#3 How To Avoid Startup Mistakes (with Thomas Lane of Ascent Church)

Show Notes

When you're starting a new business or church, it's inevitable that you'll make some mistakes along the way. We all have! But how do you avoid some of the most common startup mistakes, build sustainable growth, and create a clear mission and vision for your organization? In this episode, Thomas Lane (T Lane) Founder & Pastor at Ascent Church answers these questions and more with Chantel and Heather! Ascent Church: https://www.ascentchurch.net Agora Pulse: https://app.agorapulse.com

For more resources, visit https://www.reallifeleaders.com/podcast

Have a leadership question you want answered? Email [email protected] and you might even be in an episode!


Chantel: Hey, guys. Welcome to this week's Leadership Podcast, where we share real-life stories from real-life leaders, to help you become a better leader in your organization. I'm so excited. We have T. Lane here-

T. Lane: Yes.

Chantel: ... the pastor of Ascent Church-

T. Lane: Hey, hey.

Chantel: ... which is the most amazing church, in my opinion-

T. Lane: That's sweet of you.

Chantel: ... in all of Hampton Roads. He is so hysterical. Literally, I'm not joking. If you go one time, you just won't want to go anywhere else. Well, with a name like T. Lane, I mean, he has to be kind of cool and fun.

Heather: Yes.

T. Lane: That's kind of you. Thank you.

Chantel: He is awesome. And I brought you some kombucha.

T. Lane: Yes. That's awesome.

Chantel: I tried to recreate your story. You have to tell the story you were talking about-

T. Lane: I don't even know which one. Half of them, literally ... Allie asked me. I don't know. I don't write it down. It just kind of happens. Which one was it? Was it [crosstalk 00:00:44]-

Chantel: Oh, he was talking about-

T. Lane: Thank you so much.

Chantel: You were talking about, like, "Oh, some of you guys are kombucha snobs."

T. Lane: Oh, yes.

Chantel: Like, "Oh, is it small batch?"

T. Lane: "Oh, you drink kombucha. But is it handcrafted, small batch, local, organic, cruelty-free kombucha?"

Chantel: It is so funny.

T. Lane: There's always somebody. This is great.

Chantel: Well, you guys have had so much massive growth in such a short amount of time.

T. Lane: It's been crazy.

Chantel: You launched September 2017.

T. Lane: That's correct.

Chantel: How many people do you have now?

T. Lane: So, from that launch til now ... I just actually did this yesterday ... we've grown about 140%.

Chantel: Wow.

T. Lane: In, I think 16, 17 months?

Chantel: Wow.

T. Lane: Which is great. We're averaging now high threes, 300 to 400 folks.

Chantel: That's awesome.

T. Lane: But it really depends. It's hard to tell. Nowadays, folks come to church every third week, on average. People travel, sports, vacations. So, it's hard to actually define how many people would say, "That's my church."

Chantel: Right.

T. Lane: You know? I would say that number is maybe 600 to 700, but it's really hard to track. It's just hard to track.

Chantel: Yeah. Well, we're talking about startups, and some of the mistakes that people make when they're starting up. So, you know, talk about one. Give us an example of one thing that you'd say, like, "This was kind of a"-

T. Lane: How much time do you have? Is this like a four-hour thing? Have we got all day? I mean, there's so many. I think that the easiest one that comes to mind is having my hands in too much. Trying to do it all. Considering I'm the expert. I can do it. If I want to do it right, I have to be involved. I think it's really hard for leaders and startup folks, across the board, to do that.

Chantel: You know what's funny? That is a problem I've never had. Literally never.

T. Lane: Good for you. I can't. That's not me.

Chantel: Even from day one, that's ...

Heather: Yeah, yeah.

Chantel: Now, Heather has.

Heather: Yes, yes.

Chantel: She's grown so much in that.

Heather: Yeah.

Chantel: But not me. I'm like, you know how they say ... We talked about this. If someone else's 80% is good, just let them do it?

T. Lane: Yeah, hand it off.

Chantel: I'm like, if their 60% is good ...

Heather: Yeah, yeah.

T. Lane: I feel like a good 15%, and they're ready. They're ready.

Chantel: Yeah. If your just 1% is good, you got the job.

Heather: Yeah. I remember talking about that. I was the managing partner of one of our biggest offices at the time. Chantel was watching me, and she was like, "she's gonna break." Like, "You can't do it all, Heather." And I was like, "Oh, yes I can. I got it." And I'm a perfectionist, so I'm like, "Oh, yeah. I know how to do it best, so I'm just gonna do it."

T. Lane: Of course.

Heather: Right? So, I remember calling Chantel. It was one afternoon at 5:00, and I'm like crying, and she's like, "What is wrong?" Because I don't cry very often.

Chantel: No, she doesn't.

Heather: I never cry.

Chantel: She doesn't.

T. Lane: Something big's going down.

Heather: And I was like, "I can't do it." She's like, "Told ya." She was like, "All right. Tomorrow, call and get so and so over here to help you." And I will tell you, from that moment on, I learned to delegate.

T. Lane: Game changer.

Heather: That is one of the things that Chantel taught me. That was my biggest growth moment, is I learned to delegate. That in order for me to grow, I had to be able to give it away. And that's hard, as a startup.

Chantel: Well, I'm gonna put in the show notes, I'm literally like ... Even at our house, I delegate ridiculous amounts.

T. Lane: That's great.

Chantel: Like, to the point where I don't get my own vitamins for myself. I don't do my own hair. I have someone who blow dries my hair. Because that way, while she's blow drying my hair, I can be on emails doing stuff.

T. Lane: Sure.

Chantel: So, I really make every ounce of my time really efficient. And checklists. Making checklists for other people is really, really the key.

Heather: Yeah.

Chantel: What else have you had a hard time delegating?

T. Lane: Social media is such a big thing for me. Social media is hard. We always joke about this, but there's no real book on it. You know what I'm saying?

Chantel: Yeah.

T. Lane: There's no, "This has been the true test of how to do social media right for the last 100 years." It's all new. The church has been, what? 2,000 years, going strong? But when it comes to social media, Instagram is what? Five years old?

Chantel: Right.

T. Lane: And five years ago, nobody cared about it, but now it's our marketing platform. It's how we stay connected. It's how we do outreach. It's the front door. People don't come to our church unless they look at social media, so it has to be awesome. It has to really represent who we are. That's a really hard thing for me to hand off.

Chantel: So, you are taking on a lot of that social media.

T. Lane: I did in the beginning. It's ironic, because I'm not creative really in that world. I'm not a designer. But I know what I want it to look like, so it's hard for me to hand it off. I still drive the team crazy now. Because the problem is, they'll be doing things, engaging, but I can still watch them. So, that's still a challenge now. It'll be 8:00 P.M. and I'll be looking. I'll be like, "I don't really like that." It's hard for me.

Chantel: [crosstalk 00:05:07]. That's funny. That's actually the one thing I would say that I-

Heather: Yeah.

Chantel: There's only one piece that I've had a hard time getting rid of-

Heather: Yes.

Chantel: ... and that is our marketing.

T. Lane: It's hard.

Chantel: Because I'm like, "Oh, I don't like that as much. I think I can make that better." And then when you're watching it from the outside, it's kind of like Monday morning quarterback.

T. Lane: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Chantel: Like, "I could have done that better. I could have done this better." The way that I've done that Facebook and Instagram stuff better, is that we literally, we update a manual. So I can get with the marketing people and go, "Okay. We're gonna do ... " You can make a manual and a checklist-

T. Lane: That's cool.

Chantel: ... that says, "Okay ... " Let's take you, for example. Name some things that you post on social media.

T. Lane: Oh, goodness. I'll do little, "Hey, guys. Just want to remind you about Sunday." We'll do clips of the sermon. We'll do worship clips. We'll do scripture, encouragement, reminders, little looks at what it feels like. Our goal as a church is to give people a picture of what it feels like, which is hard to do. What is it? I forget who said-

Chantel: Do you right now have a manual that says, for that social media ... So like, it would look like this. Monday-

T. Lane: Yes.

Chantel: ... sermon.

T. Lane: We just-

Chantel: Sermon. Best clip of sermon one. Tuesday-

T. Lane: We just developed what we're calling the social media calendar. And the social media team ... It's been mostly [Weston 00:06:24] and I have done it, but we have a team now, and that's what they're going by. We're not doing posts on the fly. We're scheduling them. We're doing it. Making sure three or four people are looking at them. I just don't-

Chantel: We have a program. Heather, tell him about the program we found that was amazing.

T. Lane: Yeah, what is it? I don't know about this. I don't even know what they use, to be honest with you.

Heather: Well, it's called Agoropulse. So, A-G-O-R-O-P-U-L-S-E. We'll put that in the show notes.

T. Lane: Cool.

Heather: It is an amazing program. One, you can schedule your posts. So, we have like 20 Facebook ... No, we have 25 different accounts.

Chantel: Yeah, and we-

T. Lane: Wow.

Chantel: We had to cut it down, because we didn't want to pay the extra amount to do-

Heather: Yes. So, that includes Instagram, Twitter, Google, Facebook.

T. Lane: Wow.

Heather: So basically, you can push that content out to everything at one button. You can push, like say you were doing Monday. You were doing your highlights of the sermon. So, you can put it in there to push out to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, wherever you might be. And don't discount Google+. Remember, the number one place people go to search is Google.

T. Lane: That's a good point. Yeah.

Heather: So, if you are putting it on Google+, it is putting it ... Google's obviously going to boost their information.

T. Lane: Yeah. They're gonna see it. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Heather: Correct.

T. Lane: Cool.

Heather: So, you use that program. But you can see analytics on it. You can see how many people engaged in it. And the biggest game changer for us, is you can respond to all comments and private messages from this one place.

T. Lane: That's helpful.

Heather: You don't miss anything.

T. Lane: I think the team would be drooling. I'm gonna have to tell them about this. [crosstalk 00:07:45]-

Heather: Oh, and it's not-

Chantel: Yes, you have to get it. It's a game changer.

Heather: Oh, it's the best. The best. Yes.

T. Lane: That's awesome.

Heather: Yeah. So, finding programs like that are really what help take away some of these startup pains. But you kind of have to be able to experience the pain, to be able to appreciate this in the end, I would say.

T. Lane: I think so.

Heather: Yeah.

Chantel: Yeah. And with technology, I feel like there are some certain platforms that we've gotten, that really have helped it. I would say one of of our biggest mistakes that we did in the very beginning was our commission splits.

Heather: Yeah.

Chantel: Where we just kind of threw a number out there, where we didn't really think through, you know, this was the kind of commission splits. Talk about that, Heather.

Heather: Yeah. Well, one, you have no idea. You're brand new, right?

T. Lane: Yeah.

Heather: So you're like, "Oh, yeah. This sounds good." Basically, you look and see what your competitors are doing, and then you try to beat it. And so, basically what our commission split was at the very beginning, was everybody started out at a 50/50 split. Then, as they hit certain levels ... So, like now-

Chantel: But they were so low levels. Like they weren't high, that you could go up.

Heather: Yeah. So like, "Okay, so once you hit 15,000 in GCI, you're gonna bump up to 55%, and then once you hit 30,000 in GCI, you're gonna bump up to 60%." And then you could get up to this max of 70+, a 10% bonus kicker, if it was a personal spear deal. So what we realized was, we started looking after the first couple of years, and we were like, "We don't make any money in September through December." Because everybody's on an 80% split, and we're like, living on pork and beans.

T. Lane: Yeah.

Chantel: Well, and it would have been fine-

T. Lane: That's great.

Chantel: It would have been fine if we weren't giving them leads.

Heather: Right.

Chantel: Like right now, we have high splits if we don't give you leads, but it costs a lot of money to generate those leads. So we couldn't give that high a split, and we had a mass exodus. Because we changed-

Heather: Yeah, so we had to change it.

Chantel: We changed commission splits, and we literally lost 70% of our workforce.

T. Lane: That's tough so early.

Heather: Yes. That was a hard lesson we learned.

Chantel: So, that was a really hard lesson.

Heather: Yeah.

Chantel: So, had I done that ... If I was gonna do that again, what I would have done was grandfathered all those people in.

Heather: Right.

Chantel: And said, "You're gonna get to grandfather, but we are gonna be bringing in new people."

Heather: Yeah.

T. Lane: Nice.

Heather: And eventually they would have switched on their own, because they would have seen all these other cool things that we were doing. And, you know, we've evolved a lot. But we learned a lot as leaders, in that particular lesson, especially the grandfathering issue. Yeah.

Chantel: Anything, that you feel like you did something like that, where you kind of switched midway, or-

T. Lane: Sure. Oh, everything.

Chantel: Because obviously you're just ... As you grow, that's the thing. When you have a church of even 100, versus 300, the change that you have to make is huge.

T. Lane: Yeah. Our biggest challenge is we've never been in a rhythm. You spend so much time preparing a launch, and then you launch. And then you're 100, and then you're 200, and then you're 300, and then you're 600. So, you never feel like you settle in and say, "Okay, now we know how to do church of 600. Let's prepare for doing it for 800." We've never had that ability. By the time we finally get ready, we've changed something. I think that's our biggest challenge right now, is we're constantly changing. Every staff meeting, it's not, "Let's talk about this." It's, "We need to change, because we're already behind in this and this." One thing I think I did do wrong, was I put people in positions too quickly.

Chantel: Yes. I think everyone does. Give us an example of that. Give us a story.

T. Lane: I felt like, oh, there's some great people who have a great heart, who say, "I'll do whatever you need," but it's just not their gift.

Chantel: Right.

T. Lane: And scripture is clear. Like, "God gave you a gift. You're gonna be happier in that gift. You're gonna do more for the Kingdom. It's gonna line up to your passion." And people mean well, but it just doesn't work. It causes a lot of frustrations.

Chantel: But you had a whole, and you were like ... That is the biggest thing.

T. Lane: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Chantel: Because when you're in your startup, you're like, "Okay, I've got this hole. I've gotta fill it." You already know they're not a great fit.

T. Lane: Yes, it's so tempting. Yes.

Chantel: But then once they go in, you're like, "Oh, I really know they're not a good fit."

T. Lane: Yeah. But it's so tempting to just be like, "I really have this need. They're great people. Maybe they'll ... " And I think I convince myself, "Oh, they'll grow into it."

Chantel: Yeah, you convince. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

T. Lane: And I've grown into some things which was not my ability at first, but those are really hard conversations. If someone's a volunteer, if they're really passionate, really excited, to lovingly sit them down and essentially say, "You've done so much, but this isn't working." If they're getting paid, it's different. But they're not. They're serving. They're busting their butt, and they're not getting compensated. But still, to say, "This isn't working out."

Chantel: Yeah.

T. Lane: People say, "Oh, you can't fire a volunteer." We do, all the time. Like, I hate to say that, but if it's not ... It drags everything down. And they're happier elsewhere. If they stick it out and they get into a different role, they're more alive somewhere else.

Chantel: So, let's do that conversation. Let's just pretend. Let's give an example. What would Heather do? Like, let's give a position that she wasn't good at.

Heather: Like I'm leading music, but I am tone-deaf.

Chantel: No, let's do another one. That one's too easy.

T. Lane: [crosstalk 00:12:21]. That's rough.

Chantel: That's too easy. Let's do another example.

T. Lane: You make sure you send a video. If it's-

Chantel: Give us an example of what ... Pretend she's in a position that's not good. Give us an example of that.

T. Lane: Some folks are so detail-oriented. We had a great leader who was great with a few people, but she couldn't handle all the details. In the moment, she lost her people skills. She lost the smile. She wasn't smiling. She was so focused on-

Chantel: What position was she in?

T. Lane: She oversaw essentially first impressions. Guest services and all that stuff.

Chantel: Oh, yeah?

T. Lane: She's one of my best friends, and that was hard. She's a great friend of the family. She loves us to pieces. But it was a tough conversation, to essentially say, "Hey, we need to put you somewhere else." She's doing prayer now. She's happier. She's using her gifts. She does care. But it's hard to see someone in that role, and for me to have to say, "Hey, we love you, but you'll thrive somewhere else." That's hard.

Chantel: Yeah, "But you're not making a good impression, so ... "

T. Lane: It's ironic.

Chantel: Yeah.

T. Lane: It's ironic.

Heather: Yeah.

T. Lane: It's ironic. The music thing is hard.

Heather: Yeah. I mean, I-

T. Lane: Some people have never been loved enough by someone to say, "I love you, but you can't sing."

Chantel: Sing, yeah.

Heather: Yeah. Luckily-

T. Lane: Because the family's all into it.

Heather: Oh, yeah.

T. Lane: They're buying the stuff and clapping, and then it's ...

Heather: Oh, geez.

T. Lane: Unfortunately, sometimes it takes me or Daniel to say, "Hey. We love you, but no."

Chantel: Yeah. Well, let's talk about this example. I use this example all the time when I'm talking about business leadership. What I say is, if you want to be a church of 1,000, let's say, or 10,000, you have to act like, now-

T. Lane: Exactly. Yeah.

Chantel: ... the church of 1,000, 10,000. So, the example I always give is this. You know, I've been to churches. Let's say I'm visiting my mom, and we went to her church. The pastor would get up and be like, "All right, now. Today we want to pray for Billy Bob. Billy Bob is having surgery on Wednesday. Susie's having a baby. Everyone needs to pray for that." And they're literally reading down the list of prayer requests. Well, you have to act like, even if you're right now only 20 people in the church, and you could do that, that shouldn't be part of it. Because when you're 5,000, you can't read that list of everyone's prayer requests.

T. Lane: A lot of people don't understand that. There's this wall around 200 or 300, where average attendance of ... Sorry. Average attendance of about 200 people is a church where I can connect with everyone. Go to the hospital, births, funerals, deaths.

Chantel: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and that's where they cap.

T. Lane: And what happens is people come for that, and they get used to having me at their beck and call. Then you grow to 400, and they don't like it, so they leave. You're constantly shooting yourself in the foot. It's hard, but raising up other leaders is the answer to that. Investing it, handing it off. For me, health is really the biggest thing. It may have been [Grochelle 00:15:00]. He always talks about, essentially, "If you focus on growth, you're not gonna be healthy. But if ... " And I'm totally butchering his words right now. But, "If you focus on health, growth will come thrown in." You know what I mean?

Chantel: Yeah.

T. Lane: I just talked to a church planner yesterday, and they're all excited about growing, growing. And I said, "Well, what are you all doing to stay healthy?" And that, for most folks in the church world, is like, "Oh, that's fine. That'll come in." But I think that it needs to be a priority.

Chantel: I have a solution for ... Let's talk about that. For like weddings and funerals, right?

T. Lane: Yeah.

Chantel: That would be a good one. Let's say ... That's a perfect example. Everyone, in the very beginning, when it's 200 or less, they want the main pastor to do every wedding and every funeral. That's just expected.

T. Lane: Yeah.

Chantel: Right? But if you made a system in place where you said, "I do one wedding and funeral per month."

T. Lane: Yup. That's good.

Chantel: That actually would be scalable, whether you had 500, or whether you have 1,000.

T. Lane: Exactly.

Chantel: And so, that conversation could be like ... You know, someone coming to you and, "Can you do my wedding?" "Unfortunately, I'm booked for the next six months."

T. Lane: Sure.

Chantel: "I'm happy to do your wedding in September, but I can't do it right now, because I'm booked out until then. But I do have Billy Bob that can do it."

T. Lane: Yeah, and that allows ... Yup.

Chantel: So now you've created that system, so that it's scalable for ever.

T. Lane: Ever. And that allows Billy Bob to step up. Right?

Chantel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

T. Lane: Because some leaders, if they're there but the pastor's doing everything, the boss is doing everything, they get bored. They want to use their gift. They will leave. So the pastor doing everything, not only does he get burned out and exhausted and slow growth, but you drive away your best leaders. You're surrounded by people who are just yes men, who just can do a task, and can't lead people. So, the more you hand off, not only do you grow more. You stay healthier, but your leaders ... Leaders want to lead. Leaders don't want to sit and just sit and be, "Oh ... " You know, "Wipe that down. Brush that." They want to solve problems. They want to love on people. They want to create.

Heather: Yeah, and we've had that same problem here. People still call, and they only want Chantel to list their house.

T. Lane: Oh.

Chantel: Not very often. Not very often.

Heather: They do, yes.

T. Lane: That's so funny.

Heather: That is where we had to create a system. Especially at the beginning, they would call in and they were like, "Well, we"-

Chantel: This is what I told the guy. There's one guy who called me, and he was like, "I have a $3.5 million house, and I want you to list it." And this is what I said to him. I said, "I haven't sold a house in 12 years. You wouldn't want me to sell it. I mean, literally. You wouldn't want me to do it."

T. Lane: That's so funny.

Chantel: Now, I'm here if there's any problems. If there's any anything, I will be there, and I will make sure everything is perfect. But having me do it? You don't really want that.

Heather: Yeah.

Chantel: So let's talk about in those startup times, of the balance. Because this is one of the things that I think people have a mistake. They delegate, but there's a difference between delegating with a little bit of the string holding a little bit, versus, "Here you go," and there's no systems and no processes. And then what happens is, you delegate it. They completely drop the ball. Now you're pissed, and now you take it back.

T. Lane: And you're probably less inclined to delegate more things in the future.

Chantel: Again.

T. Lane: You're like, "I tried it. It didn't work. I'm never doing that again." And it was really your fault. You know?

Chantel: Yes. Talk about that.

T. Lane: I think it's a-

Chantel: Give an example of, have you done that before?

T. Lane: Oh, absolutely. I think it's a problem. It's not a problem to be solved. It's a tension to manage. Because some people want that, some people don't. It's people. You know. Y'all are in the people business. You know, ministry is people. It's people. It's loving on people, leading people. Some people can handle a lot. Some people need to be a little bit of rope. Some people can handle a few feet. I've definitely over-coached and caused some frustrations, but I've also done that.

T. Lane: We have a lot of young leaders. A lot of my staff are between, I think 22 and 25. Which, I love the return on that for the Kingdom, over the rest of their lives. I love investing in young leaders, but you definitely have to hold them closer. There's a lot of things I've assumed folks know how to do. Which, if you've never had a, quote, "Real nine to five, 40-hour-a-week or plus job," you don't know how to do. So, I've made some assumptions. Assuming, oh-

Chantel: Give us an example.

T. Lane: Oh, goodness. I'm big on a 24-hour response time on an email. On a call, email, anything. I expected ... You know, you shouldn't assume anything ... I assume if I ask you to do something I want it done immediately.

Chantel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Heather: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

T. Lane: So, for you-

Chantel: That's what my staff says. Anything I want, that it's like yesterday.

T. Lane: Yeah. I come from that culture where if the boss says, "Hey, I want you to do this ... " I don't have to say, "Hey, I need you to do this by 3:00." The expectation is, "Hey, I want you to do it now." But if on your priority list, you're like, "It didn't seem like that was a big deal. I'll get to it tomorrow," that can cause some tension.

Chantel: Right. Ooh.

T. Lane: I've definitely seen that. You know, for me, I'm a fiery dude. I'm meeting with a church planter next week, he and his wife. And Helen, my sweet wife, today was like, she's like, "Be nice. Don't steamroll them. Love them." And I'm like, "I will. I will." I just get passionate, and I just get excited. And in that, I don't want to knock anyone down.

Chantel: Well, I love that you said that. I would say our web department ... I get very frustrated with our web department, but it's my fault. Okay? One of the things I do is, I'll be like, "I need you to do this." And then I'm like, "Oh, and I need you to do this, and then I need you to do this, and then I need you to do this." And then they might do, in my mind ... Perfect example ... They're gonna do the fifth thing that I asked them to do-

T. Lane: Exactly.

Chantel: Because they like to do that, right?

T. Lane: Exactly. That's exactly what I'm talking about. Yeah.

Chantel: And in my mind, I'm like-

T. Lane: "I wanted that first."

Chantel: ... "Why are you doing number five first, when clearly, number one is what I [crosstalk 00:20:52]."

T. Lane: Yeah, "I wanted that." Yeah, "I wanted that now." Yeah.

Chantel: Yeah.

T. Lane: Exactly.

Chantel: Number one, our website is ... You know, there's a function on our website that's not working. Why do I even have to tell you that that would be number one?

T. Lane: We had that happen the other day. A link wasn't working. And for me, I was like, "Guys. This is huge. The link's gotta work." I keep quoting Grochelle. He's just my favorite. I think it's Grochelle. Maybe [crosstalk 00:21:11].

Chantel: Yes.

T. Lane: Essentially, don't say, "My people don't respond in 24 hours." I need to say, "I haven't led them to do that."

Chantel: Yes.

Heather: Right.

T. Lane: In the church order, I can't say the church isn't generous. I have to say, "I haven't led them to be generous." "No one shows up early." "I haven't led them to show up early." "This church doesn't care about the community." "I haven't led them to care about it." So, that's something. Because it's easy to sit in a staff meeting and complain, "Nobody responds. Nobody does this." So, I've had to put it back on us as leaders, and to look at the staff and say, "Hey, if there's a cultural thing on your team that you don't like, it's easy to just point fingers and be like, 'Oh, they're lazy.' But no, no, no. It's us. We haven't led them to do that. We haven't led them, and it's on us, to change that culture."

Chantel: One thing I still need to do. Now, we kind of have meetings with them in the morning, to say, "Okay, what is on your priority list?" And they'll do, like, one, two, three, four, five. Right? That this is the priority. But this is the piece that I'm not doing, that we still need to do. We kind of do it-

Heather: Well, yeah.

Chantel: It's not clear as mud. Meaning, we need to say, "All right. You're gonna do task A by this date."

T. Lane: Yeah. I don't do that. I need to.

Chantel: "By this date and time, this is done." And then, give bonuses or rewards. I mean, you can do like a five-dollar Starbucks card.

T. Lane: Oh, sure.

Chantel: Where you say, "Look, by the end of the week ... " One of the other things that's really, really good to do, which we've been talking about, is where you say, "Okay. If everyone on the team ... " So, let's say we have a team meeting. We go, "Okay. You've got this, and you've got that, and you've got this. You've got these five things that you've gotta get done this week. If everybody completes this on their checklist ... "

T. Lane: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Puts it on the team.

Chantel: "I'm taking you all out to Chipotle next Monday."

T. Lane: I like that. We're in this together. Not me versus you, but we're holding each other up. I like that.

Chantel: Yeah.

T. Lane: That's cool.

Heather: Well, I'm super competitive, so if you're on my team, I'll do your job for you.

T. Lane: Yeah, I'm gonna make sure you get it done.

Chantel: [crosstalk 00:22:57] better. I like that better. Actually, you do it on two teams. That's how we need to split it up.

Heather: Yeah, yeah. Because I'm winning.

Chantel: Oh my gosh, yes.

Heather: Yeah. I hate to tell you, but I'm winning. [crosstalk 00:23:06]-

T. Lane: Yeah, it's been decided.

Chantel: This is why I love Heather.

T. Lane: It doesn't matter what it is. Yeah.

Heather: There are many times I've come into our ... On Fridays we have management meetings, and we have commitments that we have to do each week. One of the things that helps hold us accountable is we go through them in a group, right? So, everyone sees if you don't hit your commitments. And I'm gonna tell you, there are many Friday nights I have stayed up til 1:00 in the morning finishing something. Because I'm telling you, when I go in tomorrow, I'm going to have given everything that I got, to not have to stand up and say, "No, I missed that." Or if I have to say I missed it, I'm gonna say, "I missed it, but I was up til 1:00 in the morning trying to hit it."

T. Lane: Yeah. Wow.

Chantel: You know, we need to go back to doing that. We used to do that for every week. So, every person had three commitments. They had to do it. And we would literally go around, and we'd say, "Did you hit your commitments? Yes or no. Did you hit them? Yes or no. Did you hit them? Yes or no."

T. Lane: Wow. Great accountability.

Chantel: But now, we do it in smaller groups.

Heather: Yeah, because we've grown-

Chantel: We've grown.

Heather: So, it's hard. Yeah. Again, a growth problem-

Chantel: But we need just one sheet. We need one sheet that just has, like a sheet-

T. Lane: [crosstalk 00:24:05]-

Heather: The green and red-

Chantel: It's green and red. And if you're on the red, why is it red?

Heather: Yeah.

T. Lane: Yeah. Let's talk about that. Yeah.

Chantel: Yeah.

Heather: Because I don't like being called out. I'll tell you that. I'm like, "Mm-hmm (negative). My stuff's gonna be done every week."

Chantel: But the thing you have to really watch with that is, one of the things that people were doing was they were making their commitments too weak, and they weren't stretching themselves.

Heather: Yeah.

Chantel: So, you have to also split up into small groups, and have to have people who go back and forth and go, "Are you stretching?"

T. Lane: Oh, totally.

Chantel: You know? Do you have people make goals and commitments for the week, or anything like that?

T. Lane: Yes and no. We're getting towards that. I feel like ... It's so funny, because I know so many ... And I mean, this is my prayer too. We want to grow. We want to see God move. Our mission is to reach people. We want to see that happen. But you don't realize ... I don't want to say this is a bad thing, but you can grow too fast.

Chantel: Yes.

T. Lane: We haven't done that, but I know it's possible. You can get top-heavy. For example, I always tell the team, "If we had 2,000 people show up Sunday, we couldn't handle them." We couldn't park them, we couldn't seat them, we couldn't watch their kids, we couldn't get them in groups. It would be a bad thing. And 1,000 people would say, "I tried that place. It was awful. You know, nobody knew me. I wasn't taken care of. Nobody knew my name." So, I think one of the best gifts God can give us is sustainable growth. I don't know what that means. I think that's different for every organization at a different time of it, but for us, we're at the point where we're growing. I think we can handle it. But at the same time, we're being stretched constantly.

Heather: Yeah. I'm glad you're gonna share that. Yeah.

Chantel: So, this is my favorite graph.

T. Lane: Yeah, let's do this.

Chantel: This is ... I saw a book, and I don't even remember what book it was, but it was talking about Circuit City. Circuit City grew so fast, and guess what? They literally went from here, and they crashed and burned.

T. Lane: They gone. He dead.

Chantel: But he said this is Best Buy. Right?

T. Lane: Oh, wow. There you go.

Chantel: Best Buy grew, then they went stagnant, and then they actually dropped. Then they grew, went stagnant, dropped.

T. Lane: So here, they're making those changes.

Chantel: Yes.

T. Lane: They're looking in the mirror and saying, "All right. What caused that?" Those are probably the best growth moments.

Chantel: This is the problem. People don't embrace that time, and you need it.

T. Lane: Yeah. It's a good thing.

Chantel: And so, you have to-

T. Lane: They probably panic.

Chantel: As a leader, you have to go ... Like, I tell people. When we're in this area, I'm like, "Well, thank you Jesus, because guess what? Where are we going from here?"

T. Lane: Yeah, sure. Yeah. Up.

Chantel: "We're going straight up again." But we need those times, and that's where we go through and just really go, "Okay, how do"-

T. Lane: That's good.

Heather: We reassess. Yeah.

Chantel: Yeah, reassess. Where's the fluff? Where do we need to get rid of this?

T. Lane: That's good.

Chantel: Where are we spending our time? Yeah.

Heather: It's during that time, that we've found some of our best systems and best processes.

T. Lane: Wow.

Heather: When you really feel like that was probably one of your hardest times ... You know. We look back on some of our years, and we're like, "You know, that might have been one of our hardest years, but we grew so much out of that." I'm gonna give an example. We had this transaction management program. And so we literally, at one point ... We have more agents now than we've ever had. We probably had six transaction coordinators. I'm not joking. Between listing coordinators and transaction coordinators, we probably had six people processing listings and transactions.

Chantel: Because the transaction system we were using was so clunky, and it took so much time and energy. I mean, you had to double entry all this stuff, so you needed more people.

Heather: Yeah, you needed more people, which we didn't know. You know, you don't know that. So then, we were kind of in one of our little-

Chantel: A slump.

Heather: Like, not ... Yeah, a slump. Or like we had leveled off, and we were kind of losing a little bit, and we were like, "Okay, what's going on? So, why do we have all these people? You know, this doesn't make quite enough sense." So I started researching programs, and what I realized was that our transaction software program was taking too long. On average, it was taking them over an hour to do a listing from start to paper file finish. We had paper files back then.

T. Lane: When is that?

Heather: And not only were we killing trees, but it was really ... Yes. They had literally a 12-page paper checklist that they went through, and it was taking over two hours to do a transaction. So, my goal was to find something that was paperless, that was automatic. That they didn't have to check things off on a piece of paper. It reminded them every day when they logged in. So, we found a program that was three times less than what we were paying, but more importantly, we were able to do a listing in less than 20 minutes, from start to finish, and we were able to do a transaction in less than an hour, and lose all the paper files.

T. Lane: That's great.

Heather: We were able to be more efficient.

Chantel: Well, let's talk about this. One of the things that I feel like has really, really helped us in some of these down times, or even just in general, that has really helped us ... Once a month, what we do is we have every person in the company focus on one area. For example, how we found this program that Heather was talking about. We said, "Okay, all of our leadership staff, we're focusing on inside sales. Okay? You have to spend one hour in inside sales, and figure out all of the problems." And then, we give gift cards. The first prize is $100, second place $75, third is $50, then $25. And we go, "You come up with ideas of how to make it better, faster, stronger."

T. Lane: Love it. That's cool.

Chantel: And where we get some of these ideas, because when you're ... You know how you just get so into the weeds day to day, you can't figure out ... When somebody else is looking on that department, they go, "Well, why are you doing that? That's inefficient as heck." Yeah.

T. Lane: "That's easy." Yeah.

Heather: We had a moving truck. This was a good example. Back in the day, we had a moving truck, and clients could come and rent out our moving truck. And so, the front desk admin would check it out to them. Literally, they did this checklist every time, that had all of this random stuff on there. Some of it was so old. We hadn't had 12 bungee cords in I don't know how long, but they still marked off that there was 12 bungee cords there.

T. Lane: Yup.

Heather: So one day I had to check it out, because they weren't there or something. I was filling in. And I'm going through this, and I'm like, "Why have you not said this was there?" They were like, "I don't know. We just check it off every time."

Chantel: They just get into that, like [crosstalk 00:30:09]-

T. Lane: Oh, a rhythm. Yeah, they're not even thinking about it. Yeah.

Chantel: Almost like [crosstalk 00:30:09] mode. So how could you do that for your church, where you would say, "Okay. We're all gonna focus on this."

T. Lane: That's a great question. I don't know.

Chantel: Because [crosstalk 00:30:21]-

T. Lane: See, I feel like-

Chantel: If you're in the band, it's hard to leave and go check on the kids.

T. Lane: If this is us right now, we're still doing this. We haven't had this yet. It will come, and when we do that, I think that's the time to look at kids, look at production. I think the idea of having fresh eyes in there is good. Having people who are in worship coming to kids, and vice versa, just to see things and say, "Yeah, we've always done it that way, but is that the most efficient? Is that the best way to do it?"

Chantel: You know what would be a good idea for you right now, is to do ... Like even now, I would suggest once a month, you doing a brainstorm meeting where you just say ... People who have been coming for a while, even people that can say, "I want you to pretend like you're a brand new person. What does that look like? Look at the kids program. How do we make that better?"

Heather: I have a suggestion, too.

T. Lane: Cool.

Heather: One thing that our pastor did ... Because we are a church that has grown a lot.

T. Lane: Awesome.

Heather: And we are getting to the next level.

Chantel: It's River Oak, is the church she goes to. Yeah.

Heather: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:31:19].

T. Lane: Oh, yeah, yeah. That's a big 'un.

Heather: Yes. So, one of the things that our pastor did a couple years ago, when he was trying to ... You know, he came out of it with a new vision statement, and kind of like clarity of where we were going ... Was he took some time off, and he went and flew to these different churches-

T. Lane: That's cool.

Heather: ... out of the area, and saw how did they check kids? Because he has a little one that's like five years old. How did they check them into the children's wing.

T. Lane: That's cool.

Heather: What does their children's wing look like? What does their worship look like?

T. Lane: That's smart.

Heather: We do that.

Chantel: Oh, yes.

Heather: We visit different businesses, to see what are other people doing that we can incorporate? So you could, every now and then, like maybe once a quarter, you visit another church.

T. Lane: Yeah. I think one of the reasons we've done well ... Obviously, all credit to God. All glory goes to Him. But I think on a practical note, people say, "Okay, what are some things you're doing differently?" So, we took a year to launch. We left the church we were at ... Which was great. Had a great time. They prayed for us, sent us out. They're incredible. But we took a year, and that's what we did. We probably visited 40 churches. We went to five or six launches of churches.

Chantel: Wow.

T. Lane: [crosstalk 00:32:15] it was their grand opening. It was hard for my team to do that, but I said, "I want you to worship, but I want you to be secret shopper also." And so, it was so great to have context. To say, "Okay ... " I mean, we looked at every church ... I don't even know what you call it. We used something called Planning Center. You can give, you can register for this. We looked at probably a dozen. We picked the best, in our opinion. Same with kids programming. Same with worship style. Same with ... We did that. Now, I think if you don't constantly do that-

Chantel: Once a quarter, yeah.

T. Lane: Yeah. It would have been stale.

Chantel: Once a quarter, you should be doing it.

Heather: Yeah.

T. Lane: Yeah, absolutely. But I think that's one of the reasons we launched well, is because we looked at, honestly 40 or so, and learned good, bad, and ugly.

Chantel: Yeah. What else would you say would be maybe a mistake that you made in the beginning for a startup, that you could give advice to people? You'd say, like, "This. Kind of in the startup phase, I wish I would have done X."

T. Lane: I think you really need to clarify your message. Donald Miller has a book called Story Brand. I recommend it to every church planner. I recommend it to everyone in business marketing. In my mind it's the best, because there's so much noise in marketing. I mean, we're constantly bombarded on social media, in ads, on TV. I think to be able to clearly say, "This is who we are. This is how we can help you," I think that's what everyone needs to do.

Chantel: Yeah.

T. Lane: It's easy for churches, and probably every organization in marketing. It's easy for a church to almost say, "This is why we're awesome." And it comes off as promote-y, it comes off as boastful, and that disengages people. I think if we can clearly say, "Hey, this is why we're here to help. This is what we can offer you and your family. This is what we want to do. This is how we want to help." I think if you can clearly say that. And also it makes you different, too.

Chantel: Yes.

Heather: Yeah.

T. Lane: Because, you know. We want to reach people who don't like church, who've been hurt by church, who are on the outside of church, who feel like, "I'm not welcome in church." They don't care about church. When we say, "A brand new church is opening," they don't care. They could not care less. If you never went to the gym, didn't care about the gym, weren't interested in the gym, and a gym opened up down the street, you don't care. That's nice, but if it's like, "There's a gym opening!" Cool? Right? I don't care.

Chantel: So, yeah. For us, some of our differences are that we do give $1,000 to the church of your choice when you buy or sell with us.

T. Lane: That's cool.

Chantel: Or refer someone to us. We also have a fire me guarantee, where we say, "You can rip up the contract."

T. Lane: Oh, right on. That's cool.

Chantel: "If at any time you're not happy, we want to wow you in your service." We have a guarantee where we'll sell your house in 90 days, or the commission is free. So, we're constantly going through and saying, "Here's why." We have a live agent from 8:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. every day-

T. Lane: Wow. Nice.

Chantel: ... so that you'll always have someone answering the phone. what are some of those differences for you, that you say, "Hey, here's why you need to try Ascent Church." Why are you different?

T. Lane: That's a great question. We really want to be authentic. A question you get when you're launching a church is do you want to reach unchurched people, meaning people on the fringe, or people who are Christians that are just looking for a church. I don't like that question. I don't like saying, "Okay, we're just for you, or we're just for you, or we're just trying to reach regent students, or we're just trying to reach empty nesters." We really do want to be a church for everyone.

T. Lane: I know it sounds crazy, but I think if you cast a wide net, I think you just see more success. But I want you to be able to bring a friend who's hated church their whole life, had a terrible experience, thinks it's a joke. I want them to come, and you learn something ... You say, "Oh, I liked that. I'm encouraged. I'm inspired. Never read that verse that way." You worship. And them also, never been to church before, say, "Okay, I'm coming back." I think that look of being outward-focused, of everyone knowing, "I can bring anyone, and they're not gonna be uncomfortable. Their kids are gonna be taken care of, and have a blast. They're gonna be respected." Even if they completely think that God is made up, they'll still have a good experience. That's where to start.

Chantel: And I think if you could have ... Like if you said, "Hey, let's all brainstorm. Let's come up with our three differences of why you should try Ascent Church," and very single week, said that in the pulpit?

T. Lane: That's good.

Chantel: So that everyone in the church ... Because this is the thing. It's like, you know, casting the vision of why we're here every week. If you can condense it into three things, like kind of have ... Like for us, we were like, "We have a live agent, 8:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.. You're never stuck in a long-term contract." You know?

T. Lane: Yeah.

Chantel: So, you just have those. And constantly putting that in, every single week, is so, so important.

Heather: And I think a lot of startups forget to create a vision statement and a mission statement. You [crosstalk 00:36:58]-

Chantel: Or they just do one that's like someone else did.

Heather: Right.

Chantel: It's not really a true-

Heather: Right.

T. Lane: It doesn't fit them.

Heather: But, you want to put that in front of your ... Like, our vision statement for our church is on our bulletin every Sunday. So, every-

T. Lane: That's cool.

Heather: It's on the wall, too. I know you guys aren't in a permanent location yet, but you will be.

T. Lane: Yeah. We have curtains.

Chantel: And what is the mission statement?

Heather: It's, "Leading others into a captivated relationship with God."

T. Lane: That's cool.

Heather: So, every day, creating a captivated relationship with God. That's on the wall when you walk in. It's on bulletin every single Sunday. It's not just something for the senior support team.

T. Lane: Sure. Absolutely.

Heather: It's, every member of the congregation is a buy-in to, "Why are we there?" I think that's important, and that's an easy way that you [crosstalk 00:37:40]-

T. Lane: Sure.

Chantel: And you want to make it easy, because it's like ... I know a church that said, "We want to create more and better followers of Christ." That's so simple.

Heather: Yeah, simple. It's real simple.

T. Lane: Boom.

Chantel: You want more of them, but you don't just want more of them. You want them better every single day.

T. Lane: Oh, yeah.

Chantel: And how we created ours. Ours is, "To glorify God by putting our clients' needs above our own."

T. Lane: Right on.

Chantel: And someone said to us they didn't really understand it. And so, I'm wondering if our vision statement is as clear as it needs to be, because someone who was super, super smart said that to me.

Heather: Right.

Chantel: They were like, "I'm gonna be honest with you. I don't understand your vision statement."

Heather: Yeah. Yeah.

T. Lane: [crosstalk 00:38:54].

Chantel: What it's supposed to mean is that ... Like, we don't do rentals. We have someone we refer them to, but we don't really make any money on rentals. So if we came out, and it was truly better for you to rent the house out then to sell, we're gonna tell you to rent it out. Even though we don't make a dollar from it, we're gonna tell you that, because that's our core value. But I don't know if people understand that from our vision statement.

T. Lane: Sure.

Chantel: Do you think that that's clear?

T. Lane: What is it again?

Chantel: It's, "To glorify God by putting our clients' needs above our own."

T. Lane: The way you explained it, it makes sense to me.

Chantel: But I almost have to explain it, for people to-

T. Lane: Is this person not someone of faith? Are they-

Chantel: No, they actually are.

T. Lane: They are? Okay.

Chantel: Yeah. And what he said is like, "Well, that just seems like a duh. Like, you would put my interests before your own."

T. Lane: And what you said about that church? For me, that's a duh, too. You know what I mean? Like, I'd say, "Of course you want to do that," but it's still a clear ... I think ours is too long.

Chantel: Okay, what is yours?

T. Lane: I think ours is [crosstalk 00:39:14]. So, we would say two things. If you were to ask me ... If you were a believer and you're saying, "What are you doing?" I would say, "We want to reach, equip, and impact others exactly where they are, as we rise to new life in Christ." Those three words, we love. Reach, equip, and impact. I mean, reach everyone. One in five adults in Hampton Roads is actively connected to a church. That's not good. That's terrible. We could do better than that.

Chantel: Yes.

T. Lane: When I say equip, we're passionate about building disciples. We don't want to just reach people. We don't want people just coming in and having a good time, and then being fired up and going. We want them to grow, and we want to give them something. Help them figure out their gift, help them use their gift. And when we say impact, we want to help the community. We don't want to be, "It's all about Ascent." We want to help the homeless, help the poor, help the military. We want to help.

T. Lane: Now, on Sunday I say ... We call this our story brand, which is from that book by Donald Miller. What we would say there is, we would say he gives you a three-sentence summary of your organization. You essentially define a problem, and then you say, "Here's how we can help you. And then, here's how your life is better as a result." That, I say every Sunday. As we say, "Life is hard. We want to help you explore faith in a fun and authentic atmosphere. We come alongside you to lift life to the fullest." That's what our website says. That's what our social says.

T. Lane: But we want to meet people where they are, and acknowledge, "Look. Life is hard. We know you have a lot going on. It's stressful. But we want to come alongside you, whatever that means, to help you where you're at. If it's with parenting, if it's to grow, if it's to use your gift. So, that's ours. I just think it's too complicated. I want a sentence that people-

Chantel: Well, simplify it. Yes.

Heather: Yeah.

T. Lane: ... that everyone knows.

Chantel: [crosstalk 00:40:38]. And we actually simplified ours. Ours used to be, "To glorify God by putting our clients' needs above our own, before, during, and after the transaction." We got rid of the "before, during, and after the transaction." But we also created a vision statement.

Heather: Right.

Chantel: Which, our vision statement is, "To be the only franchise that has a consistent experience, 100% of the time." And so, that every time you come, you have that really consistent, wow-ing experience.

Heather: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

T. Lane: I think it should be something everyone in the organization knows and can repeat.

Chantel: Yes, repeat.

Heather: Yeah.

T. Lane: And if you're in the elevator-

Chantel: Easily. If it takes a long time-

T. Lane: If you're in the elevator ... Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Chantel: If you can't do it like that-

T. Lane: No.

Chantel: ... it needs to be tweaked.

T. Lane: I think you're in the elevator, so, "What do y'all do?" Or, "What makes you different?" And you can just be like, "Blah." There it is.

Chantel: Yeah. Boom.

T. Lane: Easy, repeatable.

Chantel: Yes. And like for us, even ... We have an acronym that's called SOLD NOW, and it has seven differences of why we're different. That's just too much. You need three, and be done with it.

Heather: I was actually afraid she was gonna say, "Rattle them off, Heather."

Chantel: Do we have to?

T. Lane: I know.

Heather: It was in the commercial, but I can't remember it all.

T. Lane: I don't think my staff could tell me that.

Heather: And that's a problem.

T. Lane: At my next staff meeting at 5:00, if I bring out a $100 gift card to Chipotle and say, "Tell me our story brand."

Chantel: Let's do it.

T. Lane: I want to do it.

Chantel: Do it, and see.

T. Lane: Okay. I bet you one of them would maybe get it. Or maybe-

Chantel: But they have to do it perfect.

T. Lane: I don't think they would do it. And I'm not knocking them. I'm not saying they're not bought in. I'm saying it's too complicated.

Chantel: Yeah.

Heather: Yeah, too complicated. Yeah.

T. Lane: I think elevation says, "See what God can do through you."

Chantel: I mean, there you go.

T. Lane: Boom. Simple.

Chantel: But I don't think I like that, though.

T. Lane: Is it not clear for you?

Chantel: That's too big. Yeah.

T. Lane: Yup. It used to be ... I forget what it used to be. I think that's what it is now. It could have changed.

Chantel: That doesn't give me any clarity of what I need to do. The more and better followers of Christ, the reason why I like that one so much? Because one, I could reel it off like the top of my tongue. And two, every day it reminds me of, what am I trying to do? I want to make sure that message ... So, like if I'm preaching a sermon, I would want to make sure that I'm doing enough stuff in that message, that people who don't know Christ can take that step.

T. Lane: Yeah.

Chantel: But I also want to make sure that that message has enough stuff to make the people there better.

T. Lane: Exactly.

Chantel: Because a lot of preachers, especially in new church plants, it gets on my last nerve. And this is why I love T. Lane, because he doesn't.

T. Lane: Oh, goodness.

Chantel: No, but they focus so much on people who are not Christians.

Heather: Yeah.

T. Lane: Oh, yeah.

Chantel: And then the people who are Christians, that need to grow in their faith ... If they're coming every week, and they're not growing, then they go, "Why do I need to be here?" So that's important, too.

T. Lane: I think that's the hardest challenge for a preacher. Andy Stanley talks about that a lot.

Chantel: Yeah.

T. Lane: But he talks about, "You should be deep and wide," which is really hard. I think that's the hardest thing. That's kind of one of the filters I run it through, is, "Okay, is it funny? Is it relatable? If you'd never been to church before, does this make sense to you? Or are you gonna be like, 'They went way over my head.'" But then again, I think of people like you. I think of people who've ... I mean, we have people who have seminary degrees in the church. I'm looking at them. I'm like, "Are you gonna be challenged as well?" And that's-

Chantel: Yes. And I think you can. I think you can do it.

T. Lane: Well, that's what we try to do.

Chantel: You do it every week, so you've got it down.

T. Lane: It's tough. I try to. It's hard.

Chantel: You've got it down pat.

T. Lane: We want people to ... You know, be a place for everybody.

Chantel: All right. Well, tell people where they can find out more information about your church.

T. Lane: Oh, you can check us out on social media, of course. Ascent Church VA. It was Ascent Church 757, but we hated the numbers and we killed it. Ascent Church VA. A-S-C-E-N-T Church VA. Facebook and Instagram, we love to hang out, or our website is AscentChurch.net.

Chantel: Awesome. Well, thank you both so much for being on the show.

T. Lane: It was fun.

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