American Reformation

Faith Meets Leadership: A Conversation with Phil Klopke

September 20, 2023 Unite Leadership Collective Season 2 Episode 56
Faith Meets Leadership: A Conversation with Phil Klopke
American Reformation
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American Reformation
Faith Meets Leadership: A Conversation with Phil Klopke
Sep 20, 2023 Season 2 Episode 56
Unite Leadership Collective

Ever thought about the role of gospel in the American Christian Church's journey towards reformation? Or considered the potential hurdles institutional and systemic control might pose to pastors and leaders? That's what we're tackling in this conversation with Phil Klopke, co-director of PLI's thousand young leaders. We're highlighting Phil's experiences of living in East Nashville, the most liberal district in Tennessee, and his insights into equipping all people with giftedness to lead in the kingdom. Engage with us as we discuss the dangers of missing the gospel and how to effectively communicate with those who hold different beliefs.

Phil takes us through his personal journey of faith and leadership development, sharing the transformation and re-orientation of how Jesus interacts in the lives of those who participate in PLI's programs. We also touch on church formation and leadership training, talking candidly about the challenges church leaders and pastors face when trying to integrate young leaders into congregational life. Phil's experiences at conventions and his words of wisdom for church leaders are a must-listen for anyone passionate about strengthening church leadership.

The third part of our conversation focuses on developing leaders for community impact, emphasizing the power of storytelling in shifting perspectives and cultures. You'll be inspired by Phil's recounting of a leader who used his passion for pizza to serve the homeless, creating a unique form of discipleship. We also discuss unity and dialogue within the church, the significant role of women, and the importance of contextual hospitality when administering the Lord's Supper. Lastly, we reflect on the necessity of taking care of our physical health as a spiritual discipline, with Phil sharing his personal journey towards healthier living. Join us for a thought-provoking and heartwarming discussion, sure to challenge and inspire you in your own journey.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever thought about the role of gospel in the American Christian Church's journey towards reformation? Or considered the potential hurdles institutional and systemic control might pose to pastors and leaders? That's what we're tackling in this conversation with Phil Klopke, co-director of PLI's thousand young leaders. We're highlighting Phil's experiences of living in East Nashville, the most liberal district in Tennessee, and his insights into equipping all people with giftedness to lead in the kingdom. Engage with us as we discuss the dangers of missing the gospel and how to effectively communicate with those who hold different beliefs.

Phil takes us through his personal journey of faith and leadership development, sharing the transformation and re-orientation of how Jesus interacts in the lives of those who participate in PLI's programs. We also touch on church formation and leadership training, talking candidly about the challenges church leaders and pastors face when trying to integrate young leaders into congregational life. Phil's experiences at conventions and his words of wisdom for church leaders are a must-listen for anyone passionate about strengthening church leadership.

The third part of our conversation focuses on developing leaders for community impact, emphasizing the power of storytelling in shifting perspectives and cultures. You'll be inspired by Phil's recounting of a leader who used his passion for pizza to serve the homeless, creating a unique form of discipleship. We also discuss unity and dialogue within the church, the significant role of women, and the importance of contextual hospitality when administering the Lord's Supper. Lastly, we reflect on the necessity of taking care of our physical health as a spiritual discipline, with Phil sharing his personal journey towards healthier living. Join us for a thought-provoking and heartwarming discussion, sure to challenge and inspire you in your own journey.

Support the Show.

Watch Us On Youtube!

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the brand new American Reformation Podcast. We long to see the wider American Christian Church fall more in love with Jesus by learning from the practices of the early church and other eras of discipleship multiplication. We want to hear from you, make sure you comment and leave a review, wherever you're watching or listening, to tell us what God is doing in your life or how you feel about today's conversation. Lord, have your way in us. Let's dive in.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the American Reformation Podcast, tim Allman. Here and today, I have the distinct honor and privilege of getting to hang out with a brand new friend that was referred to me. I've been connected to the Pastoral Leadership Institute for a number of years and I think it I don't remember who it was that said man. You got to meet this Phil Klopke, and so he and I have been hanging out the last 15 minutes. You are in for a treat today. Not only is he the husband and father of two young boys, married to his wife Kierie heard a little bit of her story, which is fantastic but he's he's working with PLI's thousand young leaders as their co-director. So welcome Phil. How are you doing today, buddy Dude? I'm great Happy to be here.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for having me on man, yeah, happy to have you. So how are you praying? Kind of a standard question on this podcast. How are you praying for Reformation in the American Christian Church, bro?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I love the question and love that you're focusing on that. I don't know Like my first gut reaction I don't know if it's like a deep or I don't know what it would look like for your listeners but I'm praying that we don't lose sight of the, the centrality of the gospel. I continue to talk to a lot of friends, brothers, out there. Oftentimes in our conversations it seems like we're overcomplicating things and we're so we're. We're fighting on secondary theological issues, the culture wars. So I don't want us to lose focus on the simple gospel, what that means for our neighbors, coworkers and friends.

Speaker 3:

And I live in Nashville, tennessee, and I think the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Nashville is I live in the Bible Belt, which is true, but in my neighborhood I live in East Nashville and it's probably the most liberal district in all of the state of Tennessee. In fact, if you were to join the East Nashville Facebook page, you would see that there are people that will celebrate and rejoice when churches close down Now our churches, when they close down to become concert venues, workshops, coffee shops, recording studios, not saying that's pretty cool, but people are very happy and they rejoice because another place, what they would perceive as judgmental is closing down. So we have the highest density of the LGBT community in our neighborhood. And so, again, why do I share this? My friends and the people that live in my neighborhood are not necessarily all Lutheran. There's Presbyterians, there's Baptists, it feels like there's a few of us.

Speaker 3:

Right, we share the common gospel essentials together, which makes it that much more important as we're reaching neighbors, neighbors, friends, the people that are here, and it's important that we don't lose sight of that. So I think we get caught up with other issues and I'm sure you have many conversations around those. But then the second thing, too, is that we have a Reformation for the people of God. Personally, from I'm amazed from a theological perspective, especially as a Lutheran, that we talk about the priesthood believers but we don't necessarily always live it out, and so I love us to see how we equip all people, the priesthood believers, and how they can lead out their giftedness, because there's so many different kingdom opportunities that are out there. So those two things. I think we can dive deeper if you like, but that's what I'm praying for.

Speaker 2:

Man Phil, you're my boy, dude.

Speaker 1:

That was so good.

Speaker 2:

So let's do two threads here. This simple gospel. There are people who will say well, you dig into that. You're going to get into syncretism and unionism, you're going to get into compromising, and those are Reformed brothers and sisters and Armenian brothers and sisters. They've totally missed it. You're going to become a Baptist. You hang out with those Baptists too long, phil, you're going to become a Baptist or Reformed and you're going to end up trying to make the gospel of Jesus Christ into a work if you hang out with these people for too long. So just watch out if you go in that direction.

Speaker 2:

I'm playing devil's advocate here, but this is very real and you live in a liberal community, man, you're going to take on some of those liberal tendencies, don't you believe that in the beginning God created the male and female and His image. He created them, and folks you hang out with may have different opinions. The gospel of Jesus Christ could be watered down. You could become anti-nomian, bro, if you hang out with them too long. Is there any such need? Is there a need for the law? So how do you nail in to answer some of those questions? And on the simple gospel of Jesus Christ, sorry to go kind of dark there for a second. But those questions are real when you start to lean in.

Speaker 1:

No, you're good.

Speaker 3:

Let's just focus on the gospel it's really good and that's fair and I appreciate the question. I think part of the problem is we start getting into those different variables and then we forget about the relationship that's in front of us. We forget about actually having a conversation with them because, guess what, they might actually learn something from some of the secondary issues that you and I hold on to. And then we start unifying in a way where and I'm not saying maybe theologically we unify, but I know they deeply care for my neighbor, I know they deeply care for my community, I know they deeply care that the name of Jesus is known in East Nashville, and so that's important and I think there can be some sharpening there. I've learned a lot. It's really helped a lot of my theological convictions and I realize I'm much more of a Lutheran than I am today, than I was prior, without having those conversations with those brothers and sisters.

Speaker 2:

I agree there's some stories of Jesus. I love this podcast because it's just honing on Jesus. Gospel equals Jesus, the work of Jesus, the way of Jesus, the words of Jesus. Let's just focus in on Jesus. Can you think of, off the top of your head, a story or two of Jesus where he enters into relationship with people that you and I would theologically disagree with? I love hearing these stories.

Speaker 3:

Well, I mean, there's several stories, right, and I constantly think of the Pharisees, right, and I'm not going to talk about a specific one, but oftentimes, when Jesus is addressing Pharisees and countering some of their debates, the one thing that comes to mind is especially like growing up Lutheran is like man. Are there fairsutical tendencies that I hold on to? Are there things that I'm very guilty of and I need repentance of? And I grew up Lutheran. I grew up my dad being a pastor, my mom being a Lutheran school teacher, administrator, principal, and I got used to just kind of accepting for what things were, and so I just look at those types of relationships that Jesus had with some Pharisees, right, you know, you think of Nicodemus, what that looked like and how his heart was changed, and so I think they're, and I just think of those people that believe in the same central core beliefs that we do. And if we're not willing to have that conversation with them, how was the point?

Speaker 2:

So truth, truth, I think, of Jesus and his disciples, and you know, they from all ends of the spectrum, from Matthew the outsider tax collector to Peter the zealot and then the others kind of being within those, within those continuums. They have a tendency to develop this kind of legalistic, pharisaical tendency. Do you remember the story of? We heard there was a guy out there casting out demons in your name, jesus? Well, let's go. We go tell him to stop. He can't be doing that. You know he's not connected to us. And Jesus says, no, let him keep doing it. If he's not against us, you know he's for us and he's obviously for us right here.

Speaker 2:

So do we have that sort of word we use around here as theological hospitality for those who are outside of our Lutheran confessional tradition? And then we narrow in on the person and work of Jesus, which we all agree on, the early creed of the early Christian church with Jesus' Lord, done, jesus' Lord, there's no, there's no other. So I, I 100% agree with your, your work, and I have found the exact same thing. The more I enter into theological hospitality type conversations with those who are Catholic to charismatic and everywhere in between, the more, not the less, the more I appreciate the centrality of the gospel through the means of grace as found in our Lutheran tradition. You've had that same experience. It sounds like Phil.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely, and then you actually have some conversations with our confessions and our faith, and then they'll sit there like, yeah, that's good and you can. You can have deeper and richer conversations through that. So I just I just hate the fact that we're avoiding that. You know, we have complicated things and then we start focusing on not just the theological wars but then all the cultural wars that are happening. We're dividing ourselves within our own church body with other church bodies and it's problematic.

Speaker 2:

If you live by the law, you'll die by the law. Man and Jesus came as gospel, good news in flesh, and so that's where we have to lead right now. Your story, though, of thinking you were going to become a pastor and then becoming a DCE, even going to the seminary for a time, and I love the story of your, your, your wife and coming to faith with a name like Curie why don't you tell that man, this is awesome.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so Curie is a co-director with what I do now for a thousand leaders. But Curie was not a Christian until she entered into high school. In fact, she got invited to go to a Baptist youth group and because a friend just kept bugging her time after time, she said fine, I'll go and became a Jesus follower from that point on. And, oddly enough, kirie's parents named her Kirie without knowing what it meant. They just love the 80s rock song, mr Mr. You know Kirie liez on down the road that I must have no idea what the name meant. They said that sounds cool, gonna name our daughter that. And, lo and behold, her name is Kirie. She's a Christ follower, lover, and, yeah, so that's her.

Speaker 3:

We met, oh man, like 15 years ago, got married about 11 years ago and and we got two boys, like you said before. But at one point I was getting ready to enter into vicarage, which is, you know, internship for LCMS pastors, and what happened was I was having like an identity crisis. I just wasn't sure if being a pastor is really what my true calling was. I Constantly been thinking about just the American church, right, how that's changing, how we have congregations that are closing, and my thought process at the time was I mean, I'm gonna be 40 and 50. I'm gonna be a pastor. How am I gonna be able to provide for my family at this time? And Also, I love the local church, and I mean provide for my family if there's more churches that close down? So that was one thing.

Speaker 3:

But then the other thing was man, I got some other gifts and passions. We love the local church, we want to help lead churches, but we don't necessarily want to be paid by them. So God has gifted us with so many different, different gifts and talents. How can we use that to glorify God and other people? And so that was the journey quest. And like it was hard. I had a lot of pastors in my family. A lot of Lutherans in my family is like what are you doing? What's wrong with you? And I'm sure there was something wrong with me at the time, but God has just had us on a wild journey that's led us to where we're at right now Helping lead within PLI leadership, specifically a thousand young leaders, hmm.

Speaker 2:

I love it, man. So tell us about thousand young leaders. It's been, if you've been in the LCMS for a while I've heard about this been out pre-covid. I believe this kind of initiative with PLI took place and I don't know what the COVID journey did to a thousand young leaders, but bring us up to speed on where that ministry is with PLI.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So we help training, coach Christian young adults to identify their context and passions, to lead community, where anyone can introduce Jesus to people. And so these young adult Christians they're non-church workers, they're everyday leaders, they're business owners, doctors, baristas, teachers. We even have a NASCAR driver that has joined a cohort for a thousand leaders. He just won a big race the other day, shout-out Landon Huffman, and Anyways.

Speaker 3:

We help them discern and understand those things to maximize their impact for the gospel of Jesus. So, yes, as you mentioned before, we came out pre-covid, so we were doing online virtual communities. So we're doing this thing called zoom and no one ever heard of it, and then now it's everywhere, right. And so it's important to us that we have these online communities because we can't necessarily Ask them to take time off of their work schedules or whatever they're doing to come to like a learning community, you know, similar to what you guys do at Unite, right. And so we just do everything online with them, and so it's just kind of it's good for them to identify that there's like money Christians just like them. They have a heart for Jesus and have something more for their friends and their community around them.

Speaker 2:

So we put them through a ten-month process To help them dream and imagine what that could look like, and there's just so much goodness that has come from that mmm, and Tell a story or two of people who have gone through and just had and I'm sure everybody has various stories of transformation by the power of spirit and word. But have there been some new dreams that the Lord has kind of brought about or just kind of a reorientation of how Jesus interacts in their Every day life? It's probably all of the above right.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's all the above, but what's? I think the problem is and kind of getting back to the primary question that you had before like we over complicate things for people, right, we have systems, as pastors and leaders within our churches, of how we want to create our leadership pipelines, which is good, right, but also we forget about actually Helping people discover their passions, their context, where God has placed them, and so like, for instance, I talked about a NASCAR driver that joined, right, he's like mid-range, popular within the NASCAR world. He'll like race on some of the big Race weekends. He's like one of those guys that an owner will pay him to qualify for a race and then after two laps He'll like park the car, you know, and then next you know he's qualifying and getting money for that particular race owner. And so he was kind of having an identity crisis. When he was in a thousand leaders, he's like should I be racing forever? He was doing kind of like low-level like Kind of, I guess, think of like the minor leagues for NASCAR and he was doing like short track racing.

Speaker 3:

Well, in between that time he was struggling to make money. You know he needed to raise money and so what he started doing was he? He had a twitch dream where he was racing online Virtual NASCAR races. He grew his following to, I think, like four thousand viewers a day that are watching him stream on twitch. You know that was his thing. He got sponsors. He got paid for I'm Dale Earnhardt Jr Actually is one of his sponsors and so what was cool was he was trying to figure out how do I actually lead community where people can experience Jesus.

Speaker 3:

While going through a coaching huddle, he discovered like, hey, this is something that I do in an everyday purpose. What if I invite people into a deeper conversation about Jesus? And so he started introducing that on his twitch dream. Hey, if you, if you want to know more about my, my story, my faith, I'm actually open up a zoomer in this day. You can register here, and that's where his his followers got even a closer look of who he was. He put that out there and the thing is it was simple. It's something that he was already doing. If we can actually take some of those things and elements of how people lead, it becomes more than just leading a small group or a Bible study. We are really maximizing the potential of greater kingdom opportunities, and just think about how many people is reaching in the name of Jesus Just by using his passions of racing Spectacular.

Speaker 2:

That we got a generational thing here. You hang out with more young people than I do, even though I'm coaching high school football right now. I've been. I've been hearing about my, my kids drip like they're putting on all this drip, you know, and I learned that's all. Though they're swag, they want to look cool and good and stuff. I have not even heard of twitch dream bro. You just brought out something to. I don't even know that YouTube is this it's a twitch.

Speaker 3:

it's like a gaming thing for YouTube called twitch, and, and Basically what it turned into is people like watching people play video games. I know my thing, but apparently this is a big following and people are following some of these influencers out there, and Landon happens to be Influenced for the NASCAR industry.

Speaker 2:

So there you go, okay praise god, shout out to twitch dreams connected to YouTube. So what are some of those? Oh, the stereotypes I get to pass for fill in a multi-generational congregation, you know it's a joy and in from a lower income to higher income kind of community and very diverse, super fun. But what are some of those stereotypes that need to be debunked around Young Jesus followers on my day? You know we're. So yeah, just, I love this question because it leads us toward, hopefully, humility and curiosity. Go ahead.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we're, we're the same as you all, and I say that is now. I'm getting older too. I'm like on the 36 years old, like I feel out of touch. I have no idea what jerk means either too, by the way, bro and and so, but the thing is we're the same, you know, and Stop.

Speaker 3:

It's easy to kind of make stereotypes, to look at the data and then not actually engage in a relationship, and so get to know that person, right and? And Stop making decisions based on that data, right, so we'll see what happens with that. They want to be challenged into something deeper. They don't want to necessarily Go to your church because of the amount or the lack of programs. They actually are concerned about their friends, that who don't know Jesus. And I think we we kind of fall in that lie like we don't have enough in our kids ministry, our youth ministry, whatnot. You know, if we are actually investing them in the way that they, we can prepare them To be a missionary in the places that they live, work and play, I think that's gonna resonate with them more. So let's just stop catering to them. Let's empower them for something more.

Speaker 2:

Yes, love it. Do you know the Griners? Do you know Micah and Sarah?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, he's a senior pastor at my my home church back in the day. No, way.

Speaker 2:

Okay, yeah, they're the ones that. They're the ones that connected does? I got an email from Sarah back in the day.

Speaker 2:

Okay it's all. It's all clicking together now. So let's say that these a thousand young leaders Grow up and they're while. They will grow up into the next generation. They'll be roughly in their 50s and and leading in areas of influence, maybe within our church, by Lutheran Church, missouri Senate or other areas of leadership. What do you think, how do you think the church will look different if we really see them as a generation that we can learn from Humbly in this day and age? How do you think the American Christian Church will look different in 2050?

Speaker 3:

It won't be as organized, it won't be Consumer driven right. We're gonna empower people to actually lead in ways that we Didn't think that was possible. I think for a lot of our pastors and overseers in our church body like that can be threatening at first, because it seems like their, their role or their power or whatever you want to call it, is gonna look less and less and You're gonna actually have people living out some of these God dreams that they have in their hearts. I think our local churches. It would be easier to be able to multiply those things, and so I have a lot of hope. But right now it appears that there's just so much power that we want to be able to hold on to, and so I think it's gonna look different, and that's why we believe in what we do by investing in a lot of these leaders. But it's gonna be a hard journey to get there, because it's not it's not top-down you do this, it's it's bottom-up.

Speaker 2:

What is the Lord doing in your life and in the work of your community? And you know that that's one of my big struggles, phil. We're just getting to know one another. But I can go on rants about the institutional systemic control that Sometimes hamper as pastors and leaders from dream big dreams to multiply disciples at the local level, because we've outsourced Institutional formation and, and I think we've only made it one way that you're meant yeah, we've only made one way.

Speaker 3:

I love the fact and I don't know if you talked about it yet that you were convention and you were trying to have conversations with people. What were you trying to convince people of saying, like, is there only one way to be able to do seminary training?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they're multiple. Do we need more paths for seminary formation? And I, I was like a black sheep dude, some most people who just kind of walk by like I'm not touching that you know. On the one hand I agree with you but I'm not gonna say anything. On the other hand, I really don't agree with you because we got to maintain Institute. Our institutions or seminaries are the crown jewel of our church body. Not I've been making the case Phil's both hand.

Speaker 2:

It's not either or but right now there's this heavy, heavy control right now, and I'm praying for more openness as what we're doing is assessed and analyzed here in the United leadership collective. But yeah, I don't, I don't know. It's just a fascinating. I just love to know is it working because I'm a pragmatist, you know, I'm a local congregation guy is what we're doing as it relates to formation and then, just every day, discipleship multiplication? Is it? Is it working in our institutional, you know kind of centrally controlled, based on the institutions in st Louis? Is it? Is it actually producing the quantity and the quality of disciple multipliers that the church needs into the next generation? And I think the answer is nah, I don't. I don't think so. I don't think so.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, this means that there's not fruit that's coming from it. But if we're talking about exponential growth, like no and and I think also going back to the church 2050, like If we look back and said, okay, we were okay of having some of these hard strategic changes, right, no one's stripping away our doctrine, no one's trying to take away our theological core beliefs, like there's got to be a better way that we are investing in leaders, training the people of God, training our overseers, all that being said, and breaking down some of that power and control that we had. So I applaud you for the fact that you're doing that. I'm wondering was there anyone that even wanted to approach the conversation with you? Like, what did that work? Like?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we're releasing four different conversations, you know three to four minutes. The second vice president of Synod, reverend Ben Ball, he's gonna be on one of the podcasts here soon and I had a street conversation with him. I actually ended up getting asked to leave. My friend Joe and I just set up a little table off to the side because we weren't like registered and had a table in the main area because we were both voting delegates. We took this from security. They gave us absolute freedom and then we were told we can't do that. So then we moved out to the street corner and had like two or three more conversations there.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, there's a there is, I think, a groundswell movement. Not a large percentage, but I think it's in our generation and younger who are just kind of saying we want to be about the future of discipleship, multiplication, and where we feel like we're getting held back, and not just because of length of time but also cost. I think younger generations are also looking at how expensive everything is and saying like, whoa, that cost is really, really heavy. So, yeah, we can talk more about this, but I got other things I want to talk to you about as well.

Speaker 3:

Thank you for doing that, thank you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, you're very welcome, bro, it's a super joy. So what words of wisdom would you give to church leaders and pastors who integrate young leaders into the life of the congregation? You know, mentoring, coaching, apprenticeship, that hasn't necessarily been hardwired into a lot of our churches. You know, pastors are doers and everybody else are our receivers. This dichotomy, this was actually at the convention. This is a different topic than just a topic of formation.

Speaker 2:

But this, this theology that in the church there are Proclaimers, you know, preachers, and then there are hearers, and the two should not be confused, this is, in my mind, an inordinately high elevation of the office of holy ministry at the expense of the priesthood of all believers. And we're always, as it relates to some people, actually thinking the Missouri Synod right now feel that evangelism is solely the task of the local called-in-ordained servant of the word. And how crippling is that to gospel multiplication, you know. So what words of wisdom would you give for pastors to say, okay, I learned one way, I learned to be a doer of ministry to now, Okay, can I identify? Have the IC and you conversations with some of our younger, younger leaders who are there waiting to be Discover, developed and deployed your thoughts on that, phil.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean, oftentimes when I talk to pastors on the phone, they're talking about thousand young leaders. They're thinking, by calling me and signing up some of their young adult leaders for a specific cohort, that this is going to help them, have urged them and encourage them to be a volunteer on there, to be on their boards, right, because like there's no young people, not only a church, but there's no young people serving leadership, which is great. I'm glad that they are aware of these things and they realize it's going to be a problem if they don't address that issue. But they they're simply just sending people To a training, thinking that you know they're gonna get outcomes, they're gonna benefit the church, the local church with itself, rather than if they actually send and invest in leaders, that it's going to benefit and help the community around them.

Speaker 3:

And From our perspective, like it's really hard when we're trying to measure different things. We measure how many butts in the pew, how many people are we baptizing right now, a big number to measure. So, like, how many young people do we have in our church? Right, and except there could be other ways that we can measure what, what Jesus is doing through those lives. And so I'm not saying that People who have joined a thousand leaders haven't actually become the president of their boards that, like it, actually has happened in a way. But we need to start Investing in those types of leaders, knowing that there could be opportunity for greater good in their city and their community and beyond. So I don't know if that answers the question.

Speaker 2:

I know it does, it does. Yeah, what about? Tell me a story of a pastor who had the, the flip switched, you know, and said, whoa, this isn't about just getting them into an area of leadership, but it's actually about me getting to come alongside them to watch and learn and do a lot of what I, what I get to do. I could tell you a handful of them here. Our staff we got a hundred and thirty eight people actually on our team and our school and our church. Two-thirds are in our, our growing school. But, man, it's such a joy I'm gonna be in a Gilbert campus meeting here in in 15 minutes.

Speaker 2:

A third of those leaders are 28 and under and Many of them are being apprenticed to do pastoral ministry roles or leading admission, it's just, it's just a joy. Some of them work in very, very part-time. Well, they got jobs in the community that they're getting after. It's just so much fun to have a diversity of demographic in our inner space. So are there are other pastors that had that? You know that light bulb. Go on, man.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, one pastor sent a guy through a thousand leaders and he's like I need to invest in more. He's gonna probably be our next chair for our church, right, I was like, okay, that's cool, sweet, right. And as this particular person was really going through the cohort, they were able to really identify the things that they can also do and how they can lead within their own church, and One of them just be an example of like how to live out faith and build new types of communities. And so there's one particular guy. He just realized, as going through assessments, that we have character assessments and Spiritual disciplines, all these different things. Right, he realized at one point that he loved making pizzas and his favorite thing to do actually was not doing any type of leadership With the church, but he loved actually serving the homeless shelter on Saturdays, and so what he did was like how do I combine those things together?

Speaker 3:

How can we make it simple? Well, he opened up a pizza business and employing Homeless men as a form of discipleship and also so they can have some sort of source of income and pay. Right, he loved pizzas. This is what he'd love to do. And then, as the pastor was like realizing that, it was like, oh wait a minute, look what's actually happening beyond our church walls. I mean, there was a small church plant, I think, their worship being like 50 to 60 in a Sunday and realizing like hey, it's, it's not about just development for how we have them in our pipeline, but how are we sending them out to be good news in these places, especially what they're passionate about as well?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, the the flip that needs to get switched. For pastors and you just highlighted it there is a move away from Structure. We need people in these roles to story, to story, find the stories of young people going out and man, that's just such a such a powerful story. And that what I've found with the power of story and this is deeply theological Right is it shifts our cultures, man, it shifts our perspective and people start to go from down and in and grumpy and oh, why don't I get to do this? And that's like, oh, the world is big and beautiful and there's opportunity and good moves from scarcity to abundance, just like that of a pastor. Learners the art of telling a good story, especially connected to the next generation of Jesus followers going on mission to make him known. Man, isn't that true? The power of story. Anything more to add there, phil?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean absolutely like. For us, kiri and myself, we live on. We always say, within our home, with our boys we want the name of Jesus to be known on Chase Street. This is where we live, right? What are some of the things that I love to do? I Love getting guys together to play poker, have cigars and drink good bourbon right, it's a fun time.

Speaker 3:

And so even on Friday, we had 14 guys come over half the guys on the street, not Christian whatsoever. We have some people that go to our local church of Christian or have other brothers, like I said, that are in different Denomination. You know that they also want to be able to join in as well, and it's beautiful when you get like a group of people together, and I kid you're not. On Friday, one of the the neighbor, said dude, I can't believe you're doing this. Like, why, why are you doing this? Well, like, why are you opening up your home?

Speaker 3:

And we got to the point I won't share what exactly what I had to say, but what, what I'm trying to get after, like, that's a spiritual Conversation that was about to be had. Right, and we can prepare more people for those types of conversations, those types of stories. Imagine what the, the priest of all believers, can be about. Right, they're gonna be empowered and equipped to be able to lead, to bring good news, to be able to share the gospel. And guess what you can? You can really simplify that of how you build community today.

Speaker 2:

That's, that's amazing. Thank you for for doing that. There are so many of that of that story happening right now People starting to pastor their, their block or their community. I mean, I think that's that's house, church in in action, right there. Do people ever ask you if, phil, what do you, what do you do for work? Because this is a hard one for me Well, and pastor, church and school, blah, blah, blah. You know that kind of thing and sometimes I get I'm not trying to lie or be disingenuous or anything, but I I have teased out I get a. I get a focus on leadership, development and people being, you know, cared for, loved and then mobilized to bring love and care into their community. That, at the core, is what I do as a pastoral leader. So, yeah, what do you say when someone says what do you do, phil?

Speaker 3:

I mean I don't specifically work in a local church right now. You know I work for PLI leadership, so I do share that. I work for a leadership organization that does consulting and training for ministry leaders Globally and worldwide, which is enough for them to feel a little bit awkward, right, and that's okay. Yeah, it's important to be able to listen to their story. All right, and so I'll listen to their story. You know, connect the dots that way.

Speaker 3:

But you know, if you have a conversation long enough and you get to some of those heart issues, you know walls begin to break down and and you know people get a little bit comfortable. You know, as I shared, we had poker and I mean with all the Christians ever in the room there was a lot of Gds from all the other people that were being mouth, you know after that, which is like it's kind of like a different environment to be in. But like they know exactly what I do, they know that I love Jesus, they know that I'm a Christ follower I've never shied away from that but they also feel comfortable to Be who they are, even knowing what my role is.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I've had the same experience. I've been golfing for years and years and, yeah, there it can be a little bit of a sailor mouth out on the course and stuff and and. But they feel comfortable, they feel like I'm a normal human that they can have real-life conversations about. And I've got the privilege then of Pasturing through the ups and downs and funerals of a handful of my brothers over over the years. So yeah, I pray we're placing ourselves in more of those environments. How are you praying for because we're part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Senate multiple generations how are you praying that the LCMS as a church body becomes healthier, phil?

Speaker 3:

I really kind of struggle this question as you sent it over, but I think that the first gut reaction that came to mind was just kindness, seeking less power, being okay With different strategic ideas. We can continue to be essentially a word in sacrament Gospel church, right, but I think there's got to be less power. We got to stop fighting over these secondary issues and we got to learn to have a conversation and Be okay with approaching hard conversations the fact that I'm sure people were walking by you at convention. They're like I don't even want to touch that right there. We got to be okay, just having some of these conversations. There's got to be a way to demonstrate this where people can see that, okay, we can be brothers and sisters and have different ideas of what were the sacrament word in sacrament ministry look like, but we can be together and there's just too much division, too much separation. I want I want people to be unified in the faith. Yeah, amen.

Speaker 2:

Amen, can you give. I've been praying for contextual hospitality. We talk about theological hospitality, but just contextual hospitality. Can you go deeper into what some of those secondary issues that you think we divide on are and even then you and I can kind of Model what it looks like to have a conversation around some of these things that are secondary? But here's it, here's who gets to say what a secondary issue is, because some of what we think are secondary maybe, maybe primary, intimately connected. It's like a through string too, and everything's gonna unravel, man, if you pull on that, on that string. So give me an example of a secondary doctrinal issue which is really coming full circle there, a lot of what we talked about at the very beginning.

Speaker 3:

This is great, phil well, I mean, I Was not in the weeds of all the things that were being passed at convention, right, but I do know that some of the bigger issues that were being talked about Is Concordia, texas, right, I, I know that you were in an interview with them and you, you were willing to have the conversation with them and actually learn of what was going on, right from their perspective.

Speaker 3:

Those issues where now it's becoming a he said, she said, is not like there's there's misinformation going out there? You know that not the whole story is actually being shared and and it's we're so stuck on some of these things of what we think who's breaking what commandment and whatnot. So that that's an issue that I feel like is pretty concerning to me. You know the other thing, too, and if you ever have the conversation with Lutheran, it's like you know I may not necessarily Like everything that my congregation does, but I'm glad that we believe in the one true faith, right, and they're thinking that you know, wow, like all of our theological Convictions are correct compared to everyone else out there, without actually exploring some of those secondary issues with other people and the denominations and actually learning, I feel like like before I could be strengthened of more what those theological secondary issues might look like If I actually have some conversations with people about them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah for sure. And that's to get to the why of why I do these podcasts feel is is to have those conversations, because you and I, you and I generally, I think we could probably find some areas. We're like. I don't know if I do it like that, but generally I think, given our stories, we're gonna agree on 99% of just a lot of things were both mission. We want the next generation, but I I gotta listen to the guys who are concerned about, well, one of the hot button issues the role of women in the church.

Speaker 2:

You know, let's look at, let's look at scripture today and there were, there were some Resolutions being brought forward that really want to narrow, narrow the focus of of women and their and their voice within a church. So how do I listen, with charity and kindness and and also that's where it gets down to, contextual hospitality is in your, in your community. Maybe that, maybe that works for you to narrow the role of women in our community. It doesn't, it doesn't help that that much you know. So, yeah, and I could go down the way, the way the Lord supper gets administered, you know, I think we need to have some contextual hospitality there. I shout out to President Harris and his explanation of the the close nature of communion for us.

Speaker 2:

I agree with. They need to know that this is a meal connected to the Triune God. I need to know it's a real presence and baptized in the name of the Triune God, confessing their sins, in need of transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit, coming broken and contrite like a bruised I bruised wheat reed or smoldering wick. You know Isaiah says so calm man, broken let's go. This is, this is for, this is for you and I. Rather than a card carrying we're not Wisconsin sinner rather than the card carrying. Member of this, this congregation Per se. So there was some, there were some areas at the convention or I was like, ah, that was, that was pretty charitable, that was pretty, pretty pastoral, and so I, I really would love to.

Speaker 3:

I'm sure there's good stuff too, and I just was not like actually paying attention to everything what was going on the convention, so I couldn't give you like any like real examples, but you just know that some of those things are there and there's also good things that come out of these Conversations that happen at convention too for sure, and if I could give one prayer, it's that relationships would take predominance over rules, and this is the way we do things.

Speaker 2:

Well, unless you hear what's going on in our unique context.

Speaker 3:

We should hold a very open hand with those rules and hold tightly to relationship, to Christ and to one another and, to be honest with you, like I've had to repent through that too, because I'll go into certain Conversations with different key leaders within our sin and thinking, oh, they're gonna be that much more different than me, we're not even gonna meet at the same place. And then after having an hour conversation, I was like whoa, like repentance all over, like I'm glad I had that conversation and I can't go into some of these things, thinking that the relationship is Gonna be that far off and and so that has been a deep learning for me and I need to be able to approach more of those people that I think that are gonna land on a different side.

Speaker 2:

I agree, I agree, I've been. I've been amazed. It's interesting how human beings we have conversations before the conversation Anticipate how this is all gonna go down. So can we put the best construction on everything and go into every conversation with it an open mind and heart and a Humble desire to learn. This person has gifts to give and gifts to receive and I just went. That's just such a more Freeing posture to take in any sort of relationship. Right, I don't have to be God for you, I don't have to convince you. Actually, the harder I try to convince you, the less convincing it is. The tighter the relationship is, the more the Holy Spirit has room to work and to to change. But this can't be about me. This is really poor theology. I have to come in to win man. No one, no one wins when that happens only the.

Speaker 2:

Holy Spirit can create and Sustain and sanctify us in the true Christian face. So there needs to be more Holy Spirit and less us. Anything more to add on that, phil? Amen, all right, bro, so how do?

Speaker 2:

how do spiritual disciplines? You're awesome. Last question here, this has been fun. I love your heart. How do spiritual disciplines impact your life as a leader of Leaders? And then, what are some of your I love? Are the you all see loves talking, the rhythms that disciplines of the of the Baptized Jesus followers, some of your kind of favorite disciplines. For me, they kind of evolve from season to season, life, life Circumstances and such. So let's close with a conversation about spiritual disciplines.

Speaker 3:

I yeah, I love this question. So I'm a type one diabetic and I was diagnosed 8808 and part of my story, my journey, especially when I was diagnosed it was before my senior year of football, concordia, chicago, and Probably for the next five to six years I was not taking care of myself what whatsoever. In fact I created an eating disorder out of it and when I was just consuming so much food and sugar and I lost a ton of weight and I was like, oh man, I feel look better because I was an offensive lineman you know offense, I'm a big boys, right. So I lost a ton of weight, wasn't taking care of myself and I was honestly like a wreck during that time. And so since then, with the help of my wife and close friends and loved ones and family, like I have been on a journey of like, hey, how do I, how do I take care of myself? So I give my best to the people around me, not just my family, but if God has given me an opportunity to connect with neighbors and loved ones and co-workers In a way to be able to bring good news, like I need to be able to take care of myself, and so that has led to me of just being really diligent, of how I measure sugars, what I, what I, what I do.

Speaker 3:

So while I was taking care of myself, I gained all that weight back throughout time and and even though my a1c levels were good, my sugars were good.

Speaker 3:

I was just thinking like man, there's got to be a better way that I can even feel healthier. So just recently, in the past like three months, I've done more intermittent fasting, macro counting and I've lost like 27 pounds since that time and because it's just like there's so much opportunity To give to other people. So that is part of, you know, my spiritual discipline is like how do I become even more conscious of taking care of myself, of how much water I drink? You know what I'm, what I'm limiting and you know, because God has given us so much opportunity and I don't want to be able to waste that for my family and my neighbors and people that love the most, so that that really impacts how I lead with what I do right now. It impacts how I can share my story, because there's a lot of repentance that I've needed to work through and to share what that looks like with other people around me, and Jesus uses that.

Speaker 2:

Oh man, I love this topic so much. And one congratulations for Listen to your body and going on a journey to just care for the temple of the Holy Spirit that the Lord has given you. It's not about more years in your life, you know, keep them, keep them fearful, keep them medicated. That's a lot of what's going on in our world today. And saying, no, I have some agency. And, powered by the Holy Spirit, I want more years in my life. I want to go out. I'm not years of my life, a life in my years. I want to go out swinging man. I want, I want the day before I die to be like pouring into other people, if it all, if it all possible. And in America we're not living longer, we're dying longer and we're just. You know that that should not be for the church. So I really believe the church would be a model of health, not for vanity sake that we all have an ego and pride and all that kind of stuff, but for discipleship sake, for for the others sake. And I want, I want maximum energy. And I gotta tell you a funny story as we're closing here did yesterday yesterday was Sunday and I Didn't preach preach it at one of our campuses. Four times I actually led led worship and I practiced intermittent fasting for gosh. A few years ago I did a blood sample work and lost some pounds. But I just wanted to, just wanted to lean up so I could be more, more present for folks, and have continued on with the the water and I pretty much just eat between a noon and six Window on Sundays, though I eat like a little bit of fruit to get the blood sugars up as I'm kind of coming low around 10 or so in the morning. I know my body well enough to know that's what I need before our last service. Well, I went home after the last service and it was hoping to get some protein, like I need a lot, a lot of protein, right. But there was this. My family and we don't do this very often, though my kids would say we probably do it too often but my wife had taken the kids and this is nothing to answer to Taco Bell, okay, to Taco Bell and my kids. They got good metabolism, they can move some stuff there. So I had. I came home and I had a chalupa that had been sitting out for about 30 minutes and I went and played nine holes of golf with my daughter who's getting ready for a match today and I'm not even joking, I'm a real avid golfer. Five holes in, bro, I had to quit. My stomach was just turning and not. It was not good. And even last night I went to bed at 9, I reset, I was like I don't know if I'm gonna be able to be on with Rick and Phil today, but the Lord, the Lord, allowed me to get my water and flush them stuff through like I don't. I don't know that.

Speaker 2:

We're talking enough in the church about Soul care connected to physical care, because they are not distinct. One is impacting the other. Right, what we put into our body shapes our brain, shapes our mentality and and can lead to Chronic fight-flight-freeze mode. Right, rather than fully being present for people, what we consume Can consume us and and lead us more inward, more anxiety, more fear rather than more abundance. And again, every person has to figure this out for themselves. This is all a conversation covered in the mercy and grace of Jesus, but it's not okay to not have a way that you're trying to maximize the, the amazing, miraculous body that Jesus has given to you. So I just applaud you, phil, for going on that journey, you and your family and your those that you get an impact are just gonna be better for it. It's not about perfection, it's just about progress. Man, you know, just taking the right next next step.

Speaker 2:

Anything more to say, though, on physical care.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean, I long for the new body, right. I long where my body will no longer have type 1 diabetes. But it's part of my story right now, right and the way, each and every day, that I'm so conscious of taking care of myself Just gives me so much more energy, gives me so much more opportunity. And you know what, like it's almost like it's now becoming way more addicting of, like what I'm consuming between 12 and 6 pm, right, like I feel so much better, like my body craves that stuff. Like you said, taco Bell and I was I was done, dude like there's just no way that you can put that in my body right now, because I love that.

Speaker 3:

I would be out the next day too, and so I want to be able to give my best, I think. And then also, like I want to be a living example of as I'm discipling other people, like if I'm asking people to imitate me, like I also want them to imitate, like even some of those health disciplines that I have that can lead to Some of those spiritual opportunities that we're talking about. So it's important stuff and I feel like it's easy, like, well, we have a good a Disability plan or a good insurance plan that's gonna take care of our needs like no.

Speaker 2:

We need to take care of ourselves today, and so it's just important for me, self-care is not selfish and the decisions we make today are deposits, gifts to our future self, and I pray we can see that not as something that's legalistic, but just a Great opportunity to steward this one life which will be resurrected, brand new, eternal and perishable, powerful, immortal bodies which will come. We're not Gnostics. We care about the physical reality, the creation God has given to us and the new creation that we are In Christ. So this has been so much fun, phil. If people want to connect with you, how can they do so?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, check out 1kylorg, that is our website. We have a cohort For a thousand leaders and starting November 6th, so check us out there. And then on Facebook and Instagram you can find us with a thousand young leaders, and so we love to connect with you and hear your story and and be a part of your God dreams, so and help you discern through that.

Speaker 2:

One kylorg Yep one, kylorg that was. That was cool man, so this has been so much fun. This is the American Reformation podcast. Sharing is caring the comments, whether it's on YouTube or it's on Spotify or iTunes, getting the word out. This podcast is growing and we pray we're just having more Jesus-centered conversations with people Following not perfectly, but following after Jesus, using the respective gifts that he has given to them, just like Phil Klopke is doing in his Nashville and national work with the next generation of leaders. I feel you are Inspiring and it's an honor to meet you today and pray we get to meet in person in the near future. Man, thanks so much for being with me today on American Reformation.

Speaker 3:

Yeah man a way to bring the drip the drip, there we go, drip it up.

Reformation Podcast Explores Gospel and Hospitality
Journey of Faith and Leadership Development
Exploring Church Formation and Leadership Training
Developing Leaders for Community Impact
Unity and Conversation in the Church
Caring for Physical and Spiritual Health
American Reformation Podcast Growth and Inspiration