#187: Clay Scroggins on How to Lead When You are not in Charge

By March 20, 2018Podcast

In this episode of the L3 Leadership podcast, you will hear our interview with Clay Scroggins on learning how to lead when you are not in charge.

We talk about his journey from being a facilities intern to being a lead pastor at North Point Community Church, his new book: How to Lead when you’re not in charge, what it’s like to lead in the shadow of Andy Stanley, and so much more!

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L3 Leadership Podcast Episode #187_ Clay Scroggins on How to Lead When You are Not in Charge

About Clay:

Hey. I’m Clay (short for Claytonious).

I have the privilege of being the lead pastor of North Point Community Church (NPCC) in Alpharetta, GA, but I didn’t start in that role. Beginning as a facilities intern (a.k.a. Vice-President of Nothing), I worked my way through many organizational levels and learned all too well the challenge of authority deprivation.

As the original and largest campus of North Point Ministries, which was ranked by Outreach Magazine in 2014 as the largest church in America, NPCC averages over 12,000 people weekly. Living in the shadow of Andy Stanley, one of the greatest leaders on the planet IMHO, I understand the tension of how to lead when you’re not in charge. But, truth be told, don’t we all?

If you’re wondering what I do all day long, you’re not alone. As the campus pastor, I provide visionary and directional leadership for all of the local church staff and congregation in Alpharetta.

With slight regret, because of the torturous amount of calculus and physics, I have an industrial engineering degree from Georgia Tech. More applicably, I have a master’s degree and a doctorate with an emphasis in online church from Dallas Theological Seminary. I live in Forsyth County, Georgia, with my wife, Jenny, and our five lively children, Lucy, Jake, Sally, Cooper, and Whit.

Connect with Clay:



  • No matter how much authority you have, you’ll never have enough
  • Too often we allow the authority we don’t have to keep us from doing what we should be doing
  • There is a disappointment in a promotion
  • Sway is the ability to move a room. Sway is what leaders really want.
  • Maybe I can do everything I want and need to do without the authority I think I need
  • If you fail to listen, you’ll eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say
  • The job of the manager is to make as few decisions as possible
  • Sometimes the best lessons we learn are through the mistakes we make
  • Constantly ask your boss: What would you do differently if you were me? Anything I’m doing that you would change? What do you think of this plan? Here are 3 solutions, which would you pick?
  • People can’t change the way they look, but you change the way you see
  • Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle
  • Ask: How did you experience this today?
  • The best thing we’re going to do in this life is to invest in and raise our kids
  • Get to work really early.


You started off as a facilities intern at North Point and now you’re the lead pastor there… What do you wish people knew about that journey that they may not know?

    • What did you learn? What made you stand out along the way?
    • You said that you worked your way through many organizational levels while learning the challenge of authority deprivation, what do you mean by that?

You wrote a book on this subject called, “How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge” . . . in it you talk about how great leaders don’t wait for authority, they unleash their influence wherever they are…

    • Why did you write this book and what are 1-2 of the key takeaways you want people to get from it?
    • Where do you see leaders “missing it” most often when it comes to leading where they are at?

Can you talk about what it’s like to live in the shadow and lead under the shadow of a leader as legendary as Andy Stanley?

    • First, what are one or two of the biggest lessons you’ve learned about ministry and leadership from working with Andy and the leadership culture North Point has developed?
    • What advice do you have for leaders who are leading in the shadows of their senior leader?
    • How can they make the most of their season in the shadows?
    • What advice do you have for senior leaders when it comes to passing the baton to the next generation? What lessons have you and Andy learned along the way as you’ve made this transition? What worked? What didn’t work?

Growing Leaders

  • In your opinion, what is the best way to grow and develop leaders?

Lightning Round Questions

  • What is a belief or a behavior that has changed your life?
  • If you could put a quote on a billboard for everyone to read, what would it say?
  • What’s the best purchase you’ve made in the last year for $100 or less?
  • What books have you read that have made a great impact on you that you would recommend?
  • What podcasts are you listening to?
  • What are your favorite questions to ask leaders?
  • What is your most worthwhile investment of time or money?
  • Do you have any unusual habits that enable you to be successful?
  • If you could go back and give your 20-year-old self advice, what would you tell him?
  • What do you want your legacy to be?
  • What are you currently working on that you’re excited about and how can our audience serve you?

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