All posts tagged: alex mclean

Every few years I end up re-inventing myself. I love learning and trying new things. I love to dream up and build new things. I’m blessed that I’m in an organization where I can do just that.

When I joined Rancho about six years ago, I answered a phone call that came out of nowhere. The week before I had resigned my position at a church I helped to build, but a church that was quickly unraveling (that’s a story that I need to tell someday). Jen and I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we did know that God was opening doors for a new season of ministry with Rancho.

I came on as a pastor to help at Rancho’s school, Rancho Christian. It was during this time that I was introduced to Rancho and I made some deep and lasting relationships with many staff members. I spent a few years there, and by God’s grace, some great people, and a lot of work, the school grew – new leadership was installed and I was able to enter another new season.

This time I worked with the Worship Department at the church. During that time I was able to hire and work with some amazing people. I also said goodbye to some incredible people, thankfully – I’m able to still call them friends and still stay connected to them to this day. One person that I was able to help bring to Rancho was a friend I met named Tim Manigault. He quickly became the obvious choice to take our Worship Department to the next level. And so another chance to reinvent came my way.

I’ve always loved culture and people and the church – so my next journey was overseeing “Connecting” at Rancho, which basically meant anything that connected the church with people: look & feel, design, social media, online ministry, welcome ministries, small groups, etc. Just as I was getting my feet wet in this new role, my friend who was also my boss entered a new phase of life and ministry himself, which left a void at Rancho… so guess what – yes, another new season.

Next I joined a new team of three as the Executive Pastors of our church. As a team, we would oversee and lead our staff. It was a new idea – so I was on board. Together we began dreaming what Rancho could be as we headed into a building phase, doubling our campus size. Then, just a few months after this transition came the opportunity, once again to reinvent. And that brings us to this past weekend.

Last weekend, I officially took on the role of Executive Pastor of our Murrieta Campus. We’ve been going to that campus since it launched and have watched it grow over the years. Now we can really put some serious energy into the campus and work with our great friends, the Beavers, and see what God has planned for Rancho Murrieta.

I’m so thankful to be able to do what I love as a job. I’m thankful for a wife who is supportive and a family ready to take risks with me. And I’m thankful for the hundreds of people who call Rancho Murrieta home and looking forward to serving with them as we live out the love and life of Christ in this community.

Check out Rancho Murrieta on Facebook here. And come join us any Sunday at Murrieta Mesa High School at 10:00am – we’d love to have you and make sure you come by and say “hi” – I’d love to meet you!

P.S. here’s some of the fun stuff we do at Rancho Murrieta:


Over the past couple years I’ve had quite a shift in my view of the church, family, and how they intersect. I always knew I believed something, I just couldn’t quite express it – although I lived it out. From the beginning I’ve always included my wife. She was by my side as a youth pastor – she helped plan, organize, teach, etc – she filled in the gaps that I naturally had. Then, as a church planter I remember my family always being around. My wife would hang out and talk with people as we tore down & loaded the trailer full of gear. My son would play the drums as we were literally taking them down. My daughter would run around with other kids whose parents were working hard. This was our joy. Some days were harder than others, but it is what energized us and gave us purpose.

Then, I remember a distinct shift. That church & community that was built on families serving and living life together began to settle. We got a building, we opened offices, and we began “normalizing”. Well, I didn’t. I still brought my family early. I still let my son come and hang out at every opportunity. And they still loved it. But somewhere along the way, as a church, we lost what we once had. We had fewer opportunities for families to serve together, and more and more we said without saying, “not welcome”. It was then that I knew things had to change for our family.

Fast forward a few years and we’ve come to realize that we may never experience church in the way that we once did; those were special times.  I still try and include my family when I can, but it’s just not the same. We are blessed to be a part of a church that believes how special and sacred family is. We are doing what we can to show our kids that “church” is more than a weekly gathering – and even that weekly gathering can be a great connecting point for our family to be with other families.

I write all this with these following articles in mind – articles that I’ve read over the past week that kind of prompted this post. A little heartbreaking, but this inside look from a pastor’s wife is so raw and real. Walking with my friend Rich as he and his family have been seeking to follow God’s lead and serve the local church has been interesting to say the least. (by the way, neither has anything to do with the other).

Take a few minutes and read through them. Then think through some questions:

How does your family view “church”? Is it a positive experience? How has the church failed families? What could we do differently to pour into families?

This week and weekend at Rancho Community were insane. Flat out insane.

  • Our school is growing in the middle of a recession.
  • Our first inaugural High School football team is 3-0.
  • I get to help brand this school and it’s teams – we’re having so much fun!
  • Our church has two very healthy campuses and a church plant and I get to help dream of more!
  • I get to oversee the worship teams at Rancho and I’ve watched them grow and develop so much over the past year, and watched our church engage like never before.
  • I get to help develop designs (series art, stage design, spirit wear, etc.), communication tools (facebook, twitter, websites, working with local press, etc.), and growth & organization tools to help Rancho grow.

I also get the opportunity to work with some crazy talented, and humble people, people like (in no particular order):

  • Scott Treadway, our lead pastor. Well, of course I’m going to put him first – he might read this! And anything I say will sound like I’m placating, but this guy’s the real deal – great communicator, great leader. (and sometimes he tweets).
  • Mike Johnson, our school’s superintendent – sounds all important, but he’s really a down-to-earth guy and a great friend.
  • Julianna Morlet, one of our worship leaders – who also happens to be a pretty dang talented blogger too.
  • Jeff Johnson, another one of our worship leaders – the guy who puts it all together.
  • Brian Howley, our Tech Arts Director – the guy who, with his team makes it all happen.
  • Ryan Beaver, one of my best friends who just so happens to be leading things over at our Murrieta Campus. (oh yeah, he doesn’t really tweet, or have a blog… yet.)
  • Chris Stout, another great friend & our Tech support in Murrieta – one of the nicest, hard-working guys I’ve ever met.
  • Marcy Rossi. Her ‘official’ title is ‘Executive Assistant’, but she builds, designs, imagines, and actually follows through. Let’s just say she built the 4D stage. by. her. self.
  • Don Hallworth, our Executive Pastor of Ministries – this guy’s got more wisdom in his pinky than most people do in their entire body.
  • Chad Fergerstrom, another one of our worship leaders – this guy brings order to chaos and makes Murrieta smooth every week.
  • Robert Powell, another worship leader – I’ve made it no secret, my favorite worship leader, of all time. Don’t be afraid of the beard! Seriously, a gifted guy.
  • Casey Riley, IT Director – this guy could probably do anything, and he’s here making things happen all over the place – crazy talented.
  • And some of our amazing worship team members: Travis, Emily, Tyson, Justin, Jules, Brian, Jason, Ashley, Eric, Mikey, Joe, Crystal-Lee, Madison, Andrew.
  • And of of course our tech team (many of whom I’ve yet to get to know!): Darrin, Randy, Michael, Dylan, John L, John J, Steven, Hanyu, Paul, Gary, Lance, Jeff, Adam & Matt.
  • Oh yeah and this weekend we had the illustrious Rich Kirkpatrick on keys in Murrieta!

There’s a lot more people who make our organization go-round, including tons of volunteers who serve faithfully every weekend. This weekend was just a good reminder of what a privilege it is to be a part of something like Rancho.

How was your weekend?

This is the series art for Rancho Community Church’s Fall 2011 series, “4D: Seeing the Bigger Picture”. Here’s the story.

We read the book, “The Big Idea”, as a staff a few months ago. Unfortunately, we never finished it – we just felt is wasn’t quite a good fit for our church. What we did take away from it was the general idea that our whole church could embrace a teaching series and teach through it together. So we decided to do that with our fall series.

4D: Seeing the Bigger Picture came from a big brainstorm meeting with our teaching pastors, worship leaders, and creative types. The series will focus on Christian worldview, it’s also our lead into church membership. The basic idea is that there are truths from the Bible that show us the ‘bigger picture’ – things like: how God sees us, how we see God, how we see others, how we see church, how we see history, and how we see eternity. It’s a great series to teach basics about Christianity and the Gospel. And lastly, these verses from Ephesians kind of wrap it up:

 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Just as a little history context – I’ve been at Rancho for about three years, and I started doing series graphics from the get go. Since then we’ve started getting into a rhythm of series art for promotion, utilizing the arts more and more, and being creative in our presentation. This series features (hopefully):

  • Screen graphics (for both campuses, and for our Murrieta Campus the screen is actually the stage backdrop)
  • Invite cards
  • Bulletin shells
  • Rancho Kidz take home sheets
I also am always trying to use the creative talent that is in our church (I KNOW you’re out there!). This time I asked a buddy who goes to Rancho and is a graphic designer if he would be interested in helping. Jason DeArmond (follow him on Twitter here) took some white board drawings and a lot of descriptive emails and created the conceptual art – he did a fantastic job! All I had to do was put some skin on the art and we were good to go. I love being able to collaborate with artists and see God using the gifts and talents of people in the church.
A follow up post on this will show what we did with the stage. I’m excited about that.


Today Leadership Network put on an online conference called “Staff Infection“. I won’t waste time describing much other than church leaders from all over the US gave short talks on leadership, staff relations, etc. If you missed it, I highly recommend going and getting the download. Here’s some of my favorite quotes (my version of quotes, from Twitter):

pull the lids off of your teams! #staffinfection

We are so comfortable ‘satus quo’. We don’t really want to change. We like to be ‘nice’. We neuter our teams. #staffinfection

does our staff seem like a red light, yellow light, or green light? #staffinfection

personality trumps skill #staffinfection

RUN your team so that the best people LOVE it #staffinfection

leadership development is like a crockpot #staffinfection

invest 2x’s as much into your staff as you expect to get out of them #staffinfection

#leadership: it beats working for a living #staffinfection (note the sarcasm)

be a leader of high influence and low control #staffinfection

RT @action_djackson: Trust can’t be given: it is the by-product of a process. #staffinfection

TRUST: No surprises. Respect for one another. Honesty.

RT @josephhoran: “Your connection to God is the biggest factor in how effective you’re leadership will be.” @tammymelchien#staffinfection

RT @joshy79: RT @jpnbren: You can teach people all you know, but you are going to reproduce who you are! #staffinfection

If you’re not a twitterer, all those links are going to look like jibberish. A quick intro to Twitter: the “@” symbol means that’s a person’s Twitter name or handle. The “RT” is a “retweet”, which simply means, I “retweeted” or repeated what another person tweeted. The “#”, or “hashtag” is a way of creating a searchable category within the Twitter stream. So… if you click on any of those #staffinfection links, you’ll not only see my tweets, but you’ll see EVERYONE’S tweets who used that hashtag. Pretty cool.

Anyway, lot’s to chew on up there & probably some posts coming up. Did you attend? Any of those quotes hit you?