The gathering of the church I work/live for/with has recently emerged from the long tunnel of a 1-3 year transition in it's organizational structure. A few key ministry leaders have departed over these past few years and the drift has been toward a team model of leadership. It is amazing that our congregations have stuck with each other despite our lack of a "Senior Pastor" even though it is an honest stretch for some and an absolute absurdity to others.
As this team approach continues to shape itself we are beginning to realize that our gifts aren't always as specifc as we thought they were - the overlap between "job descriptions" is extremly large, and at the end of the day they all change every few months anyway. The fact that such cross-pollination occurs is quite naturally observed as cohesion of thought, vision and purpose amongst the leadership and it has been amazing to note the postitive influence this has upon building trust between the pastorate and the congregations.
But there are more than a few questions yet to be answered now that we're out of "let's make it through this" mode.
Perhaps the two most challenging questions could be our commitment to re-examine our theologies of "financing" and "staffing." The "financing" end of it all is about to get an injection of concentrated thought and consideration which will hopefully be archived over on this group blog. The "staff" part of it has yet to really hit its stride. So, in trying to keep ahead of things: here's a few thoughts for the mix when it comes to staffing:
"Staff to Grow" vs "Staff to Shrink" vs "Staff to Nurture" vs "Staff to Question" - which is the healthiest framework for LPC/thePlace right now? Are there other formulations to work within? Can we staff to "grow" and "shrink" at the same time? If we simply tend to what is before us (nurture) can we live with the faith the Lord will take care of the rest?
And how messy and confusing is the word "staff" really? There's got to be a better word...or three...