7 Questions with George Salloum
Name: George Salloum
Current title: Senior Pastor
Current organisation: The Christian Church
George is married to the beautiful Heather and they have 5 children aged from 9yrs old to 21yrs old (2 boys, 3 girls). He has been in Church Leadership for about 24 years and in senior roles for 10 of those years. Together with his Business Partner, he owns two Corporate Businesses, both based in Brisbane. Most importantly though, he thoroughly loves Jesus and people.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
Being vulnerable. Naturally, I am a protective person who stands up for what he believes and for those he loves. Being vulnerable is not a default position for most people, but even less so for people like me. I have found that being in Church Leadership is a vulnerable position generally, yet this is amplified when you are the Senior Leader.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I graduated from Sydney Uni with a Bachelor of Economics, double major - Accounting and Corporate Law. After working in the industry for about 4 years, an opportunity opened up to move to Brisbane and work in the Head Office of a Church Movement. A few short years later, I was asked to join the Pastoral Team of a large Church in Brisbane and I was there, in various roles, for about 18 years. In 2018 I was asked to take on the Senior Leader Role at WorshipCentre Church, which was recently renamed ‘The Christian Church’.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
As I am not only a Senior Leader of a Church but also a Business Owner, my days can look very different. I try to maintain a pattern each week to ensure I invest my time where it is needed most - building people.
These are the non-negotiables of my days: Chatting to the Boss, His Word. Kids to school. Keeping my day open for people. Investing into myself (reading an article or book or listening/watching a podcast).
4. What one book had the most profound impact on your church leadership? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
One book? That’s unfair.
‘Walking the Talk’ by Carolyn Taylor
This is a business book about understanding and changing your organisational culture. It was this book about 12yrs ago that sparked my deep interest in Group Culture, how to identify it and change it.
This book and a few others like it (eg: Francis Chan’s ‘Letters to the Church’ or Bob Roberts’ ‘Lessons from the East’ - I know, that’s 3 books ;) radically changed how I see people, understanding why they do things a certain way and most importantly, have been the drivers to the way we do Church, from the core to the external.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I re-learnt this recently. Sitting in absolute silence (with noise cancelling headphones if needed) and rediscovering the power of thinking in silence.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
I know this is counter-church cultural, but we do not have a ‘leadership pipeline’.
We do have an ‘Influencers Gathering’ each month, for those in our congregation who have been identified as people that ‘gather others, influence those around them and their love of the Lord, one another & neighbours is evident’. The purpose of this Gathering is to instill culture into them, so they become the resonators of the culture throughout the congregation, just by being themselves.
These people don’t necessarily hold a ‘leadership position / title’ in the Church and the gathering is not generally promoted at large.
7. If you had to pick just one story, what would be the most meaningful story from your time as a church leader so far?
Besides seeing miracles, hearing people’s life stories, watching the Lord change someone’s heart or being a part of an apologetic reasoning that helped someone see the Lord differently, one of the most meaningful stories I can share is this;
As I was meeting with the 15th person for the week, for coffee, right at the end of the meeting they looked at me and said: “George, whenever I speak to you I always feel like what I’m saying is the most important thing to you. You look me directly in the eyes when I’m speaking. You make me feel heard and important”.
I was floored, slightly embarrassed actually. I don’t know why. Maybe because I didn’t even realise I was doing that, but most likely because it was such a huge compliment.
This person’s statement helped me remember to treat others like how I want to be treated, with value, respect and love