The Ekkelsian House isn’t your ordinary church. Senior Pastor Bill Shea has built a robust community rooted in the value of interpersonal relationships. And it doesn’t end there. Read more about the great things Bill is doing and his vision ahead.
Bill, tell us a bit about The Ekklesian House.
The Ekklesian House is a church that is all about fellowship. We believe that the most important function of a church is to create and foster a community of believers that is going through life and growing together. Because of this we place an emphasis on spending time with each other when we meet for services and the bulk of our teachings are delivered via our podcast, The Berean Manifesto. In the future we have a vision to open a facility that hosts a Christian/Family Friendly movie theater, a 24/hr coffee shop featuring low key live music, and a live music venue dedicated to Christian artists. More about The Ekklesian House can be found at our website www.ekklesianhouse.com
What gave you the idea for The Ekklesian House and how did it start?
Over a decade ago I became disillusioned with the modern church as a whole. As an introvert it’s a challenge for me to connect with people and if they’re being fake then it’s a total turn off. What I found in most churches is that instead of the focus being on connecting with, encouraging, and building people up (despite their claims) the focus is on pomp, circumstance, and following a set program. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the people working in the church are intentionally being fake, I don’t believe that. I believe that churches and pastors have a lot of pressures that create a bureaucracy and breeds ingenuity. One day I was driving down the highway and I saw a vacant movie theater. My mind began to race with all the ways that I could address these problems. First step being to start my own church dedicated to our members over the status quo of the modern church.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about leading The Ekklesian House is the feeling of peace and satisfaction that I get from doing what I’m supposed to be doing. All through high school while everyone else was talking about going to college and what majors they were taking I had nothing to contribute to the conversation. The guidance counselors would ask what we wanted to do with our lives and I was a complete blank. All I knew was that I wanted to do something for God. Almost every job that I’ve had except for being a youth pastor for a short time and now as a pastor I’ve felt completely unsatisfied and like I was spinning my wheels bidding time until the real work would start.
What are your keys to making yourself productive?
1. Take one day a week to sleep in and rest from everything except the most basic of needs. This is the most important thing you can do to boost your productivity the rest of the week. Don’t mow the lawn, don’t deep clean the house, don’t check your e-mail. Just relax, you may have to do a load of dishes so that you can eat, and you may have to cook something, but keep it basic and mainly relax. It was hard at first to disconnect my mind from the worry of work and bills and everything else, but the rewards far outweighed the struggle.
2. Get up early enough on a daily basis to enjoy a few minutes of rest and quiet before you leave the house. Drink a cup of coffee, read a few pages of a book you enjoy. Don’t think about work, bills, disagreements with others, or anything else that gets your blood pressure up.
3. Prioritize what you need to get done so it’s clear what tasks are important versus tasks that are just “noisier” than others.
4. Block off at least an hour at a time to focus on a work task and only work on that task. During that block of time e-mail and phone calls don’t rank high enough of a priority to deserve your attention.
5. Your loved ones, time with them, and not creating disharmony between you are more important than any overtime pay, bonus, or atta boy you will ever receive at work.
Tell us one long-term goal in your career.
I see the work of people like Billy Graham with the thousands that he’s led to the Lord and the legacy that he’s created and I would love something similar for my life, but ultimately my goal is simply to inspire a passion for Christ. If I can do that for just a few then I’m good. Heck Jesus only had 12 disciples and they changed the world.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?
There’s a Proverb that reads, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to be gracious. No matter what you think of someone, how you’re feeling, or what you’re going through being gracious will open more doors and engender more favor for you than you could ever effect under your own strength.
What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?
I would have to say that my advice to anyone aspiring to succeed is to give up the notion. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The problem with “success” is that it’s an illusion akin to putting blinders on a horse. You can never prosper if you run after one thing to the exclusion of all others. You may find success in a goal, but at what cost? If you gain the whole world and lose everything that once meant the world to you, are you better for it?
What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I’m a big fan of science fiction. So outside of work I like to read it, watch it, and imagine new story lines of established brands.
Name a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend to readers.
Of all the books I’ve read if I had to narrow it down to just a few to recommend it would have to be:
1. Maximized Manhood by Edwin Louis Cole
2. ReCreate by Ron Luce
3. Why Men Hate Going To Church (Completely Revised & Updated) by David Murrow