Will Reed: A Pastor with Productivity-Plus
Learn rich leadership lessons from this senior pastor who also finds time to serve on several community boards and as the executive director of a thriving nonprofit.
He began college with aspirations of becoming an attorney. Will Reed’s life calling changed dramatically one Palm Sunday, following a sermon in his hometown in Lake Jackson, Tx. He has since used his B.A. from Southwestern University, and Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Perkins to serve as a licensed professional counselor, youth director, teacher/trainer, founding pastor of Christ Church in Sugar Land, and now as Senior Pastor of the Servants of Christ United Methodist Parish in Central Houston. The parish integrates several campuses and ministries and collaborative partners in the I-45 South/Loop 610 area of Houston.
Most people would stop there, but Will applies his high energy and passion for life-long learning to a variety of additional leadership roles. “Some might credit my productivity to ADHD tendencies,” he jokes, “but I believe we can all accomplish great things when we use our time and financial resources wisely.”
In addition to pastoral leadership, Will serves as Director and Chair of the Board of the Mision Milby Community Development Corporation and as founder and CEO of Technology For All (TFA), an organization dedicated to bringing computer access and training to the underserved population across America. “Since its inception in 1997, Technology For All has created 180 community technology centers in the United States through partnerships with community-serving organizations such as the YMCA,” he explains. Technology for All actually began as the brainchild of a lay leader of Christ Church who saw a need. “This was a prime example of a transformational lay leader bringing Christ’s love through his vocation,” says Will. “He pulled me aside to talk about how this perfectly good equipment being replaced by corporations could be repurposed to make a difference – and that is exactly how we got started.”
Will’s favorite aspect of juggling multiple roles is seeing results and hearing stories of lives that are being impacted at church or one of the targeted computer centers. “It melted my heart, for example, to hear from Russell this week,” says Will. “Having been struggling with several serious addictions and disconnected from his family as a result, Russell came to get a meal and use the Parish computer lab months ago, and soon began attending worship and finding a supportive community. He sent me a message that, thanks to our church and Tuesday/Thursday programs for the homeless he was able to recommit his life to God, reconnect to his mother on Facebook and get a job back home. This story shows how different aspects of our church ministries became part of his journey back to society, and these kinds of stories keep me energized to work long hours to do what it takes.”
“With multiple offices and duties, I’d say another key leadership lesson in my world is to surround yourself with talented, hardworking, trustworthy people who are passionate about the same vision,” he adds. “I am able to be involved in a lot of areas because I have great people doing great things with or without me.”
His leadership lessons also include being a lifelong learner. Will recently attended the “Change the World” church conference and just finished an insightful book he recommends entitled, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team.
Perhaps his most critical leadership lesson has been to maintain life balance. “I have learned the hard way when my life was out of balance because that led to divorce and severe depression. Now, however, I get up early to refuel and enjoy some quiet time and I admittedly have to tell myself often to leave at the end of the day, because I do want to have downtime and family time in my life.”
The ultimate multi-tasker gets his drive from people. Adds Will, “When I got a Facebook post from another young man telling me he had just been the first person in his family to vote, and knowing he is also the first person in his family to attend college – I am just all the more pumped to do anything we can do to turn the statistics around for these kids in a area where only 34% of the adults have a high school diploma. When you see 200 homeless folks show up at Servants of Christ each week or dozens of families using the computers at Mision Milby, you will never take the internet for granted again. What a blessing to help them be able to get connected with others in physical -- and electronic communities.”