Front Row Leadership: A Conversation with Pastor Rob Ketterling


Recently, we had the chance to sit down with our Lead Pastor, Rob Ketterling to discuss his new book Front Row Leadership. We got to hear about Pastor Rob's personal leadership journey from the back row to the front row. 

Every one of your sermons, leadership talks, books, etc. all seem to come from an “Aha!” or genesis moment, so was there a moment that launched what has now become Front Row Leadership?

Pastor Rob: I used to be a back row leader. Something in me wanted to get to the front, but I had experiences where I felt pushed to the back. When I felt like I was pushed to the back, my response was, “If you’re going to push me back, then I am coming back with a vengeance.” There were a couple scenarios that I remember where people labeled me as rebellious. I was trying to bring solutions, but I didn’t do it with gentleness and love, so it wasn’t received properly. 

Instead of realizing I need to do this in a more creative way, I just hid in the back row. I was always the type of person that would work twice as hard to prove people wrong when they told me I couldn’t do something. I still want to get things done, but I want to get things done in obedience. The “aha” moment was go to the front row, bring your suggestions in humility and love, and bring the solutions. I can tell you it’s been a journey, and it’s still going on even now.

So what would you say are some values that a Front Row Leader carries with them?

Pastor Rob: Humility is a value every leader must have. You need to be able to point out problems and bring solutions, while still supporting your leaders and serving under their authority.

Another is creativity. You need to be able to think outside of the box. If you are trying to solve a problem, and people haven’t been able to solve it, everyone else has likely tried solving it from within the box. They’re only doing What’s always been done, or maybe they don’t have the courage to get outside of the box. A Front Row Leader has creative solutions, and brings them in humility.

Patience has to be a value. The distance from the back row to the front row is shorter than we realize, but the distance from the front row to change is ten times further than you think it would be. Getting there is hard, and getting the change requires patience. If you thought criticizing from the back row, away from leaders was difficult— it’s even more difficult when you get to the front row, and you have proximity to them! Not only do you see the obvious flaws, but you start to see hidden flaws as well. You can’t get bitter, and you can’t fall deeper into criticism. You have to be even more committed to the calling that brought you to the front row.

The last one would be to bring people with you. You can have solutions, be humble, be creative, and have patience, but if you can’t get people to come along with you for the journey, you will never get the change that you are hoping for.

Some people may feel like they don’t have the potential to be a Front Row Leader. Do you think that an everyday, average person can be a front-row leader?

Pastor Rob: Absolutely. I believe that everyone can be a Front Row Leader. A Front Row Leader is an attitude AND a mindset. A Front Row mindset is bringing solutions. It’s identifying problems and understanding that if you’re identifying a problem, then there must be a solution. 

The story of the boy who gave his lunch to the disciples and Jesus was a leader. He brought a solution. Guess what? His little lunch was the solution of the day. So can a little boy who brings his lunch can be a Front Row Leader? Yes! A Front Row Leader brings solutions, even as simple as bringing a lunch. Everyone can bring a solution, and everyone can be a Front Row Leader. 

You can lead your peers and help change the attitude of your team to have that solution mindset. You can lead the team that reports to you to bring solutions up to you so that you can bring solutions up to the people that you report to. Front Row Leadership is up, over, down. Everyone can be a Front Row Leader. 

@@Everyone can bring a solution, and everyone can be a Front Row Leader.@@

To listen to the full interview with Pastor Rob, you can check it out, right here!