Elder Updates (June 2018)

by the Elders

Happy Friday! We trust you have had a great week and are gearing up for an awesome weekend. In order to keep you in the loop as much as possible, the elders would like to share a few updates from last Sunday’s Family Gathering.

These updates are focused on various staffing directions we have considered and why one of those appears preferable to us at this point. No decision has been made yet: we want to share our thoughts with the church family and create opportunities to converse with you about them. Further, we are talking extensively with outside counsel as we evaluate the options. So far, it has been a very helpful process.

As we shared in May, we are considering a staffing direction that would involve a preaching team instead of a specific Pastor of Preaching. It is not that having a Pastor of Preaching is a negative option; far from it. However, there are reasons that a team approach is attractive to us at this point.

To be clear, a preaching team does not mean repeating the “co-pastors of vision” model. Our previous leadership model had designated two elders (Drew and Abraham) as co-pastors of vision with equal authority in some areas. Creating a team of preachers is very different from that previous model, as there would be one person designated to lead the preaching team.

That said, here are three reasons the elders shared at the June Family Gathering regarding why we are considering a preaching team model:

  1. As we hone in on discipleship as a corporate identity for our church, we view preaching as the centerpiece of discipleship. What happens in the preaching of God’s Word drives how we “do church” in other ways, both explicitly and implicitly. Since we are all disciplemakers, allowing multiple voices in preaching also allows each of those voices to speak into our corporate identity of being a community of disciplemakers toward the Great Commission.
  2. We have a strong desire to see better integration of our ministries overall. We tend to work too much as “silos” in our ministry efforts, disconnected from the other parts of the body. While maintaining a designated lead person in various ministries, we want to increase the overlap and cooperation between our ministry areas. As much as possible, we want to align our efforts for maximum impact. Collaboration in the most visible word ministry in our church (preaching) will help us to extend that integration and alignment into other ministry areas as well. We want to foster a team approach to ministry church-wide, and doing so in preaching would set the pace for how we do team ministry elsewhere.
  3. A preaching team would allow us to fit the best person to specific passages and topics. When a passage of Scripture comes up that someone on the team is better equipped to preach through, then we can schedule that appropriately. It is a model that allows us to fit gifting and skill set more specifically to the opportunity.

Now, you may be asking if we considered other models. The answer, of course, is yes. Here are three other potential directions we considered that don’t seem to be the best fit for our situation:

  1. We considered taking Drew Humphrey’s previous job description “as is” and looking for someone to step into Drew’s role, with Abraham maintaining his current role as the lead elder. However, this approach disregards the tensions that existed under the previous co-pastor of vision arrangement. We have heard from multiple sources that it is important to align voice and authority. Finding a new preaching pastor to step into our existing strategic plan and leadership structure would be problematic. That arrangement was unique to Abraham and Drew having been trained as interns together and having a unique relationship that brought about that model for that time.
  2. We also considered looking for a typical “senior pastor,” a man who would carry the key leadership role and maintain the majority of the preaching. However, that would require replacing Abraham as the lead elder and would mean a significant change in his responsibilities. Further, it would most likely mean a reset for our strategic plan and vision (which we are still very excited about), since a new primary leader would most likely want to lead us in some new directions. The idea of hitting “reset” as a church was not appealing.
  3. A third option we considered was to ask Abraham to continue serving as lead elder and to also take on the primary preaching role. However, that would not allow Abraham enough time to focus on other very important areas of leadership, vision, and discipleship and would also limit his ability to continue growing as a preacher. With a preaching team, however, Abraham could provide the overall leadership for that team while continuing to lead in other areas.

In short, we as elders are exploring the idea of a preaching team as it seems to be the best fit for our current situation as a church. It would allow us to remain committed to God’s Word in our corporate gathering while leaning on the gifting and ability of multiple men. After all, it is God’s Word that does God’s work, and not just the efforts of any one man.

Please continue to pray for us as we consider this option and, as always, please continue to share your thoughts and questions.