The leadership of the Imperfect Church is, predictably, wildly imperfect. We believe this is actually true in every church, but in our church, we don’t try to hide it.
God has given us pastors and leaders who know by personal experience the heartaches of divorce and broken families, severe addictions and hardships, crippling fears and insecurities, doubts about God and self, confused and broken relationships, and radical mistakes and failures. The example they set for us is not in having lived lives of inspiring perfection, but rather of finding intimacy with God through the struggles and trials of imperfect lives, imperfect choices, and imperfect abilities.
These imperfect realities are actually present in every leadership circle of any organization—both successful and unsuccessful, secular and spiritual. In the Imperfect Church, we simply see honesty and transparency about this reality as a critical path to our effectiveness as an authentic expression of Christianity in our local community.
Our Founding and Lead Teaching Pastor is Chris Eads. Chris has been serving in Christian ministry, international missions, teaching, and founding churches for over 30 years. In his current “day job” he works for an aviation association producing major aviation events around the United States. He and his wife, Sherri, love to fly airplanes, play outside, and spend time with Sherri’s two teenage daughters. For decades, Chris’ ministry focus has been on expressing the “scandalous grace” of God, His unconditional love, and helping people discover a genuine faith without the trappings of church dogma that is not rooted in God’s unlimited love.
Our other Pastor is Randy Richardson. Randy has been serving in Christian ministries for 30 years, including Young Life, Collage Campus ministries and church planting. He has a Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological School. In his current “day job” he works in the Cyber Security field. He and his wife, Debbie, have four children. Randy’s ministry focus has been on developing leaders of life changing Christ centered gatherings.
We do not celebrate our imperfections as anything to be gloried in, or as something that makes us trendy or cool. Nor do we hide behind the concept of imperfection as an excuse to not excel, grow, mature, or achieve our fullest potential as people being formed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
We do celebrate the fact that God chose us in our imperfections as a testimony to what grace, mercy, and unconditional love really look like. It is a testimony to what true, authentic Christianity is—God’s absolutely perfect power working in the lives of absolutely imperfect people to bring about a genuine and lasting transformation.
In the scriptures, the Apostle Paul urged Timothy, a young pastor he was mentoring, to “set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” As God has brought transformation to the lives of our leaders, we, too, strive to set this example of how God is able to bring about personal purity and transformation to everyone who will trust in God and surrender to His leadership.
But we also believe an important example of God’s work in human lives is set when we leaders share our honest struggles, doubts, and failures—and show how God’s mercy, grace, and empowerment meet us in our times of need. You will find the leaders of the Imperfect Church to be your fellow travelers in the journey to find God in the midst of a realistically challenging life.
We believe that healthy leadership in the church is not about finding leaders who have achieved some unique ability to live up to a “superman model” in the midst of a crazed religious structure that expects perfection. Instead, our church structures have been built in such a way that normal, decent people with good character can easily, healthily bear the yoke of leadership.
To achieve this, it requires the commitment of our church to a healthy leadership construct:
Realistic expectations of our leaders
Sustainable schedules and commitments
As much as is practical, we value our leadership staff and pastors serving the church part-time, bi-vocationally earning their living in both the church and in secular business ventures. This provides for a more sustainable model of leadership in the following ways:
It creates a leadership culture of shared responsibility. The pastors cannot do much—or even most—of the ministry activity. It forces church-wide ownership of the various roles that must be fulfilled. It dispels the “super-pastor” model prevalent in many churches where the pastor is looked to for the primary meeting of needs. The entire congregation must collaborate and contribute together, each owning his or her share of the responsibility. It more closely aligns with the scriptural concepts of the “equipping of the saints to do the work of the ministry.”
It creates a church culture of “living in the world” from the top down. As pastors and leadership staff are forced to find a healthy balance between the responsibilities of secular work, church ministry, and their personal lives, families, and recreation, they will lead lives of example to all congregants who must also balance those same pressures. There will be an immeasurable relevance between pastors and laity, as they journey together in the same daily struggles of time and resource management.
It forces the concept of “Simple Church.” Healthy church life will not add dimensions and burdens to an already overloaded suburban schedule. Rather, healthy life in Christ permeates all of our current activities and responsibilities by living out our Christianity in the midst of all those activities. With pastors and staff who have no more time in their lives for ministry than any other layperson, the church will not be tempted to build large programming that is unsustainable for the average layperson to lead.
There are times when it makes sense for pastors and leaders to serve the church full-time. We value that, too, but only when it makes sense for both that leader’s season in life, and for the particular functions of their role.