7 Questions with Shannon Karafanda
Name: Shannon Karafanda
Current title: Executive Pastor
Current organisation: Peachtree City UMC
I’m a renegade Executive Pastor and a professional Holy Mischief maker challenging others to share the mysterious disruption of God’s love in action.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
The biggest challenge is balancing differing options and personalities while still holding firm to doctrine. I constantly feel pressure to do the next great thing that another church is doing and also to do things that brings us back to traditional church activities.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was called to ministry in 1998 while on a church van travelling into Atlanta. I ran from this call for many years but finally accepted that I was on the path toward ordination. I went to seminary and was commissioned in 2005. In 2006 I was starting a church with my colleague Allan when he suddenly passed away one week before our launch service. Allan had a special way of making people feel like they were having fun while also making life meaningful. After many years of healing and soul searching, I discovered the special sauce that makes life both fun and meaningful. I discovered #HolyMischief.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Well that has certainly changed in 2020! Currently I get up and get my daughter ready for school. Then I pray and write and workout. Sometimes all at the same time. I head to the office to check in with our team. Depending on the day we might be doing program planning, worship planning, or leadership development. I spend some time checking in with congregation members before I head home. Then depending on the day it’s either soccer or basketball practice or violin lessons.
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?
Mindset by Carol Dweck. My doctoral research on Growth Mindset in Transformation Leadership shows how an organization's or an individual's mindset can be a catalyst for growth and success.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
During the pandemic I realized I wasn’t as self aware as I needed to be. Emotional Intelligence isn’t something you work on but something you also need to tweak and maintain especially in times of crisis.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
Constantly develop relationships. And always look for ways to match people to serve in their giftings. .
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
Probably when I was interviewing for a church and the senior pastor said, “Do you think the church handle the two of us together?” I knew in that moment he would appreciate and respect me. I learned a lot from him and will always be grateful.