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Episode 008 – Antioch Community Church Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert

Posted on Sep 29, 2016 by in Podcast Episode | 0 comments

Jimmy talks values training, prayer and action working together and leading in the middle.


Jimmy Seibert is the Senior Pastor at Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas. He and his wife Laura founded the church in 1999, and it has since grown to a network of over 100 churches around the United States and the world.

Jimmy has authored several books including Passion and Purpose: Believing the Church Can Still Change The World, The Three Loves and his most recent that he wrote along with Laura, Parenting Without Regret.


  1. Jimmy for listeners who aren’t familiar with you and your story, let’s fill them in a bit. Where do you come from and how did you arrive at this place of leadership at Antioch?
    1. Came to college as a new believer
    2. Girl broke up with him which was huge and brought him to grips with his own faith…was God enough
    3. Started reading Matthew and committed to figuring it out
    4. Figured out the importance and rarity of authenticity in church leadership
      1. People want to believe that the guy preaching at the front is living it out
  2. Talk if you would about how you build trust among both your congregants and your staff.
    1. People trust people who know their story and care about their lives (sounds like Don Yaeger!)
    2. Otherwise all you know is their behavior
    3. Until someone believes you care about them, they won’t let you lead them
  3. How is culture developed in a workplace, and how do you go about recruiting the right people to fit that culture?
    1. Every culture has a set of values (spoken or unspoken)
    2. At Antioch, it began with 11 values. But nobody could remember them. Got it down to eight and then five and then three.
      1. Love God, Love Others, and Love those who don’t know Jesus
      2. Staff meetings begin with the core values, and someone is asked how they lived those out this week. Get testimonies around that value
      3. People tend to do what is celebrated
    3. Hit the values from every angle
      1. Books
      2. Podcast
      3. Values training
        1. All staff goes through two week training; without it we can’t be who we are
        2. Here is our value; here is our practice around our value; is this what you want to do?
        3. Waste Management company example
          1. Would ask about past employment experiences, what they liked/didn’t like about it
          2. If they had problems with authority, he wouldn’t hire them
  4. In 2001 you led the church through a difficult and public real-life drama of the capture, arrest and eventual release of two college-age women who had been taken by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Can you tell us about that experience and what you learned from a leadership perspective?
    1. Authenticity again
    2. CNN’s People in the News came to spend time with the church and he and Laura
      1. At the end of their time, anchor said:
      2. “Why do Christians think the media is out to get you”
      3. Jimmy, “Because it seems like you are!”
      4. Anchor: “That’s not the angle. We are training to smell duplicity, and when we smell it, we go after it like white on rice. So when faith leaders are trying to play a game with us we can’t let them get away with it. But that’s not you.”
  5. Political leaders offer up prayers in times of tragedy, often to the criticism of people who think that’s a cop out for not taking “action.” Your book Passion and Purpose is filled with examples of fervent prayer leading to breakthroughs. How should leaders incorporate prayer?
    1. Not either/or, it’s both/and; not called to be monastics and pull away from society to just pray
    2. Our own best efforts don’t get to the best; we are limited; so we rely on a higher power
    3. Example from the girls in prison
      1. 9/11 happens and media picks up on situation
      2. Prayer
      3. But also working the situation
      4. Media asked him what his message was to people watching around the world, and his answer was to pray
        1. Most people don’t have a way to practically/directly help, but they can ask God to
      5. Austin American Statesman helped get message out to ask for prayer; Drudge picks it up
        1. 80+ nations sent notes of prayer
      6. One of the captured women said that God saw orphan/widow were being oppressed by Taliban, and allowed two of his kids to be captured so that the whole world pray, to bring down this evil regime so that the orphan/widow could be cared for again
    4. These things all connect, God is at work and doing good, but it takes people to pray to bring that good to pass. All the work of our hands is limited, but with God it is unlimited.
    5. Daniel tells story of daughter having seizures at 6 months and the tangible feeling of all the prayers from people all over.
    6. At the very least there is comfort, love, grace and help
      1. Patients in hospitals do better when being prayed for, or at least are thankful they were prayed for
  6. You recently led the church on a journey to expand the footprint of Antioch Waco by building a new auditorium, and to do it debt free. Six years later here we sit. It was a bold vision and a massive undertaking that I think many listeners could relate to in their world and learn from. So what are one or two things you learned about leadership going through that process?
    1. Leaders must make a decision on what hill you’re going to die on
    2. People must know you are willing to do what it takes to follow through
    3. God gives the vision and then he shapes you and changes you so that the vision can be fulfilled
    4. Lessons
      1. In big financial journey, people will jump in journey early because it is exciting, and people at the end when it’s almost done. But the wilderness is in the middle.
      2. Leading in the middle
        1. Keep the main thing the main thing
        2. Couldn’t let the financial/building need overcome the core values
        3. Tendency is to be too fixated on project v. the process/people
        4. Had to communicate the why behind the what; can never communicate the why enough
        5. Temptation to take on debt to finish the project, which was a legitimate question/suggestion – integrity and authenticity to the vision said stay the course
        6. Often the biggest naysayers will be the first to celebrate when it’s over
  7. Part of being a great leader is the ability to communicate. You are clearly an excellent communicator, and I wonder is that something you were born with? Or did you have to work at it? And what tips can you share on how to improve our communication skills?
    1. Are leaders born or made? Both!
    2. Everyone can learn to communicate; even those with the gift can lose effectiveness if it isn’t exercised
    3. Always a team around him to evaluate him and give feedback
    4. 25 year olds on the staff give feedback to make sure he is communicating to the next generation
    5. Without feedback, you can lose touch with the audience you are trying to reach
    6. The more effective communicator you are, you eventually lose touch and you don’t even know it
  8. You mentioned in a message one Sunday how one of your staff wanted an opportunity to preach early on and you had to explain there were chairs he should be setting up as a first step. Talk about how those of us just getting started in an organization, job or career can lead where we are.
    1. If you don’t learn how to serve, not good to be in front
    2. People know whether you are in it for them or for yourself.
    3. Death, burial and resurrection principle from the bible – you must give something over to die and be buried so that it can resurrect stronger than before
      1. Trials turn people from selfish/narcissistic to those who relate to pains/struggles are others.
      2. Great leaders are born in the crucible of the trial
      3. If a potential leader hasn’t been through a trial yet, it is good to let it happen so they can come out stronger
      4. You don’t want people leading who are half-baked.
        1. Do jobs you are leading others to do
        2. Learn to serve in imperfect situations
        3. In midst of trials, coming out the other side learning rather than being taken out by them
      5. Always in need of great leaders, but must be tempered and transformed so they can be effective for the long haul
      6. So start by serving and doing the small stuff, so you can then be made a ruler over much (He who is faithful in little is ruler over much – Matthew 25:21)
      7. Christine Cain/Hillsong example
      8. Jimmy didn’t become a senior pastor until age 35, though had opportunities prior to that. Didn’t take them because:
        1. Wasn’t ready
        2. By the time he started Antioch, he had done every job on the staff
        3. This gave him great compassion for his staff
        4. If you haven’t walked in someone’s shoes, it is hard to lead them well
  9. What are some things we should be thinking about when trying to lead in our marriages? With our kids?
    1. Authenticity – kids know who you are.
      1. If we want kids to spend time with God, we need to do it
      2. If we want kids to have healthy habits with media, we need to do it
      3. If we want kids to be loving, kind and honoring to others, we need to do it
    2. People learn side by side, and that’s the purpose of family
      1. To have someone model life for you from a place just a bit ahead
  10. Another leadership note I heard you hit in a recent message was the story about AAA baseball tryouts, and the power that exists when someone believes in us enough to choose is. Could you tell that story because I think it is so important for leaders to recognize the influence they can have on people.
    1. Little league coach believed in him
    2. HS football example
      1. Coach said Seibert you have a great arm but you are too slow
      2. Moved him to offensive line
      3. Started partying and getting in with the wrong crowd
      4. Coach confronted him and said you’re drifting and are going to destroy your life; said he believed in him and that if he would make changes to his life, coach would have his back
      5. 155 lbs guard in 6A Texas football; and they did well!
      6. That coach shaped the trajectory of his life; would have gone a different direction and dealt with a lot more pain if that coach had not said he believed in him.

Thank Yous/Acknowledgements:

  1. Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Group – music
    1. More here.
  2. Jonathan Davis – production
  3. Clint Musslewhite – voice over

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