Elders, Staff, Discipleship Program, Prayer Culminate in Baptisms
By Melissa Wuske
Compass Christian Church “has had a heart for evangelism since day one,” said senior pastor Brian Jobe. But in recent years, the church’s growth has been astounding—even in an area crowded with megachurches and in the midst of a culture of church hopping.
Jobe said the Greater Phoenix church’s eldership has been crucial to “putting the church in a place to receive God’s blessing” during his three years there—including a year overlapping with pastor Roger Storms, who had served the church for 29 years and helped instill “mission-mindedness, flexibility, and positivity.”
Going in, Jobe told the staff, “Everything rises and falls on the transition.” He credits the “super healthy transition,” during which Compass saw 11 percent growth, to the leaders and staff of the church.
Jobe said servant leadership among the elders is key.
“Every single one of them is serving in some ministry.” Once a quarter during a board meeting, Jobe passes around a list of the church’s key ministry areas and asks each elder to choose one they haven’t served in before.
“The elders go in every week and they’re praying for the pastors and the volunteers involved in those ministries. They’re super encouragers of those ministries.”
Jobe said staff health also is key, and he wants each person to minister out of an overflow of their relationship with God. Once a quarter, spiritual formation coaches lead all staff and support workers in growing and connecting with God.
An eldership and staff that’s spiritually and humbly growing and serving the church paves the way for congregational growth, he said.
When church leaders decided to offer the discipleship program “Rooted,” they began by first having elders, staff, and their spouses take part. Not only did it ensure “we all had each other’s backs” during the transition, Jobe remembers, it also meant Rooted already had “raving fans” when it was presented to the congregation. Thus far, 1,500 people have been through Rooted, and every time Jobe mentions it, people actually cheer. “[It’s] a culture change that wouldn’t have happened without buy-in of the elders and staff,” he said.
The elders have also been instrumental in “turning up the prayer temperature,” Jobe said. Every Saturday evening before the start of weekend services, elders and staff gather. “We pray over every seat in the worship center . . . that God will meet people where they are and show himself to them.” On Sundays, Jobe tells new visitors that someone was praying for them before they even arrived, and he invites everyone to pass on the blessing by praying for the person who will sit in their seat during the next service.
For Jobe, this all culminates in baptisms.
Jobe compared the church’s first two decision weekends to the miraculous catch of fish in John 21. During the first decision weekend, 153 people were baptized, and a year later another 168 were baptized.
Again, the elders led the way: “They were the first to help people into and out of the pool. They had even bigger faith than I did [that] people would come.”
“The leaders and the elders, they have history, they’re positive, they’re humble,” Jobe said. “I don’t know how you can overestimate [the importance of] that.”
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, and their son, Caleb, live and minister in Cincinnati. Find her work online at melissaannewuske.com.