Andy Wood & Mike Hickerson

How to Lead with Humility and Courage in Different Seasons of Church Planting

About The Episode

“The thing I’m after is an exemplary life.” Meet Andy Wood, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church. In an open and honest interview, Andy encourages and challenges church planters to lead with humility and courage in the various seasons of church planting. With insights into leading alongside a spouse, filling big shoes, and the general identity challenges of pastoring, lean in today for wisdom in your church-planting leadership. 

Welcome to Episode 019 of The Unfair Advantage Podcast with Mike Hickerson and Andy Wood.

Insights From Mike & Andy


  • Hang on to your calling. You likely won’t know all the difficulties that lie ahead. God, in His grace, calls you to one step at a time.
  • Enjoy the journey. Lean into the moments you are currently in. Slow down to see the miracles God is doing.


  • General principles
    • Healthy things grow 
    • Containers that can limit the growth of a healthy church
      • Space
      • Parking
      • Ministry environments
      • A “doer” in a “leader” role
    • Build out the ideal org chart, with names
      • Structure in a way where doers are not in leader roles.


  • Hidden practices or cracks will only grow.
  • Name it–allow for accountability by bringing your faults into the light.
  • The thing you should be after is an exemplary life.


  • Don’t put pressure on your spouse to be something they aren’t.
  • Who are you? Who is your spouse? Know how God has wired you.
  • Know what season you’re in as a couple. This affects the time and season of your ministry investment. Be intentional with your schedule.


  • What is your driving force that gives you endurance? Let it be your accountability before God.
  • Talk to God when things are difficult. Tell Him. 
  • Surrender to God in the moments when you feel you have to be in control. 
  • Keep obeying God and spending time in His presence.


    • It’s not about the shoes. It’s about God’s timing, will, and plan. Know your identity in Christ.
    • Learn to celebrate the foundation of what has led to this next chapter. 
    • Joshua would’ve never gotten to the Jordan without Moses. But Israel would never get across the Jordan with Moses. In humility, walk in courage. 
    • Two core questions:
      • Is God the Lord of the harvest?
      • Is it God’s church?
  • Stay on the Lord’s agenda for His church.

Episode Links

Do ministry together! Three gatherings, nine planters, one cohesive journey. Check out the Ascent Leader Church Planter Cohorts. Get more information today at:

Who Are Andy Wood & Mike Hickerson?

Andy Wood is the Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church. Andy and his wife Stacie are answering God’s call to serve at Saddleback after over a decade of church planting. The Wood’s started South Bay Church in 2009 with two other families. South Bay Church officially changed their name to Echo.Church in January of 2018. Echo.Church has become one of the fastest growing churches in the most unchurched area of the United States and is now reaching over 2,300 people in regular attendance in three locations across Silicon Valley.

Andy’s passion is to create environments that engage the unchurched people of the Bay Area. Along with leading the church, Andy enjoys investing time in helping church planters and church leaders think more innovatively and strategically to reach people in the most unreached areas of North America. Andy and Stacie have three kids, Caedmon, Sammy, and Karis. 

Mike Hickerson is the Lead Pastor of Mission Church in Ventura, CA. Mike describes himself as a church planter, lucky husband, outnumbered dad of three daughters, Oklahoma Sooner fan, coffee addict, and a struggling surfer.


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Quotes From Episode

“I never want to be the bottleneck to what God is going to do through the church.”

“What you don’t deal with in your 20s and 30s catches up to you in your 40s and 50s.”

“The cracks become canyons under the pressure of church planting.”

“The thing I’m after is an exemplary life.” 

“God put sons and daughters together in His family to serve alongside one another.”

Our goal with the Ascent Leader and our church planting cohorts is to help church planters win early and finish strong. We want to resource you so that you can avoid common pitfalls and simple mistakes. Being involved in a community of leaders like our church planting cohorts is one of the best ways to wrestle through these questions. We’re here to help you, if we can be of assistance to you please feel free to reach out.

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