Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with Julie Mullins. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos.
Julie Mullins: 00:00 One of the ways that we really feel like we keep our culture strong is ever, even though we’re at nine locations and some of those locations are actually an hour and a half from our central campus, every week we have staff meeting and in that staff meeting, when we share celebration stories and good reports, we’re constantly pointing them back to one of those leadership values.
Doug Smith: 00:22 This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 158.
Doug Smith: 00:28 What’s up everyone? Welcome to another episode of the healthy leadership podcast. My name is Doug Smith and I’m the founder of L3 Leadership we are a leadership development company
Doug Smith: 00:35 devoted to helping you become the best leader that you can be. If you’re new to the podcast, just know that we’re committed to bringing you three or four episodes every single month to help you grow and develop as a leader. One will always be from the leadership events that we host. One will be an interview that I do with a high-level leader and then once a month you’ll get a personal leadership lesson by me. Have you been with us for a while and you’re enjoying the podcast, I would appreciate it if you would subscribe and leave a rating and review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, you, it really does make a difference. And also just share on social media, on Facebook, LinkedIn or wherever you’re at. It really helps us get the word out. So anything that you do, I really appreciate it and I just thank you so much for listening.
Doug Smith: 01:11 In today’s interview, you’re going to get to hear part two of my interview with Julie Mullins, senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Church in West Palm Beach, Florida. This is a church I’ve been following for years and just love what her and her husband Todd are doing and their leadership’s phenomenal. It was such an honor to get spend time with her and I can promise you that you’re going to love her and love her content. And again, I broke this into two parts. You can listen to part one if you missed it in episode number 157. And in that episode, you’re going to get to hear Julie talk about her advice for women in leadership, how to handle the tension between being a mom and building a ministry. How to make it in leadership over the long haul and how to pull off a successful leadership transition. And this specific episode a, you’re going to get to hear Julie talk about organizational leadership, how to develop and sustain culture, some of her favorite books, her advice to your younger self, how to have hard conversations and more.
Doug Smith: 01:59 But before we jump into that, just a few announcements. Hey guys, I just want to take a minute and talk to you about L3 Leadership membership. I want to encourage you to become a member of L3 Leadership. The reason why I think you need to become a member, cause I believe every leader needs a group of leaders to go through life with that. Oh, encourage them, hold them accountable to their goals and help them reach their potential. And all through leadership, we’ve developed that community of leaders and they will help you do just that. And so as a member of L3 Leadership, you actually get access to that community of leaders. You will have the ability to join a mastermind group, which I believe is absolutely critical to your success. I think every leader needs to be in a mastermind group and you’ll get access to additional resources, extra content in a member-only forum on our website and it’s a great way to support L3 Leadership as well.
Doug Smith: 02:42 Again, it’s this that it costs money to run podcasting and all the things that we do and so again, it’s another way to partner with us and say, I believe in what you’re doing. Thank you. Membership’s only $25 a month and you can sign up and learn more at L3leadership.org/membership. I want to thank our sponsor, Henne Jewelers. They are jewelry by my friend and mentor, John Henne. My wife and I actually got our engagement and wedding rings through Henne Jewelers and they’re just an incredible company. Not only do they have great jewelry, but they also invest in people. John gave Laura and I a book to help us prepare for our marriage and he’s been investing in me as a leader, a father and a husband now for years. And I’m so grateful for that. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler, check out Hennejewelers.com and I want to thank our other sponsor, Alex Tulandin Realestate Resources.
Doug Smith: 03:22 Alex is a full-time realtor with Keller Williams Realty, whose team is committed to providing clients with highly effective premier real estate experiences throughout the greater Pittsburgh region. He’s a member and a supporter of L3 Leadership and would love the opportunity to connect with you. You can find out more at Pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com. All right. With all that being said, let’s jump right into the interview with Julie. Enjoy it and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements. I do want to talk about organizational culture. I know you guys are very passionate about building a healthy church and I don’t, I don’t know what it was like during the transition. Did you guys kind of create a new culture? Did you just add to the culture, but can you just give us a vision of what you view a healthy culture as and then how you specifically build that?
Julie Mullins: 04:01 Right. Okay. So this is, there’s a lot we could talk about here, but, if I were to look back when we were one church meeting in one location and, dad was the senior pastor, we did have a strong culture of servant leadership, of unity, of integrity, healthy ministry flowing from the inside out. And so we had this strong culture. So much of it is caught and not taught because we were all together in one place. Our team wasn’t that big. And if we had to make, you know, any big decisions, it was easy to get all the pastors around the table and we could all kind of talk that out together. But as we grew, we knew that we needed to be more intentional about being able to communicate our culture so that it didn’t get diluted as we grew and expanded, but actually grew stronger as we launched campuses.
Julie Mullins: 04:47 And added so many more people. So we know that every, every church and every organization has a culture. It’s either by design or by default, right? And so, we’re either going to design our culture and be intentional about it or it’s going to be what happens. And, and actually, we had a great culture, but it was really, you know, just what was happening just, naturally. And as we grew, we knew that we needed to be more intentional about designing the culture that we wanted to see because what we saw is as we started building more campuses, that the culture started getting diluted. And so there were certain things that were already existing in the culture when we, transitioned and there were certain things that we wanted to see in the culture. And so for us, we began the process of, of really, articulating our, you know, our core beliefs.
Julie Mullins: 05:35 Obviously culture is built on, you know, of a people that are centered around strong core beliefs. And ours are very similar to many of the churches that are represented here. But it’s also our, our core values, our core beliefs, our core values, our vision, right? That we’re all, that we’re all championing the same vision. And so, you know, as we wanted as a church family, to be able to articulate that in a way that our whole church family could grab onto it. So we all have our core beliefs and we know what those are. But then there is our vision that we are called to impact our world with the love and the message of Jesus Christ. And our church family can champion. And you know, if we started at on the platform, you know, what’s our mission statement and they would all say it, you know, and bringing radical transformation to the region.
Julie Mullins: 06:21 And then we knew we needed to articulate our core values and, we had, you know, many core values and they kind of got added on as the years went on. But we narrowed our core values down to five and then it was all for one, grow to go inside-out, live to give, and passion for people. And those core values we actually unpack in our, in our journey class, which is our membership class. And you will see those, you know, champions all around our church campus. You’ll see them on the walls, you hear us speak about them from the platform. And those are the things, those values that, that as a church, we rally around and, and I could unpack all of those, but I think in the last few years, what we really recognized was that even though our church could champion those, there were certain things from our leaders and our staff team that, we expected, that really wasn’t separate from those core values, but they were kind of like a drop-down menu.
Julie Mullins: 07:17 Righ? That these were things that we celebrated when we saw and that when that if we saw something that was, you know, that was different, that those are the things that we ended up calling out. Right? So we see things that we liked and, and these were like, they became like the intangibles. Well, that’s not the Christ Fellowship way. Oh, wow. I went to this campus and it was so the Christ Fellowship way and we’re like, wow, this just feels a little vague. You know what I taught? And I began to think, you know, begin to ask ourselves the question, what is the Christ Fellowship way? And what we realized was there were certain intangibles, and that was hard to articulate that we needed to articulate so that our team got it so that they understood, you know, why, what, what made things, you know, what made things the way that they were and what, we needed to do together.
Julie Mullins: 08:03 So we began to establish our leadership values. And those are the things that described our culture, right? And they’re descriptive and prescriptive. They describe our culture, the things that we saw when we saw them. We celebrate, but they also prescribed what we wanted to see. So we recognize that when we saw people being servant leaders, I mean those are the stories that got celebrated. And so we are, one of our leadership values, as we talk to our team, was that we want to be servants and stewards first. That above everything else that we do at Christ Fellowship, that we do it with a, a servant heart because Jesus himself came to serve. And to give, we also realized that we do value excellence, right? Because our excellence will increase our influence. And so because we’d walk in places, you know, we might walk into a meeting or into a campus and we saw that you know, things are done to a certain level of excellence.
Julie Mullins: 08:57 And, they, some of our leaders may not have known that we actually value excellence and excellence will increase your influence. And we started to articulate these 10 core lessons, and core value leadership values, actually, leader values that we began to unpack. And we began to teach them to our team, celebrate them with our team, and then, you know, and, make sure that they got in the water, deep into the water of our staff and team. Even, even our new staff orientation, you know, is centered around many of these leader values.
Doug Smith: 09:30 Yeah. With that, talking about excellence, this is a question from Matt Keller I thought was excellent. He said you have nine locations, how do you maintain quality and excellence when you’re never there? I know you mentioned you might pop in and speak, but how do you maintain that nine places?
Julie Mullins: 09:43 My place is, I would say that the key has been these leader values and so that our leaders on our staff teams when they, with them that we have articulated those very well and now we’ve asked them to articulate those to their teams. So I’m a big point. This is also about how to keep one of the ways that we really feel like we need to, that we keep our culture strong as ever, even though we’re at nine locations and some of those locations are actually an hour and a half from our central campus. Every week we have staff meetings and in that staff meeting, when we, when we share celebration stories and good reports, we’re constantly pointing them back to one of those leadership values. Oh man, you know that. Well, I love how, you know, Pastor Matt was just, you know, just such a servant and steward in this situation and our passion for people, you know, wow.
Julie Mullins: 10:35 It’s really about the one, right? Even though there may have been 500 saves this week, this weekend, and that one story, that one life story articulate, you know, our passion for people. So every week we have staffing where we shared good reports, right? And, and all of our campuses are represented and, and we celebrate those. We’re constantly reinforcing those leadership values. And then in those times too, we’re intentionally teaching those leader values and then challenging them to keep those in the water with their team. And so those, I really believe that that has been, you know, that that standard of excellence. And, and even organizationally, I think the way that we’re structured that we have a campus expression, but our central support, is, you know, is able to support them well and that there’s a, there’s a central philosophy that helps drive the execution at the campuses.
Doug Smith: 11:26 That’s great. With the time that we have left, I want to jump into what I’ve been calling the lightning round, just some fun personal questions and then just some, some open-ended questions. The first question would just be, what books have you read? What books do you find yourself giving away most often to leaders? We’ll just start there.
Julie Mullins: 11:43 Yeah. So, okay. So the books I give away the most often, I think that whatever the latest, greatest John Maxwell book is, John Maxwell is getting better and better and he’s getting ready to, he’s just rewritten How to Develop the Leader Within and how to develop the leaders around you. He’s, he’s rewritten them because he continues to grow. And I, like I said, I think he’s better in this season than he’s ever been before. And he’s such a model of growing as a leader. So anything by John Maxwell, I love Bobby Houston’s books stay the path because it talks about going the distance in ministry. And I think our insights from men and women, are beautiful for young leaders. I’m almost always recommending, Ask It from Andy Stanley is actually the rewrite of The Best Question Ever, which I think really is the best question ever. And, I’ve given that to so many young leaders because I think there’s a gap between the expectation of the role that they’re in and the wisdom that they need in ministry. And I believe that this, this book really fills that gap. And I love John Ortberg., he has a book called Soul Care, that I think is beautiful as your, you know, as you take care of the inner, um, at the inner soul, because really healthy, vibrant ministry flows from the inside out. Um, and we can’t be healthy in ministry unless we have a healthy soul. So that is one of my favorite books and really anything by John Hartford.
Doug Smith: 13:09 Love it. Best podcast you’re listening to?
Julie Mullins: 13:14 Yeah, I love ’em. I love Propel Women in Leadership. They have, they have a podcast they put out. And I’m, and I also love Craig Groeschel podcasts, Leadership Podcast.
Doug Smith: 13:25 Good stuff. What are some of your favorite tools that are helping you be productive in your personal life?
Julie Mullins: 13:31 So there’s a book called Getting Things Done and that is been, we’ve actually institutionalized, we’re institutionalizing that, on our team that, that be the, you know, the tools that they use and the philosophy behind getting things done. That is as an on the executive side of things. That is such a, been an amazing tool and been transformative in our leadership and our leadership team here. So as far as productivity, any, what was the, was that productivity?
Doug Smith: 14:01 Yeah. Any, any tools that you’re using, the books great. Yeah.
Julie Mullins: 14:04 That’s great.
Doug Smith: 14:06 Awesome. I guess there’s more of a deeper question, but, but how have you learned to handle and process pain as a leader? Obviously, in ministry, you have to walk people through their doctor’s moments. How do you refresh from that?
Julie Mullins: 14:17 Yeah, so two, you know, there’s two kinds of pain. The pain that we carry for other people, you know, and that takes time and intentionality. And so I think that, the fact that we are giving out as pastors and leaders, you know, giving out and walking people through some of their darkest times is, really guarding, your times of replenishment with the Lord. And it’s sometimes it’s not just about that 20 minutes in the morning getting started, but there are times and seasons when you need extended time and you need to figure out what it is that fills your soul, you know, and make that you are, that, that you’re filling your life on a regular basis with those things that fill your soul. So those extended times of prayer and with the Lord. And I know that, that Matt and Sarah are great about this.
Julie Mullins: 15:03 They actually on their team, you know, for all of their, their leadership team, they’re sending their team away for two-day retreats. You know those soul health retreats that I think are so important. The other part is the pain of sometimes in ministry of being misunderstood and, you know, investing your life into people and then they, you know, you’re like, you think their family and then they switched churches, you know, and team, you know, people that are close to you that feel a call to go somewhere else and it can feel like the trail. Right? So I think, again, this, I think this comes from experience and I wish I knew this early on, that, you know, to hold people with an open hand, and to recognize that, you know that even though someone’s not part of your church or your maybe staff team, but they’re always family and, and we always say around here, you know, to leave the back porch light on, you know, and the, and the door unlocked for people to be able to be family.
Julie Mullins: 15:59 So when you’re navigating through those to keep that perspective that when they leave here, they’re going to be family. And I think some of the pain of the people that stay, you know, that one thing that I’ve had to learn is to get over things quick, you know, not to hold onto offenses, not, and when you find yourself, you know, holding on, to really bring those to the Lord because we’re not gonna make it for the longterm because the pain of ministry can start eroding your heart, you know, and we need to have, we need to guard our hearts, you know, from the erosion that can happen from the pain that happens in relationships, in ministry. And I think we have to, you know, get over things quickly. Don’t let the sun go down, you know, on our anger. And, and for me, it’s also been learning how to have hard conversations, you know, to be able to restore relationships and keep relationships strong and healthy.
Doug Smith: Excellent.
Doug Smith: 16:55 If you could go back to have coffee with your 20-year-old self, what would you tell her?
Julie Mullins: I would tell her that, have the hard conversations. If I were to say there was one lid on my leadership for several years, I think, again, growing up as a church girl, I thought that by keeping quiet and by staying silent when conflict came that I was being a peacemaker and I was actually being a peace faker because I allowed the things to stir. You know, I allowed the conflict to go on. I allowed relationships to go downhill because I wasn’t because I was, I was too fearful to have the hard conversations, you know? Because when you think about it, there’s the, when you’re talking about peacemaking, it’s about restoring a relationship. It’s not about resolving issues, but sometimes you have to resolve issues to restore relationships.
Julie Mullins: 17:48 And, I had to learn, this is something I’m not great at, but I would say it’s been my biggest growth in the last 10 years in leadership is how to have the hard conversations,how to, how to have the hard conversations went with my staff, how to, how to hard conversations with my husband, how to have the hard conversations, with people who may be going off track or you know, or just may need to be confronted on certain issues in their lives. And, I usually start those conversations like this, hey, I want you to know I’m not very good at this, but the relationship that we have means so much to me that I’m willing to be awkward and enter into an awkward conversation, because I care enough about this relationship.
Julie Mullins: 18:35 And, I think that that learning the tools of being a peacemaker and not a peace faker because, you know, we’re either, many of us fall on one of the spectrum, you know, we’re either a fighter over a fleer and both can enter into, both can, can lead to unresolved conflict of fighter can say things that can never be unsaid. And a fleer can never say things that need to be said. And the only way that we’re going to be able to, you know to make it the long haul in relationships is to learn how to do that. Well. And I think that I had the, I really believed that if you were in the, you know, if you were in the right place with the right people doing the right things, that you weren’t going to have conflict.
Julie Mullins: 19:19 I think that’s the church myth. You know, you think that if you’re on a church staff, you know, with the amazing Christian people Spreading The Gospel and Jesus Christ, that you’re not going to have conflict. And, and the truth is, you know, conflict isn’t the absence of unity. Conflict is the opportunity for unity is the opportunity to love people well and to lead them into unity. We don’t have to agree on everything you know, to, to be in unity. And I think that that’s so important because unity is such a high value. You know, we have a value here that we, we value unity so we can’t tolerate unresolved conflict. Right?
Doug Smith: 19:55 It’s so good. I need that. I’m more like you, so, yeah, but I’m learning. Final two questions. Just one. John Maxwell always says people are going to summarize your life in one sentence. Pick it now. What do you want your one sentence to be at the end of your life that people say about you at your funeral?
Julie Mullins: 20:14 Wow. That’s a hard one. Let’s see.
Doug Smith: 20:19 Well what do you want to be said of you? It can be more than one sentence. Yeah.
Julie Mullins: 20:22 That she loved God well, she loved her family well, she loved her spiritual family well, and she had fun doing it. You know, that’s, that’s just off the top of my head. I didn’t get to prepare for that one, but the other one, I want you to read it a future, you know, podcasts.
Doug Smith: 20:45 Sure. And then for everyone who’s listening to this podcast and they’re like, wow, this is amazing. How can they connect with you? How can they connect with Christ Fellowship? How can we get behind what you’re doing, serve you and pray for you and tide?
Julie Mullins: 20:57 Okay. So, if you want to get connected with me or the church where it GoChristfellowship.com, you can connect with us on Instagram, um, and Facebook at CF impact c as in Charlie, f as in frank, impact that stands for Christ Fellowship and for myself, for me personally, I’m an Instagram Jul underscore Mullins and yeah, so we’re going to be having a church conference coming up in February and you can find out more about that at Gochristfellowship.com. We’re going to be doing that mid-February and mid-February is a great time for all of you up north to come visit South Florida. And you may actually feel called here once you’re here.
Doug Smith: 21:39 Yeah. That’s great. Anything else you want to leave leaders with today?
Julie Mullins: 21:44 Yeah, just really an honor, you know, to do this. And I, and I love, I love what you’re doing, investing in the, in the next generation of leaders but it’s building churches, you know, someone asked us a couple of months back, they said, you know, what would you do if you didn’t have to worry about finances, you know, and, and if your life was already, you know, set up before you, what would you do with the rest of your life? And, and without hesitation, we would do what we’re doing right now because building church and building God’s kingdom, there is no greater privilege than this. There is no greater privilege than preparing the bride of Christ for his return and preparing the next generation to take over and steward, you know, steward their generation with the amazing ministry that we get to do.
Julie Mullins: 22:35 And so when Christ is, when Jesus was instructing his disciples in the book of Wolgan and he said, you know what, it’s all been said and done. That what you need to say is that, you know, we were only servants just doing our job right? And that’s not exactly the translation, but when you think about what Jesus did for us, he was like giving his life, so that we could have eternal life and we could have an abundant life here on earth. And you think about that, he’s handed us the privilege of continuing the master’s work here on earth, right? That we get to do this. We get to bring healing to sick people that we get to bring the message of restoration and redemption that we get to, to feed the poor, you know, and then we get to make disciples for Christ in there.
Julie Mullins: 23:26 There just is no greater privilege. And I think sometimes in church work, you know, we can get caught up, you know, and, and making sure that we have a great retirement package, you know, making sure that we get paid for the overtime hours that we’ve spent. And at the end of the day, we’re just servants and stewards, right? And, we get to do this ministry really is what we get to do. It’s not we have to do, there are lots of, you know, job openings that at Starbucks and at Walmart, you know, but this is a privilege what we get to do. And, I love that we get to do it with people like you Doug and, you know, and for the leaders that, you’re able to impact. So thank you for the privilege.
Doug Smith: 24:05 Yeah. And thank you for your faithfulness for 30 years. And looking forward to following the rest of your journey as well. Thank you
Doug Smith: 24:13 Thank you for listening to my interview with Julie. You can find ways to connect with her and links to everything that we discuss more at L3leadership.org/episode
Doug Smith: 24:20 158. Again, this is part two of a two part interview. If you’d like to go back and listen to part one, which I highly encourage you to, you can find that in episode number 157 of the L3 Leadership podcast. If this podcast added value to your life, it would mean the world to me. If you’d subscribe and leave a rating and review. It really does help us make a difference and also share this episode on social media shared on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, everywhere you can. It really doesn’t make a difference. Thank you so much. I want to thank our other sponsor, Babb Inc. They’re an insurance broker based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And they’re led by my friend Russell Livingston, who has a huge passion for developing next-generation leaders and they’re just doing some really unique things in the insurance space.
Doug Smith: 24:59 So if your organization has any insurance needs, go to Babbins.com that’s Babins.com. Lastly, if you want to stay in touch with us and everything that we’re doing here at Ltd leadership, just go to L3Leadership.org and sign up for our email list and you will stay up to date on a consistent basis through our emails. As always, I like to end with a quote, and I’ll quote Julie again in this one. She’d said this, and I just loved this. She said, “Excellence increases, influence.” “Excellence increases influence”, and I encourage you to try to be excellent in everything that you do. Why? Because excellence increases influence. So good, Julie, thanks for listening and being a part of L3 Leadership. Laura, and I appreciate you so much and we’ll talk to you next episode.