7 Questions with Logan
Current title: Church Planter/Lead Pastor
Current organisation: Ignite LA Church
Logan, along with his wife, is a church planter and a pastor in Los Angeles, California. He is originally from the Midwestern United States, where he grew up in a very diverse church environment.
Logan's wife, Gabriella is originally from Bahrain, in the Middle East. Prior to moving to LA to plant a church this year, they were both Young Adult Pastors at a thriving, international church in the city of Omaha.
Before he was in full-time ministry; Logan worked in business development in the nonprofit field, helping to bring economic assistance to small business owners in the region.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
I'll speak specifically to the season we're in - The most challenging thing I've experienced is letting go of expectations. Prior to the COVID crisis we're all experiencing globally, I had a grand-scale, visionary plan of how I thought planting a church should look like.
In our "new normal," however, I've been learning to reevaluate, and come up with new ways to measure growth, success, and normalcy in my life, work, and ministry. It has been challenging; but a blessing at the same time!
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I didn't envision being a pastor when I was younger. I accepted Jesus at an early age, and was very involved in my youth ministry. I actually majored in Journalism in college, and aspired to be a reporter and a foreign news correspondent.
I spent a couple months in the Middle East after university, and felt a strong connection to the region, its people, and it's spiritual needs. Upon returning to the states, I met my wife, who grew up in the Arab World.
From there, I saw God work in my life in lay ministry - first as a prayer/prophetic and small group leader, and later in ministry to Muslims, and in Young Adult ministry.
I always knew my ministry would be international in scope - focused not just on my local context, but on reaching UPGs (unreached people groups) as well as secular, international students and marketplace professionals living/working in global cities; starting here in Los Angeles.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I wake up during the week and start every morning with some freshly brewed coffee. Then, I spend time with Jesus - In prayer, reading my Bible, and a devotional, like the one I am currently going through called 'Live Dead Joy.
After breakfast and exercise, I start by working in my home office, or on my patio. When things are more normal, I would typically be found working at a local cafe during the day. I take Zoom calls with other pastors/leaders, as well as my church planting coaches. I send and respond to emails, fundraise for our church plant, and spend time crafting sermons if I am preaching somewhere locally.
I also create content to go over with our leadership team, and create/schedule posts and videos for our church's social media pages. In the later afternoon, I will often take a prayer walk in my neighborhood, or sometimes down by the beach, not too far from my house. I will also visit my local coffee shop to build relationships with the people there.
In the evening, my wife and I will often host people at our house for dinner, and community life. We have our weekly leadership team meeting as well once a week at our home, or sometimes outside in a park, or a restaurant when things are open.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
'Jesus Never Said to Plant Churches' was one of the first books I read when I started this journey several years back. It was very crucial in laying down the foundation in my heart and mind of what it truly, and practically means to plant churches - Making disciples - Not passive attenders. I still refer back to it often as a field manual of sorts.
Now more than ever, the post-COVID, 21st century church in the West needs to understand what a church living on mission truly looks like.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I've said before that "People will fight and die with you - If they know that you love them."
Nothing can replace true, authentic, relationships with your team members. If you want people to truly buy into the vision God has given you, then you must be willing to love and value them above and beyond tasks, and even the ideas you have.
We can't control what others do, but we CAN model for them what it looks like to follow Jesus on mission, and love people well.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
I am learning how this works as we speak! I think it has to begin with you, as the senior leader. If you are healthy, then you are in a position to invest your time and energy into others. Focus on your personal spiritual, emotional and relational health first.
Second, expectations have to be made clear. The worst thing in the world is for a leader to expect something of someone who doesn't deliver, and oftentimes, it was because they failed to clearly communicate what they wanted from the start.
Don't hesitate to reach out for help. There may be strategies you haven't quite considered. A lot of pastors and church planters have dark nights of the soul, and feel lost and alone. Church planting often feels like a "just me and Jesus" venture at times. Not everyone may be able to understand your context, and exactly what you're going through, but emotional support and simple encouragement go a long way!
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
When I first felt called to full-time ministry, I was having a conversation with my pastor. At the time, I didn't quite know what I was specifically pursuing. He told me, "When you're first starting out in ministry, say yes to every opportunity you're given - until you have to start saying no."
This wisdom is what led me to where I am now. By continuing to say "yes" to each leadership role I was offered, I gradually discovered what God was calling me to all along.
The story of David in 1 Samuel 18 comes to mind. David was successful everywhere Saul sent him, and he was eventually appointed over the men of war, the elite soldiers. This was his reward for obedience, victory and submission to what he was instructed.
I often see my story so far like this. I thank God for his continual favor, blessing and safety that all comes from obedience and faithfulness!