CNLP 095: The Challenges of Scaling a Church – An Interview with Rusty George

Rusty George didn’t plant Real Life Church, but he saw it grow from a small gathering in a movie theater to a multisite church of over 5000 attenders. Rusty talks openly and honestly about the highs and lows of growth, staffing, change and raising money to fund a vision to reach unchurched people.

Welcome to Episode 95 of the Podcast.


Guest Links: Rusty George

Real Life Church

When You, Then God

Rusty on Twitter

Links Mentioned


Injoy Stewardship Solutions

Orange Tour

ReThink Leadership

Kyle Idleman

Shepard of the Hills

Church Development Fund

Blessing Ranch

Bethany Hamilton

Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth by Samuel Chand

Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Family and Work Collide by Andy Stanley

David Kinnaman; Episode 82

Hayden Shaw; Episode 69

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Rusty started in a California movie theater that held back-to-back services with strict time limitations. Because of the price of land and the high turnover rate of churches in the area, Rusty faces several challenges when establishing Real Life Church. Here’s how he handled it:

  1. Establish and maintain partnerships. The city says no to churches because land expensive, and they often saw churches come and go fast. A church couldn’t just come in and take over the local Kmart that recently closed. They build rapport with the city staff and became known as the church to give back, not the church whose mission was focused on taking. By having those relationships with the city, they positioned themselves so that they were an establishment the city would want to keep around because they were known for serving.
  1. Allow people to decrease their commitments. Rusty said that his demographic is generally skittish about churches and fundraising. (Who isn’t?) They asked for a three-year commitment and allowed them to increase or decrease commitment based on their financial circumstances from year-to-year. Because of this flexibility, the church attracted new donors.
  1. Build a team you can trust. Rusty embraced the 3 Cs developed by Bill Hybels and primarily focused on good team chemistry. “It was a huge piece. We’ve hired competent people, and six months later, it doesn’t work out because chemistry isn’t right.”

The Lasting Impact Team Edition


The team edition is a compilation of eight videos designed to allow the teams in your church follow along as a supplement to the book. I highlight key points from the material and discuss additional hot topics that relate to your ministry.

Get your copy of Lasting Impact today! 

Lasting Impact frames 7 pivotal conversations every church team needs to have, covering subjects like declining church attendance, team health, creating a culture volunteers love and how to engineer changes in your church.

Order on Amazon, or visit! The video team edition, featuring 8 videos where I teach through the key concepts in the book, is available now as well!

Quotes from this Episode



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Next Episode: Larry Osborne

Few people have been in leadership as long or effectively as Sticky Church author and North Coast Senior Pastor Larry Obsorne. In a wide-ranging conversation, Larry talks about why it took so long for North Coast to grow to a large church, how to close the back door at your church and how to truly align a team.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 96.

CNLP 095: The Challenges of Scaling a Church – An Interview with Rusty George

1 Comment

  1. Kelli Espiritu on July 6, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    OMG! I watched Real Life Church being built! Real Life Church is about an hour south from me. In 2010 my daughter attended & played soccer at The Masters College there in Santa Clarita Ca. A few times a month, for four years Driving down Newhall Ranch Rd, I’ve watched this church flourish. I stalked them online and cheered them on. I’m happy to hear Rusty’s story. Also glad to hear my state knows what’s up and loves your podcast. (This is your #10 fan… Haha. 10th to leave a review ????????)

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