Episode 054 – Antioch Community Church Pastor Vincent Carpenter
Vincent and I talk about goal setting, engaging one another in community, and the impact of former Baylor football coach Grant Teaff.
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Hey everyone and welcome to today’s episode of the All-Star Leader Podcast, where together we learn about leadership from the best and brightest, and keep it fun by connecting it to our passion for sports!
I’m Daniel Hare, and today we are blessed to be joined by a former collegiate football and track & field standout turned pastor Vincent Carpenter.
Vincent spent his early career working in a variety of roles at his alma mater Baylor University before returning to school to pursue full-time ministry, which he has done for the past 12 years at my home church, Antioch Community Church in Waco, TX.
Vincent is a faith-filled teacher, communicator, organizer and most of all, a leader. This is Vincent Carpenter. Hey Vincent thank you for being with us today!
- Vincent most of the people listening right now are not familiar with you or your story, so if you could take just a few minutes and tell us a bit about who you are, where you’re from and what you do.
- From La Marque, TX
- Mom involved in local church so met Jesus there
- Football/Track too at La Marque High School; led to Baylor scholarship
- Grew in faith at Baylor
- Went home right after college to work as a sports reporter, but then returned to Baylor
- Bi-vocational during those years
- You were a high school athlete and then a two-sport college athlete. What lessons did you learn playing sports that continue to impact how you lead today?
- Goalsetting: putting them down on paper; intermediary steps to get there
- Discipline of staying on a routine
- Whenever disciplined in one area of life, disciplined in others
- (Goalsetting tips)
- Accountability – even the most motivated of us tend to fall away from goals, so find someone likeminded to help you
- Flexibility/variation – circumstances and things in life might change, and having a check-in period every now and then will help you stay on course for the goal rather than give up after three months when you’ve missed a timeline. That also keeps the goals fresh.
- In Track/Field, results were a little more under his control, but in team sports, ministry and many others are not in your control. So while you might have a goal/result, the process and what is happening in the moment will be more important to God, while we are thinking about the end result.
- As much or more satisfaction in the workouts and getting ready to compete than the actual games. The process and moment by moment experience was the most impactful.
- What former coach of yours do you most admire and why?
- Baylor football coach Grant Teaff
- He is the same person up close as what you see in the media
- He taught Vincent about goal setting
- He put big expectations on the team, and then laid out a plan to get there
- “I Believe” (Buy on Amazon; AFFILIATE) is an autobiography that illustrates how he walks the talk
- After loss to Georgia, went to USC and Coach Teaff believed they could win; Baylor did win; it struck Vincent that he really believed and had confidence, and it spread to the players.
- During and immediately after college you pursued the journalism and communications field. What attracted you to that area and what skills did you develop that you still rely on today?
- As a freshman, he started off pursuing photography. Baylor didn’t have that major, but a journalism program did have some photography classes
- He had been good in English and could write, so it made sense
- First job out of college he worked at a small town newspaper; did everything (wrote, took pictures, etc. and covered the school board and did obituaries).
- The education writing that he did helped prepare him for the next step
- As he was praying about his next steps, a postman knocked on the door and had a letter from Baylor asking him to apply for an education writing position (perhaps a professor had recommended him).
- (Chip Brown reference about how we may not see how something we’re doing now is preparing us for the future) – Vincent did a lot of interaction with a community, learned about communicating with parents, etc.
- Ministry is really a second career for you. Talk to us a bit about your journey through your first career on staff at Baylor and how you came to the realization that God was calling you into full-time ministry.
- Had been serving in churches while working at Baylor
- Got talked into being a youth pastor
- But was also pursuing graduate school at Baylor in order to advance in his role there. He got a great new administration job, moved into a nice new office and thought he was set for life.
- As soon as he thought that, he had an encounter with God and felt like He was saying “Baylor is not your security blanket.” Which was tough because he was going to put his kids through school at Baylor and everything else, but ultimately he recognized he could trust God with his life and his family.
- Baylor had been pushing a theme of students thinking about their job/career as a calling, and that was what Vincent was sharing with students in his role as an advisor. But at the same time he wasn’t applying the same standard to himself.
- When he went to his wife to ask about going to seminary he was worried because they had already spent time/money on graduate school, and now to go back for more was a big commitment.
- Your boss and our pastor Jimmy Seibert was on episode eight of the show last fall. How did you first meet Jimmy and how did it come to pass that he wound up hiring you to join the leadership at Antioch.
- Vincent’s academic advisor at Baylor Ed Mooney would ask students to write on an index card anything he could do for them or that they wanted to accomplish.
- The thing Vincent wrote was to grow in his walk with God, and the advisor suggested a discipleship group.
- The advisor really invested in Vincent. He introduced him to a man named Bill Adams with Athletes-In-Action.
- Did a sports outreach in Ulan-Ude, Russia and ran into Antioch missionaries, including pastor Jimmy Seibert
- Once Vincent’s transition career transition started, he really felt drawn to a diverse congregation
- But there was one step in between; before he had found a full-time ministry position, he received a job offer to do sports ministry/chaplain. But his mentor Bill Adams through him off by saying he shouldn’t do the sports position but rather should become a church planter.
- Meanwhile Bill was talking to Jimmy about finding a place for Vincent, which soon happened.
- God uses people around us to guide and direct our lives.
- During your time at Antioch, the church as grown at a rapid pace to its current 4500 weekly attendance. And I think many of us experience challenges when trying to lead through a growth phase of any entity or organization. What is the biggest challenge from a leadership standpoint you have faced in the midst of that growth, and how are you working through it?
- Antioch is very broad and diverse across all categories; this is great, but it also makes it more difficult to land one message that has an impact
- The diversity also requires many more ministries to serve the needs of the different people groups
- Back in the day, the rule was don’t have back to back weekends when we’re inviting people to the church. Now the rule is same day!
- He has really learned to hear God in the moment, because when there are many competing interests and viewpoints, how else are you going to make a decision?!
- Be sensitive to the still, quiet voice of God
- (Successes in establishing values/culture) – Jimmy’s gift is as a visionary, while Vincent is an organizer/administrator. Bill Hybels says “vision leaks.” Always important to be reminded of the purpose.
- If things aren’t going right, tactics/process shouldn’t be the first place to look; make sure people are clear on the vision
- We’re all part of God’s process; he wants us to partner with him.
- Part of being a great leader is the ability to communicate. You are clearly an excellent communicator; what tips can you share on how to improve our communication skills?
- Pray like it depends on God and prepare like it depends on you
- Also important to have a team around you that helps bring the message to life
- (Who do you have around you?!)
- One of your primary charges over the years has been regarding community engagement. Can you speak to what you’re seeing in our culture today when it comes to person-to-person interaction, caring for people around us, and how we can practically engage in our own communities?
- The old days we might remember as better, though it was really just different
- We can communicate through social media
- Antioch moved into a specific, low-income and disadvantaged neighborhood in order to have relationship with people
- Whether we have more neighborhood time or not, the issue is how we value people. It might seem like talking through a smartphone isn’t as good, but it can be if we value the other person.
- The Community Feast ministry is a good example because there we invite people from all over the neighborhood for a meal and to hear about Jesus, and even after the food is long gone and message is over, the people still hang around because they are starving for community. So volunteer role is not just to serve a meal, but to listen to people and their story.
- Five rapid fire questions:
- Name one trait or characteristic you want to see in a colleague.
- What habit has been key to your success?
- Most important app or productivity tool?
- A resource recommendation (book/podcast/etc.)
- Divided by Faith (AFFILIATE)
- One sentence of advice for our audience of leaders?
- God loves us, partners with us and wants to speak with us and be with us on a day to day basis, and in the day to day grind of life; letting God be part of that is critical to life success.
- Name one trait or characteristic you want to see in a colleague.
- Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Group – music
- Jonathan Davis – production
- Clint Musslewhite – voice over