Wife • Mother • Pastor • Cancer Survivor • Church Planter • Worship Leader
Lori Champion’s life experiences fuel her relational style of communication. She combines her rich ministry heritage with her personal depth in Christ to boldly encourage women that, no matter what crisis they’re facing or life-stage they’re in, God will use all things for His glory to impact eternity.
Her greatest passion is to see God’s House and people grow and flourish. Her leadership strength and creative investment is seen throughout Celebration Church, the church she co-founded and co-pastors with her husband, Joe Champion. Lori lives in the Austin area along with her husband and their three boys — Mason, Connor and Jackson.
Leading Ladies Interview Questions
1. Lori, what brings you the greatest joy?
Ministry: We planted Celebration Church 11 years ago with very, very little funding in a city we’d never been to (Austin, TX). Needless to say, we struggled and did everything ourselves! Then and now, my greatest joy is seeing people connect to Christ, to our church family and to their calling — especially those I’ve personally reached. After 11 years, many of those people, once far from God, are vital members of our staff and core leadership team. There’s nothing better! It fuels my passion to continue to develop relationships outside of the church and to relationally lead people to Christ! Two months ago, we baptized 382 people, including five WHOLE families that we personally developed relationships with through our kids’ schools/sports.
Family: Seeing my kids, ages 19, 15 & 11, serve God and lead in their public schools and at church is my very greatest joy! Our oldest son, Mason, is now a freshman in college and narrowed down his college choices based on what great churches were close by. (He picked our alma mater, LSU, and serves at Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge.) It’s such a reward, since there were many times when I probably didn’t get the “balancing act” right! Our kids are “church-aholics” and, more importantly, passionate Christ-followers!
2. What is your biggest challenge?
Lori: “Growing pains have truly been my biggest challenge. I was raised in and have always been a part of small churches. I’m very relational and when Celebration started taking off in growth, it meant personal changes, staff changes, and congregation changes. It also meant the BIG “C Word,” CRITICISM. We have the same heart for people that we had when we were a start-up, but when you’re successful others’ perspective of you changes (especially highly insecure people’s perspective). That can be very painful and, if you allow it, distracting. The key for us is to keep seeing lives changed and to outlast the critics! Nehemiah is a great biblical example of continuing to build the testimony of God, despite the voices of criticism.”
3. What 3 books have impacted your life (besides the Bible)?
Lori: “It’s not too spiritual, but I love Jane Austen! My more spiritually impactful book choices include:
Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Chambers
Marriage on the Rock by Jimmy & Karen Evans
21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell”
4. Lori, what are a few tips you would give someone to maintain balance with their family, career, and/or ministry?
Lori: “Balance is over-rated! I’m 6th generation ministry and everyone in our family is in ministry. I’ve slept under church pews many times growing up. Sometimes pastors’ wives (or Christian women, in general) believe that “too much church” will make kids rebel…yet, no one is worried that “too much little league baseball” will make the kids grow up and hate baseball! So, get rid of that guilt! We used to pick our kids up from school and take them back to the office with us because we couldn’t afford childcare. They would still love for us to do that!
I do believe that there needs to be intentional connection points spent with your kids every day – in the mornings, debriefing and connecting as soon as they get home from school (I get off the phone/computer when they arrive), and at bedtime! Even teenagers are chatty if you take the time to tuck them in! Getaways with the family are huge too. We sacrifice and prioritize financially to make memories with our kids on trips. We do that for our marriage as well — overnight date trips, on average, every month work better for us than weekly date nights at this season of our lives…and we don’t run into church members ”
Lori, Thank you for taking time to share your insight! You are a true blessing. – Beth Sargent