There are many Bible verses that speak to a plurality of leadership: Acts 14:23--Paul and Barnabas appoint "elders in every church", Titus 1:5--Titus is to appoint elders in every town. In fact, a quick internet search will list numerous discussions. I found “Who Should Run the Church? A Case for the Plurality of Elders” helpful.
Faith Christian Community has been an elder led church since its’ beginning. However, in practice, we haven’t operated that way. And, the bylaws are a little confusing concerning governance. That’s why we believe it’s time to clarify and revise the bylaws, and try our best to share with you how we envision it going forward.
We will continue to be an elder led church, which means a plurality of leadership. However, we will change how staff elders, or pastors, the term most often used, fit into the elder team. The change is simple, as with the larger body of elders working as a plurality of leaders, we want the staff elders/pastors to also work together as a plurality of leaders. We believe this provides the best possible environment for accountability and balance.
The idea is that within the elder team as a whole, a subgroup of elders will be our staff elders/pastors. I keep using the term staff elder because I want to drive home the point that we will no longer have a lead or senior pastor. I’ll switch to using pastor now, but don’t forget! The sub group of pastors will be called the staff leadership team (SaLT). They will speak within the elders as one voice and will fill the role normally associated with a lead/senior pastor. So, if they don’t agree on something they want to bring to the elders, they’ll have to work it out between themselves first. And, although the Pastor of Vision will have the responsibility to develop messages or sermon series, the other two pastors will also teach on a regular basis.
The SaLT, will be made up of no more than three pastors, each with a distinct role. This is our goal, not our starting place. We’re currently not in a place to hire three pastors. Our plan is to seek both the Pastor of Vision and the Pastor of Ministries, and then hire the person Christ brings to us first. From there, we’ll either seek the other of the two, or with our new pastor taking the lead, hire a worship pastor/leader.
Just because we’re starting with one or two pastors doesn’t mean we put other needs on hold. Until we’re able to reach our goal of three pastors, the elders, Randy Gunther (Ministry Leader Operations) and many of you will continue to step into the gap. It will probably look something like this at first, with overlapping or duel responsibilities.
Let me know what you think. God bless you!
Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. Galatians 6:10
Published on March 25, 2017 @ 2:57 PM AKDT
I loved hearing this at the potluck and reading this blog. Thank you for all everyone is doing. These truths resonate with my spirit and are clearly biblical. May God always be glorified at FCC.
Posted on Sun, Mar 26, 2017 @ 1:11 PM CST
Thank you for sharing this vision with us. I really appreciate the elders seeking the biblical foundation for our church leadership as well as God's direction for how to implement this in our body. Your communicating this to us as God leads you, is a blessing and helps us to prayerfully support you.
Posted on Sun, Mar 26, 2017 @ 1:35 PM CST
Thank you for the update.
I'd like to suggest you invite women to be a part of this significant planning process. In my opinion, a fuller and more complete perspective is achieved when both men and women are represented at the table.
Posted on Sun, Mar 26, 2017 @ 5:37 PM CST
I have informally asked several women leaders for input. So far, the feedback has been positive. Do you have a particular person in mind Joel? If so, let me know and I'll touch base with her.
Posted on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 8:23 AM CST
I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate the information and explanations. It is easier for me to support, encourage, and pray for our leadership when I feel like I understand what is happening. Thanks! Blessings!
Posted on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 2:45 PM CST
Thank you for communicating this information, and also the visual aids! This is very helpful in understanding the direction the elders are taking in developing the leadership of FCC. I like the idea of hiring which ever of the two pastors God brings to us, first, and then the elders look for the other two. It seems like hiring a worship pastor first might divert the funds and focus of looking for the other two Pastor parts of the SaLT elder position. Do I read it correctly, then, that the worship pastor would be a 4th pastor? And would he/she be a member of the SaLT team? If the newly hired Vision or Ministry pastor is the lead on hiring the worship pastor, will it set up a hierarchy of leadership counter to what you previously described as the goal in the new leadership/elder model? What a big job you have before you. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making on behalf of the sheep!!
Numbers 27:15-18 New International Version (NIV)
15 Moses said to the Lord, "May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community 17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
18 So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership,[a] and lay your hand on him.
Posted on Tue, Apr 4, 2017 @ 11:20 PM CST
Yes, the worship pastor would be a fourth pastor. If a youth pastor were hired, that would be a fifth pastor. The thing to remember is that the three pastors on the triangle are elders. I think of them as staff elders. They are peers. We no longer want a lead or senior pastor. Also, no other pastor, whether they lead worship, youth, children, men or women, will be elders.
Posted on Wed, Apr 5, 2017 @ 5:43 PM CST