CNLP 194: Jerry Hurley on Keys to Scaling Your Ministry, Leaving Corporate to Help Build Life Church and What Makes Working With Millennials Work

Jerry Hurley joined the staff at Life Church in 1998, when it was a single campus and running about 600 people. He’s been on the senior leadership team as it’s grown to over 80,000 attenders and 29 locations today.

Jerry shares his top insights on scale, leaving the corporate world and recruiting staff and volunteers. Plus, he tells the story of how he challenged Craig Groeschel to make a change that Craig calls one of the most important in his early ministry.

Welcome to Episode 194 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Jerry on FacebookTwitter | Open.Life.Church

Links Mentioned

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CNLP 173: Craig Groeschel Deconstructs His Approach To Preaching, Leadership, Success, The Future And More

Vision and Values at Life Church

Management Dilemma: The Rule of 98/2

Anticipatory Leadership – Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

3 Insights from This Episode

1. Strong systems and a small mindset grow organizations.

Over the years, Jerry Hurley has excelled at keeping an incredibly large church from maxing out on growth. Here are his two key things to keep in mind when considering the potential of your organization:

1. Think small and nimble.
No matter the size of your church or business, thinking small is the perspective that will motivate you to grow. The expressions of what you do everyday will follow your mindset.
2. Systems are meant to serve the organization.
Do the systems you have in place serve your organization or has your team gotten off track by serving the systems? When an administration serves the systems staff get frustrated, innovators leave, and the organization declines. Continually refine the intentions behind how your team should function. A fluid and fresh system that serves the organization offers the healthiest environment for staff to work well and grow the mission.


2. God’s interested in who we are, not what we do.

If you feel God calling you toward something, there’s no reason to fight it or fear what could be on the other side of that big decision. Delaying the call only causes you to miss out on the blessings God wants to give you now.

Sometimes obeying the call doesn’t even mean moving into new territory. It could simply be that God’s wanting you to do more for Him with the platform you already have. Not everyone called into ministry is called into it full-time. He’s way more interested in who you are than what you do.

3. Great volunteers want invited to the table.

There are so many people who want to volunteer their time to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Often in only requires an invitation to the table and thoughtful preparation for their arrival. Jerry lists his approach to maintaining a full and productive volunteer community that provides efficiency for the team:

Have meaningful things for them to do.

Connect what they do to eternal life change.

Make sure they realize that they are making a difference.

Lead them the same way you lead your team.

Trust them to do as many things as you possibly can allow them to do.

Quotes from This Episode

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Next Episode: Kevin Jennings   

Kevin Jennings has done marketing and platform development with the likes of Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Reggie Joiner, and Dave Ramsey. Plus, he’s been a behind the scenes team member on my podcast and blog. Kevin shares his marketing secrets and we give you the step-by-step strategy we used that helped move this podcast to the #1 slot on iTunes when it launched.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 195.


  1. Steve on July 23, 2018 at 1:31 am

    Hi there, in this podcast there’s a mention of a Google (I think) article called Managing the 2%.
    I’ve had a browse around and cant find the link in the show notes. Can you assist?

  2. Rebecca Neal on June 12, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    Hey Carey. Thanks for providing many people access to the wisdom, experience and lessons learnt by influential global leaders. And thanks for asking the hard questions! #keepingitreal

    I the interview with Jerry Hurley, Life Church Values were mentioned. Could you please provide a link where I could access this? Many thanks

  3. […] Jerry Hurley On Keys To Scaling Your Ministry, Leaving Corporate To Help Build Life Church And What … on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast. Listen to this one. This is a really good conversation with a member of the Directional Leadership Team at Life.Church. Very cool. […]

  4. David on June 2, 2018 at 5:24 am

    Hi Carey, great episode! I was trying to track down the Rule of 98/2 and found a link in your notes. But when you go to the next site it requires a subscription. Any other options that you are aware of for us to be able to read that article without having to subscribe?

  5. Brad Hovermale on May 30, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    love the quote on systems serving the organization. He is right in that it gets too easy to have staff and even volunteers start serving the systems that exist. We get the means and end all confused and end up frustrated and off mission. I think it is because too many churches spend more time on the systems and not enough on mission and vision.

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