CEO & Pastor Dinner 2020

When we first gathered for our now annual CEO & Pastor Dinner, it was with the hope that these two important leadership groups in our community, those of congregations and those of companies, would engage in conversations that uncovered similarities in their experience; bridging two worlds that might seem very separate at first glance. We spoke of influence, responsibility, authority, and we quickly saw that there was more connecting these groups of leaders than separating them.

CEO Pastor Dinner Registration and Welcome

At our first gathering years ago, the mayor of Austin made a shocking statement. “In my experience, the role of government was not to lead, but to fill the gaps of service to the leadership provided by the church and the marketplace.”  That is why we gather together each year, to let the leaders behind these two “city engines” connect and collaborate in unique ways; to dream together about what could be and what should be in our city. We gather to pray for wisdom as we press forward and lead in to the future God has planned for our city.

Prayer team prays over CEO Pastor Dinner


Once again, as we gathered for our 6th Annual CEO & Pastor Dinner, we sat around tables filled with pastors and executives.  Our speakers encouraged, inspired and challenged us with their vulnerability and dynamic story of faith and work.  As conversation continues across Austin, we continue to strive to intentionally connect leaders across our city, believing long lasting change for our amazing city will evolve as we connect with purpose.

CEO Pastor Dinner Round Table

Like so many people that currently call Austin “home”, my family relocated around a year ago from another “T” state, another kind of “music city”.  At first glance, Austin seemed like most any other major cities.  Colleges, downtown, businesses, entertainment, arts, food trucks.  But as I stumbled into a connection with Austin Bridge Builders Alliance I found something very far from “typical city stuff”.

Hugging at the CEO Pastor Dinner

It is not unusual for groups of churches to gather for a project here and there.  It’s not unusual for business people to gather for a networking event, or for civic groups to rally around a cause.  However, in my experience, it is very rare to gather leaders from across these groups to intentionally discuss how God is moving among them to connect to the needs of the city and effect change.

McCoys on Stage being Interviewed

Unity is often a word we use to frame a far off dream, or perhaps a term we use as lip service to what we know we should be doing but rarely take the time to implement.  In January I was privileged to be a part of an event that was a “weird” as Austin claims to be.  It was “weird” to have business and church leaders come together, share their personal and vocational struggles with one another, and set aside denominations, assumed divides and bottomline agendas to be in the presence of God together, to practice unity.

Arch Bishop praying over the room

Everyone wins when a leader gets stronger, but a city wins when strong leaders unite. Check out our highlight video of the night, and let us know if you were there in the comments below.

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Jennifer Mazzola