Kim and I are constantly on the lookout for other couples who honor and compliment each other to learn from and lead with. The irony is that as we seek out these couples who value their partnership, share in leadership, and respect each other in their words and actions, we actually find that they’re the most humble people around and are certainly not “tooting their own horn.” However, we didn’t have to look far to find something special in Todd and Julie Mullins.
They’re the Senior Pastors of Christ Fellowship in West Palm Beach, Florida. Todd and Julie took over the leadership from Todd’s parents, Tom and Donna Mullins, who began the church in their home with five families in attendance. Christ Fellowship currently has eight campuses throughout South Florida, plus online services, where more than 30,000 people attend each week.
Birds of a feather
I was drawn to Todd as we have such a similar background and upbringing. We are both sons of dads who were highly successful in ministry. Yet, in spite of their success, both of our dads intentionally built non-personality-centric ministries at a time when the mega church and mega pastor were making headlines. Each of our dads humbly built ministries intentionally centered around a mission, not a man. Todd has taken after his dad in this regard in that he has a humble servant’s heart. I always joke that I don’t feel like a good Christian around Todd & Julie because I have never heard either one say anything negative about anyone else…like ever…which is so unusual. They convict me in that area of my life. It’s so good and necessary to be influenced by leaders who challenge you to strive for more Christ-likeness.
A new kind of couple
Todd and Julie have developed a new model of husband and wife leadership. This incredible team exemplifies maximizing separate gifts. They are a husband and wife who do amazing ministry combined as a whole, not just two individuals. In the same way that Kim brings discernment, intercession, pause, and hospitality into our ministry, I am fully driven to outcomes. We desperately need each other and our separate, unique gifts to advance our ministry together.
The SpiderMan principle
We’ve all heard, “With great power comes great responsibility.” However, the Mullins operate under the 2.0 version of that principle: “Where much is given, more is required.” Todd’s dad, Tom, built a large church, and it got even bigger with Todd building on that foundation. Standing on his dad’s shoulders, Todd and Julie have recognized that the four walls of a church aren’t the boundaries of their calling. They aren’t just called to pastor a church or reach their city. Standing on the foundation the church provides, they’re called to reach their entire region.
Hungry for more
This couple has vast integrity. I’m not talking about moral uprightness–of course they live beyond reproach. I’m referring to their ability to take inventory of their gifts and figure out how to minister in fullness and wholeness, building capacity so that together they can multiply their strengths and do more. Todd and Julie have set the bar high simply by being self-aware and activators.
One of the things Kim and I love most about Todd and Julie is they probably don’t even realize just how truly amazing and inspiring they are to so many. They’re so humble with huge hearts, big dreams, and are both brave enough to do something about it.
We’ve seen them embrace personal hardship and pain in their own situation and turn it into something beautiful and productive. On the outside they seem like a perfect couple with a perfect life. However, having walked with them and knowing that–like everyone else– they have had some real struggles and unbelievable personal challenges handed to them, we’ve watched them allow these challenges to grow their faith instead of crippling them or hindering their personal or public ministry.
Probably most impressive is the way Todd and Julie lead their ministry with extreme generosity. Their church does huge things to support the community without putting their name on it. They’d be embarrassed if I shared the degree to which they’ve partnered with city movements, even opening up their staff meeting to make it a staff meeting for the churches in their local community. Truly few people I know in leadership circles exhibit their level of generosity and humility. They are Kingdom minded with the resources they’ve been given.
I pray Todd-and-Julie-Mullins sized favor and influence for the many young couples Kim and I know and love who are starting their journey together in ministry.