Episode #89: Interview with Matt Keller, Founder of Next Level Church

By March 5, 2016Blog, Leadership, Podcast

This episode comes to you from our interview series, in which I interview great leaders and try to extract their best leadership practices. In this episode, I had the privilege of interview Matt Keller, Founder of Next Level Church. Matt is a Pastor, Author, Speaker and Leadership Coach. I’ve been following his leadership for the last 5 years. He’s incredible!

We talked about his leadership journey, his new book, the painful side of leadership, writing, coaching, and more. I know you’ll love this interview. Below you’ll find Matt’s bio, ways to connect with her, and more. Enjoy the interview.

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Episode #89: Interview with Matt Keller

Matt Keller

Matt’s Bio:

Matt Keller is a people builder at his core. With more than twenty years in the people business, he is an authority on what it takes to build great teams and a great organization.

Matt Keller is a Pastor, Author, Speaker and Leadership Coach. His insight on organizational and personal leadership helps businesses, nonprofits, and churches take their organizations to the next level.

Located in Fort Myers, Florida, Matt is the founder and leader of Next Level Church, one of the fastest growing churches in America. In addition, Matt leads NextLevelCoaching.tv, an organization for pastors and church leaders, and AdvanceLeadership.tv, a coaching organization that adds value to business leaders. His fast-paced, witty, humorous communication style will pull you in, inspire and challenge you to make the changes necessary to live up to your full potential.

Matt and his wife, Sarah, live in Southwest Florida with their two sons, Will and Drew. Although his love for Skittles remains, his preferred candy in this season is Reese’s cups.

Connect with Matt:

Questions Asked

Personal Questions

  • Tell us about yourself and what you do.
  • What’s one thing about you that people would be surprised by?
  • What was your favorite baseball you’ve got and why?
  • When you think of success, who is the first person that comes to mind?

Personal Leadership:

  • Give us a brief overview of your leadership journey – how did you get to where you are today? What made the biggest difference in getting you to where you are?
  • What do you wish people knew about what it took to get to where you’re at in this stage of your journey?
      • What advice do you have people at the beginning of their journey when it comes to professional development/career path?
  • Talk about the role mentoring plays in your life. Who have been some of your mentors, what did they teach you? Is mentoring something you intentionally pursue? If so, what do you do to pursue mentors?
      • Specifically, can you talk about John Maxwell’s influence on you? He’s my hero as well and I’m interested to hear about your connection.
  • What books do you find yourself giving away most often?
  • You talk a lot about the S-Curve and making the jump. What were some of the most significant jumps you’ve had to take in your leadership and/or lids you’ve had to break through to get to where you are?
      • What are you doing and what have you done to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
    • Can you talk about what you’ve learned about having confidence as a leader? I remember reading in The Key to Everything that you used to think you didn’t belong in the room . . . recently I saw you use a hashtag in a coaching session saying #IWasBornForThis . . .  How did you take that jouney?
    • How do you balance the world of self-promotion in a healthy way? i.e. You know your books, resources can add value to people, but at the same time, you can become consumed with your platform… Make sense?
  • What are some of your daily disciplines and routines that help keep you as effective as possible?
  • What are you learning in this season of your life?
  • What have you learned about failure?
  • How do you handle and process pain as a leader?
  • In the midst of ministry, coaching, writing, etc. How have you maintained your family? What do you guys do intentionally as a family to ensure you don’t lose family in the midst of everything you’re doing?
    • From what I understand, your wife is an instrumental part in the church… how have the two of you learned to work together within your organization and maintain a quality marriage at home at the same time?

Organizational Leadership:

  • In a recent podcast, you talked about identifying and dealing with a gap in your team. You said that this is not the fun part of leadership.
    • How have you learned to deal with the parts of leadership that just plain stink?
    • If you were not good at dealing with these issues in the beginning of your journey, how have you grown to the point of handling them well?
  • As your organization has grown, how do you manage the tension between working on the future of your organization while at the same time managing the day to day?
  • Going back to the S-Curve and making the jump. Are there common characteristics of those who cannot continue to make the jump and go to the next level?
  • What do you do to intentionally grow and develop your staff? What are your expectations of them as staff members?


  • You’ve written 3 books… What have you learned about writing and the writing process?
  • What has publishing books done for you?
  • How have you grown and developed as a writer?
  • How did you land a book deal with Thomas Nelson?
  • What advice would you give aspiring authors?


  • Why does anyone need coaching?
  • In your experience coaching leaders, where do you find yourself spending the most time helping people develop?
    • If someone wanted to learn more about Next Level Coaching, where could they go to find out more?

Young Leaders:

  • What qualities do you look for in up and coming leaders?
  • What can young leaders do to set themselves apart in their organizations?
  • Where do you see young leaders “missing it” most often?
  • If you could give young leaders any advice, what would it be?

Closing Questions:

  • If you could go back and give your 20 year old self advice, what would you tell him?
  • What are you currently working on that you’re excited about and how can our audience serve you?
  • Out of everything you’ve accomplished in your life, what are you most proud of?
  • What do you want your legacy to be?

L3 Leadership Announcements: 

1.) Learning to Lead Breakfast Series Our next leadership event will be a breakfast on Saturday March 19th with Patty Beard, VP of Leadership Development at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Register here for this event! 

2.) Learning to Lead Small Groups – We have a small groups of young leaders that get together twice a month to discuss leadership, hold each other accountable to our goals, and to build a community of leaders passionate about making a difference in our city. If you’re interested in attending, e-mail me at dougsmith@l3leadership.org.

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