsthand, and they know what it takes to put the right person in the right position.”
After several months, a core values list for how Chase Oaks would do student ministry was developed, as was a set of guiding principles. “We came up with a common mission — a ministry that had, as its core values, fun and reaching kids who aren’t here yet,” Warren says. “Then, a strategy was built from there.”
From Student Ministry To Senior Leadership: You’re Covered
In recent years, when Chase Oaks sought to fill two senior-level teaching pastor positions, they once again turned to Slingshot Group. This time, Todd Clark, vice president of senior leadership, was tapped for guidance.
“If we could’ve hired [Clark], we would have; he’s an amazing teaching pastor,” Jones says. “He’s really connected and well-known in the large-church world and has access to people that I don’t. Potential candidates will answer his phone call.”
Today, Jones still occasionally receives notes of encouragement and support from Clark.
“I feel like we’ve got an ongoing friend and partner who really wants us to win,” he says.
When the church identified a need for more teaching pastors, Jones and Warren knew where to turn. A likable communicator and connector was hired to fill the Asian teaching pastor role (for the fastest-growing demographic in their area), as were two adjunct teaching pastors.
As Jones points out, the latter might not have been options if the church had insisted on relocation. “I’m not sure the typical church member has any idea that they don’t live here,” he says. “They just know they love it when Blake or Ryan speaks.”
Filling these hard-to-find roles is something Slingshot Group is uniquely gifted to do, especially since so many of their coaches are adjunct teaching pastors themselves. “They see the impact,” Warren says. “And when it comes to candidates, their net is really wide.”
Your Remarkable Team Is Waiting
Whether it’s hiring for difficult-to-fill positions or honing ministry approaches and teams, Jones and Warren have identified an effective, consistent approach to meeting the challenge: call on the expertise and connectedness of Slingshot Group.
“All the coaches we’ve worked with are great at coaching the individual staff person, but also giving us a roadmap,” Warren explains. “They’ve helped us determine what needs to change, at what pace, and some key strategies to lead it.”
Jones agrees: “They’ve helped us in our journey to become a better, more effective church as culture changes.”
As future staffing and coaching needs arise, their confidence is, no doubt, well placed.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT CHASE OAKS CHURCH
Year established: 1981
Location of main campus: Plano, Texas
Full and part-time staff: 46 / 105+
Combined weekly attendance: 7,250