CNLP 025: The Changes You Need to Make As Your Church Grows—An Interview With Jenni Catron

How do you handle growth when it comes your way? What do you need to do with staff, structure and scale as your church grows?

From record industry executive, to executive leadership at Cross Point Church and Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Jenni Catron has led a lot of change.

In this episode, Jenni shares what’s she’s learned through over a decade of leading change in growing churches.

Welcome to Episode 25 of the Podcast.


Guest Links

Jenni Catron on Twitter

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church

CLOUT: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence

Links Mentioned in this Episode

Andy Stanley; Episode 1

John Ortberg

Cross Point Church

Pete Wilson

The Orange Conference 2015

Donald Miller

Jon Acuff

Reggie Joiner

Doug Fields

Jeff Henderson

Jud Wilhite

Perry Noble

Josh Gagnon

Patrick Lencioni

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Growth can be uncomfortable, and change can be difficult. But in order to get the results you want to see in your ministry, are you willing to accommodate the growing pains that come with change? Jenni Catron tells us how to embrace the tension, make the transition and persevere.

  1. Face the uncomfortable. Sometimes your circumstances don’t make sense in the present, but when you nurture your situation with faith, the potential in other seasons is limitless. Keep tension in front of you when you’re in those seasons of growth and momentum, and stay in the vision God has put into your heart. Ask yourself, “Am I being faithful to what’s in front of me now?” Look beyond the current obstacle and focus on the outcome. The primary goal should be to reach people with your ministry and lead them to the gifts of the gospel; growth just happens to be the byproduct.
  2. Introduce new systems, but be prepared for pushback. In ministry we want to operate like a small family, and sometimes others are resistant to processes or systems in fear of a “corporate” feel. But the key here is balance. Identify the tension point and introduce a system as a solution rather than making it seem like an oppressive process. Be mindful that you and your staff may not be in the same season, but if you’re quick to identify the “what” and the “how,” it’s easier for others to embrace “why.” There’s also a fear that if everyone’s not happy, then maybe there shouldn’t be change; however, that’s a recipe for paralysis, and you won’t accomplish anything. Jenni says that sometimes you just have to shock the system and do something radical to start fresh and propel your ministry.
  3. Identify the “who” and “what” of leadership. Jenni gives a great analogy of leadership in the church being like the relationship between a car engine and oil. The engine is like the “who,” of the ministry, and the oil is like the “what.” The engine can’t run without the oil. The oil has to be healthy and tended to. But the oil is irrelevant if the engine isn’t running, so we have to pay attention to the people on our teams and how we’re managing them. There are also many Biblical references that support this. In the book of Exodus, Jethro tells Moses he was unfit to delegate; the job was too big for him. He reminds Moses that he’s going to wear himself out and wear out the people in the process. Sometimes there is a little bit of pride in you that says, “I’ve got this,” but we have to ensure that we have the right people in the right seats to lead because the engine will stall if the systems aren’t working well.

Want Incredible Training from Today’s Top Leaders?

Then don’t miss the Orange Conference 2015 on April 29-May 1st in Atlanta.

Learn from leaders like Perry Noble, Jeff Henderson, Jud Wilhite, Jon Acuff, Josh Gagnon, and today’s guest, Jenni Catron (and more). I’ll be teaching at the conference as well and have put together a senior leader track designed exclusively for senior pastors, executive pastors and campus pastors.

Register here today.

Quotes from Jenni

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Next Episode: Tim Stevens

How do you create a great leadership culture? Tim Stevens, author of Fairness is Overrated, talks about the essential elements every church leader needs to have in place in terms of personal integrity, finding the right team, building the right culture and learning how to lead in a crisis.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 26.

In the meantime, got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

CNLP 025: The Changes You Need to Make As Your Church Grows—An Interview With Jenni Catron


  1. jonperrin on March 7, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Exceptional podcast. I think your question on the tension between people and systems and Jenni’s corresponding answer are worth the price of admission! We’re praying for you and your guests. Keep up the good work!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on March 7, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Jon…thanks. Jenni’s so bright. And I really appreciate your encouragement.

  2. GregAtkinson on March 5, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Excellent. I have great respect for you and Jenni both. This is a great resource. Keep it up!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on March 5, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Greg…that means a ton. Thank you! And likewise.

  3. Chris Shumate on March 4, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Your interview with Jenni was great. It was nice to hear how at the church she is the XP at is transitioning to doing things to get the younger people into the church. It reminded me of what I heard in Nashville at the Live to Serve event on February 28 2015. Sue Miller was talking about leaders understanding that the next generation will come to faith differently than previous generations. It seems like that is exactly what they are doing at Menlo Park.

    It is great to hear that at Menlo Park they are making a way and even offering ear plugs for people who don’t like the loud music. I did chuckle when she said they were putting a map together as a sort of sounding chart to tell people where it will be louder. But it’s a brilliant idea in an old building that doesn’t have all the modern acoustics.

    I was sad to read about the woman who passed away at your church too. I know nothing about her, but from what you wrote she seemed to be a woman who wanted to make sure the next generations come to faith in Christ. She was a radical Christ follower in her own rite.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on March 4, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Chris…thanks for the meaningful feedback. Really appreciate it. And yes, I will miss Iris. 🙂

  4. Sam Fowler on March 3, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Carey, I wanted to be the first to tell you that you are doing a great and mighty work and like Nehemiah, don’t come down off of that wall for the cynics and naysayers! You fight the good fight because you and what you are doing and sharing through your podcast and other leaders’ discussions is leading such great change in me and our ministry in South FL! THANK YOU SO MUCH! Blessings to you and everyone at Connexus Church and hope to meet you someday. By the way, we have a wonderful canadian lady as one of our secretaries and she is a blast! Love Canadians!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on March 4, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Sam…thanks so much! Really appreciate the encouragement and thanks for leading the way where you are. We Canadians export our share of fun people!

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