7 Questions with Aaron Fozzard
Name: Aaron Fozzard
Current title: State Youth and Young Adult Ministry Team Leader
Current organisation: Queensland baptists
Aaron is married to Nikki. Their son is Ezra. Aaron is the Youth and Young Adults Ministry Team leader for Queensland Baptists. He is passionate about creating community wherever he goes, connecting people and people to Jesus. He builds community by drinking good coffee with people, working on events and projects with other leaders from across Queensland and Australia, facilitating networking events and coaching current and future leaders. When he is not creating community across Queensland you can find Aaron in his garden, at a local dojo, playing guitar, in the gym, sitting in a sauna, running, bush walking or hanging with his family.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
I have found the most challenging issue in church leadership is doubt. As a young pastor one learns competition quickly. The constant evaluation of self against others. After having been lost in this learnt or taught behaviour seeds of doubt were sown. “I am not good enough” crept into my psyche. The depth of my depravity was shown. I was so focused on what others had that I lost sight of what God had given me and called me into. Just recently I was, again, made aware of this deep doubt. I lost sight of what God was calling me into. I doubted my “perceived” competence, disregarding my God-given competence. My role as a denominational leader is strange. I am not like other local pastors. I will unlikely look like other local pastors, and I must be okay with this. I, regularly, have to come to grips with the fact that even when I am doubtful of my abilities, drive, or outcomes, I am the one that God has placed into the situation and I must trust His steadfast wisdom, strength, and clarity to get me through. For all Christian leaders, we serve God. He doesn’t doubt you, trust Him.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was called into ministry in grade 11. I ran the other way for nearly 5 years, trying every possible options other than ministry. During this time I was leading in youth ministry and led music, and trying to stay away from taking too much leadership opportunity. In 2009, a couple of months after Nikki and I were wed, Nikki turned to me and said, “its time”, articulating that it was time to stop running from my call and to step into it. After completing my Bachelor of Ministry at Malyon Theological College in 2012, I transitioned from youth intern to youth pastor. While at college in 2010, I felt a strange burden for the wider Church, in particular, the Baptist denomination as a whole. Fast forward 5 years, and I had my foot in the door as Queensland Baptist Youth and Young Adult Ministry Team Leader. Since 2015 I have been shaped more for denominational ministry. I never new running from God was such a dumb thing to do. The dream He gave me in grade 11 was terrifying, “You want me to do what, no chance You must have the wrong person”, but now living in His plan, I am blown away with what He has done through me and the journey He has placed me in.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I use David Allen’s methodology found in “Getting things Done”. I wish I had grabbed a hold of this amazing way to get things done much earlier on in the piece. The two-minute rule has revolutionised my life and my email. I will outline my day in my calendar (Outlook) and put into “To do” specifics of what needs to be done to achieve the outlined outcome (I’m a Microsoft user, sorry Mac friends). As a disciple, husband, parent and a person, I have important rhythms that do not get encroached upon, like Minecraft with my son at 3-4pm most weekdays or Karate Mondays and Wednesdays, regular check-ins and dates with Nikki, and daily lectio Divina. I have found that having set rhythms and a strong system of how to get things done is life giving and highly productive in all things I do.
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?
“Building a Discipling Culture” by Mike Breen gave me a real reality check. I found myself seeing the leaders on my teams as tools to make my ministry function. This book came at the right time. It showed me what I was missing. It showed me that I don’t make disciples and, actually, didn’t even know how. As a church leader that sentence is really hard to write, but I have to be honest. Breen, gave me the tools and clarity on how to make and lead disciples well, and from using his ideas I saw my leadership team triple in a few months. The team grew because I started to see people for who they were not how I could use them for my personal success. Building a Discipling Culture birthed in me the drive to make disciples that make disciples and develop leaders who seek to do the same.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
“Humility is the soil to thankfulness”. This phrase was used by Jimmy Hill from Crosslife during the COVID19 season, and it sums up exactly what I had been learning. After doing a 360 review, I realised that I am horrible at saying “thank you”. That was because I am so focused on getting the work done that, I constantly assume that that is how everyone else is. Little did I know. I like to get the work done and will normally just do it. But this is not always the case for the people I work with. I realised that I lack the humility needed to truly see people. I get so caught up in doing that I think I am better than those who do things slower or do not have the same level of drive as I do. God gave me a stern talking to through His word as I reflected on Luke 10:38-42, where Mary and Martha are posturing themselves differently. Martha is running around doing, getting caught up in all the things that need to be done, while Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus. After a brief complaint made to Jesus. Jesus says “Mary has chosen the good portion”. That was the sting. I regularly find myself in a posture of Martha, and, in turn, get angry with those who are slower or may be choosing to sit at the feet of Jesus. I have learnt that I must humble myself or come off my high horse regularly and see people for who they are and be deeply thankful for all they do.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
I use 3Dm’s “leadership pipeline” framework. Recruit, train, send, review, and repeat. This framework forces me to think about where my leaders are in the pipeline and what they need to move forward.
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?
I have a little project that I do with a friend. I have called it the “wooden door project”. Regularly, well not during COVID19, we would meet in our local sauna. We would exalt God together, edify each other, and evangelise or be Jesus to those who would come and sit with us. One day I was exhausted I went to the sauna not wanting to do any ministry at all. There were no cars in the carpark. I fist pumped in excitement that I would be alone. When I walked towards the sauna, I saw that the light was on. I was not impressed. I went inside said “hi, how you going” to the young fella sitting on the bottom step. He acknowledged me with a “hi, yeah, good”. We sat in silence until I placed a lot of water on the hot rocks causing the room temperature to reach uncomfortable levels for the uninitiated in hope that he would leave. He did not. He said, “that’s better”. I sighed to myself while laughing at his response. We then began to chat. I learnt who he was, what he did, his connection to others that I have chatted with in the past, and that he was son of pastors. I started asking him questions about his faith. I asked him “do you have faith in Jesus”. His response was alarmingly honest. “Not really, like, I believe that there is a god, but my parents’ faith is enough for me”. I was taken back by that statement. I found myself challenging him, “your parents’ faith isn’t going to make you right before God, you have to put your faith in Jesus and have a relationship with Him”. He nodded in agreement, “yeah, I know”, he said. Silence fell over the conversation. As he was getting up, I said, “I’ll be praying for you”. “Thanks”, he said. I did not see him again. But a couple of months later his brother in-law and sister were in the sauna and we got talking. “You’re that guy that spoke to my brother, aren’t you?” his sister asked. “Yeah, that’s me, I guess. How’s he going?” “He has changed big time, he is on fire for the Lord and gave his life to Jesus a couple weeks ago”, the brother in-law replied. “So good”, I said, praising Jesus silently to myself. It is great to see God doing His thing in this location. This is one of many missional stories I have due to be faithfully present with Jesus and others.