Brad Powell, Senior Pastor, NorthRidge Church
Brad Powell is the Senior Pastor of NorthRidge Church in Plymouth, MI and a frequent conference speaker. Brad has an adventurous spirit, loves a challenge, and passionately believes that the Church is the hope of the world… when it’s working right. He has devoted his ministry to being a catalyst for change in the church, knowing when it comes to the church, failure is not an option.
Brad provides leadership resources and encouragement to leaders, churches and organizations through NorthRidge Ministries Association and an annual conference, Change Without Compromise. He is a strong communicator drawing on real life examples, inspiring stories and his own experience with leading transition in ministries of various shapes, sizes and philosophies. His passion is steadfast – to see all churches become what God has uniquely called them to be by helping their leaders understand and successfully manage the principles for positive change.
He writes a regular Q&A column on transition for pastors and leaders in Outreach Magazine and is author of the recently released book “Change Your Church for Good: The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping” (Thomas Nelson).
The Leadership Blog Interview Questions
1. Brad, What gives you the greatest joy in being a leader?
Brad: "Seeing positive change. When my leadership is engaging people, I love seeing life change. When my leadership is engaging an organization, I love seeing the organization change... from static to dynamic, irrelevant to relevant, declining to growing, aimless to focused."
2. What is your biggest pet peeve as a leader?
Brad: "Those who seek or hold positions of leadership for personal benefit rather than to further the purpose. Nothing ticks me off more than so called spiritual leaders that serve as anchors rather than engines; consumers rather than contributors."
3. Brad, Who made the biggest influence in your life as a leader?
Brad: "Ultimately, as is true of all leaders, I am a product of so many who have gone before me. However, I think the biggest influences come early in our leadership because they set us on course. Because of this, I would have to say the person who most influenced me as a leader was John Maxwell. The reason...until I met John I couldn’t relate to anyone else in ministry. I was a pastor that didn’t identify with or relate to pastors. Because of this, for the first six years of my ministry, I was constantly struggling with the idea of leaving ministry. The way I led, the things I did, how I thought and communicated didn’t match anything out there. Though God was using it, I felt very misplaced. John, who was a pastor at the time, was the first one I could identify with and relate to. It was like breathing for the very first time. God used my exposure to John to clearly confirm that He had called and anointed me uniquely for ministry."
4. What books have changed your life?
Brad: "Honestly, other than the Bible, books don’t change my life. However, there have been some books that I have greatly benefited from...especially books on leadership. Because I believe leadership is all about change and so few spiritual leadership books ever addressed this reality, I benefited a great deal from two of John Kotter’s books: “A Force for Change” and “Leading Change.”
5. What's your biggest challenge as a leader?
Brad: "Transitioning my own thinking, style, strategy, and practice of leadership as the world and my ministry challenges change. For Example: As time has gone by, I have had to go from intuitional leadership to intentional leadership. Intuitional leadership, which is much easier, was all about leading people to myself. Since I was young and at the center of the culture, I just had to follow my intuition and lead people to myself. As I’ve matured and moved away from the center, I’ve had to learn to lead people away from myself. This demands intentionality and a lot of work."
6. What goals do you have as a leader?
Brad: "My goals flow off of my clearly defined purposes and my experiences. Personally, I want to be a man of God who reflects, reveals, and represents Christ in every area of my life. Professionally, I want to be a man of God who is a force for Christ in leading the church to prevail."
Generally: My prayer is to keep growing, keep creating, never become an anchor, make better everyone who knows me, and finish well.
Specifically: My prayer is that God will continue to use my leadership as a catalyst for NorthRidge to continue being a relevant, effective, and growing church and that He will use me as a catalyst for transitioning other leaders and churches to relevance, effectiveness, and growth both in the United States and around the world.
7. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Brad: "At this time, I see myself doing the same things...in very new and different ways. However, I do believe the balance of my investments will tip more and more toward leading through and investing in other leaders as well as the producing of resources that can help to challenge, encourage, and strengthen other pastors, churches, and believers. Having inherited a church that failed to invest in and release younger generational leaders as genuine stakeholders in the ministry, I have a growing passion to facilitate this at NorthRidge and beyond."