The Unstuck Team is growing! As we continue to expand our services, we’re building a team of talented people who are passionate about helping churches get unstuck. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Chad Hunt, one of the newest consultants to join us.
Chad has had the unique experience as a lead pastor of growing a church from 60 to 600 in a rural town of only 2,000 people. Read on to learn more about Chad and why we’re excited to leverage his experience to help churches grow.
TIFFANY: Tell me a little about your background that led you to become a part of The Unstuck Group team.
CHAD: I am a preacher’s kid; raised in church my entire life. I have been leading in the church for 20 years, specifically as the lead pastor at Caveland Church for the last 15. About a decade ago, I wrote an addiction recovery program, which included a book for mentors and a workbook for clients. After a few years, it was being used across the country, and churches started to invite me in to train them.
Through that experience, I discovered my passion to help pastors and the Church. For the last two years, I have been working with rural churches in Omaha, helping them develop systems and strategies to get unstuck.
TIFFANY: How has your love for churches in rural communities grown in the last few years?
CHAD: After Caveland grew to 250 (in a small town of 2,000), I began to get phone calls from other pastors at smaller churches, asking for advice. It wasn’t long until I developed informal coaching relationships with several pastors. I absolutely loved hearing pastors get excited, and even more, the reports about their churches growing and reaching people with the Gospel.
After a few years, I developed my own coaching material and began formal coaching and on-site consulting. As far as stories, I remember one pastor in particular, who sent me an email, telling me that our time together literally turned his church around. They baptized more people in six months than they had in the last five years; new families were attending and they crossed a new attendance barrier. Stories of life change always get me stirred up.
TIFFANY: What is one of the biggest challenges you faced growing a large church in a small community?
CHAD: The biggest obstacle I faced was leading our church from a very traditional model, to a contemporary, gospel-intentional model. Anytime you bring about change in a small church (especially a small town church) it always results in resistance. In addition to all the push-back (which resulted in a lot of people leaving), there was also the noise from other churches because we did things differently. I remember one pastor telling me, “The true church sings their songs out of a book and not off the wall from some projector!” And when I started preaching in jeans and stopped using the KJV, you would have thought I had sacrificed my tie to Satan. It was crazy.
TIFFANY: What tips would you share with pastors in rural areas for leading with vision?
CHAD: I would tell pastors to make sure your vision has clarity and metrics. (Something people easily understand and something that can be measured). If you can’t measure it, you can’t grow it. The other thing I would say, especially in leading traditional churches to a more intentional model is this: Slow growth is healthy growth.
Often times, pastors become so married to the vision, they forget about the people they’re leading. And while we know many will resist and some will leave, as shepherds, we are still responsible to help lead our people as we cast vision. Leading with vision requires continuous casting. Vision really can’t be “taught;” it can only be “caught.”
Another issue in leading in small town churches is pride. It’s easy to become prideful when you’re the largest church in the county (and that could be 300-500). As Tim Keller once said, “Pride is like carbon monoxide; it’s an invisible killer.” In small towns, where it’s easy to be a hero, pastors have to really guard against pride in order to keep their church and staff healthy.