Clay Scroggins has been part of the North Point family since 1998 when he started attending and volunteering as a high school small group leader. He went on to work in student ministry, and, for the last decade, he has served as Campus Pastor at three of NPM’s eight Atlanta-area locations.
Clay currently leads the Buckhead Church campus, located in the heart of Atlanta. We caught up with him to talk about the tough conversations he’s helping his congregation navigate and how his team is "bumping into" new folks in an age of social distancing.
Clay, give me two adjectives to describe how you’re feeling at this point in 2020.
Overwhelmed and excited.
I think 2020 has overwhelmed all of us. What are you most overwhelmed by these days?
All the unwinnable decisions! It seems like every decision—even a seemingly small one—has the potential to escalate to a situation where someone needs to talk to the person in charge. As a result, I find myself being brought in on things that were once completely handled by our staff. For instance, we’re talking about our middle school students meeting face-to-face (while social distancing) on Sunday. If we move forward with that decision, some parents will be furious. On the other hand, we’ve had parents calling us asking, "When will our children be allowed to meet?" No matter what I decide, someone is unhappy. I have decision fatigue.
Buckhead Church has a very, very diverse congregation, which means we've got people with all kinds of differing views. I could hang up the phone after a conversation with someone who’s upset we haven’t said enough about racial justice, and my very next call might be someone who feels like we need to stick to talking about Jesus and move on from all the race stuff. And both people feel equally strongly about their point of view.
As a leader and pastor, I want to help people zoom out and take a broader look at situations. But that seems 10 times as hard in 2020 with all the heightened emotion. All of us at times, myself included, have a myopic perspective. Sometimes, what’s "right" seems so obvious to me that I find myself getting frustrated or annoyed that anyone could think differently. It feels like God is using this season and all these tough conversations to grow me—to broaden my perspective and teach me how to be comfortable in the tension of differing opinions.