Acts 6:1-4 (NLT) But as the believers[a] rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”
Ok, so here’s probably the vintage example of church structuring in the New Testament. It’s ‘wheeled’ out before ever little seminar on church structure and admin. However, (and it’s a big however) most of the times I have heard this spoken on, it sounds something like this:
“As we can see, administrative duties are taking up the Apostles time for teaching the Word and prayer. This is far too important a task to compromise with distractions so we’ll pass it on.” I’m not saying that this isn’t the case but I will say it’s an extremely one-dimensional view of what’s going on.
As well as this, the Apostles are also recognising that this IS an important task, as important as anything else. That’s why they don’t want just any Tom, Dick or Harry to do it, but crew that are full of the Spirit and wisdom. What is going on here is a Social Justice ministry and what is at stake is none other than the consistent witness of the Church. If this situation continues, the preaching of the Apostles will be compromised in the ears of their hearers, much like how it is so difficult to share the Gospel today, amidst the ‘ball and chain’ of institutional sexual abuse in churches.
The Apostles don’t want to compromise this ministry as much as they don’t want their ministry to be compromised. Therefore, they show the leadership maturity to relinquish it. Because they know the more they try and hold on to it, BOTH practical and verbal gospel ministries will be compromised.
Church structure matters, because the Gospel matters and because the health of the people serving in the ministry matters. That’s why we devoted so much time to the consultancy a few years ago and why we are devoting time to it today.
Term 4 2016 session 2: How the Church is structured and run.
- What’s going on in a ‘broad-strokes’.
For this section, please refer to the Excel spreadsheet on the screen. In case you haven’t seen this before, what you are seeing is the layout of registered ministries (ministries that are conducted on behalf of the church). I will explain why we need registered ministries later. For now this is pretty much or working document that summarizes where we are at in the roll out of our consult recommendations.
The eldership is committed to adopting a shift towards every member ministry. I think Gavin’s mantra has in real sense become the ‘unofficial mission statement’ for good reason. This shift is essentially resisting the urge to ‘do’ the ministry and rather supporting, training and empowering those who are/do. Each one of the ministry areas shown has an Elder assigned to it to care for the ministry leaders and take any queries, issues and information to the eldership. This one on one conversation between individual elders and ministry team leaders is an utterly critical communication link.
Also, where it is an entirely new ministry being set up, Elders oversee the set up until a leader is nominated/chosen to take over. If that doesn’t happen in a certain time, then that elder will move on to a different ministry.
Each ministry, of course must have a leader (or a leadership group). This is critical. If there is no designated leadership with the ministry it literally always ends up becoming an issue for the Elders to sort out. We are also working on matching responsibility level with authority level in this area. In other words, the Ministry leader has the authority to ‘make the call’ in relation to the running and administration of that ministry. (Of course if the wiggles for example decided to start introducing Metallica songs for Sunday services, that would be a content issue and therefore, I, as the overseeing elder would want to know about it!) However, expecting people to ‘do the heavy lifting’ without imparting authority to them is a recipe for burnout. Imparting authority with zero performance expectations is a recipe for disaster.
A committed team of lay leaders is essential for healthy growth. I think a year ago now, I was asked by a person refusing to step up to leadership; “Why do things take so long to get done around here?” I nearly answered “That’s easy, because there’s too many people who do not want to step into leadership roles and that happens because we tend to want influence but without accountability.”
Ministry team members are if course critical to each ministry. It’s simple, John Maxwell says: “If you want to know if you are a leader, just look over your shoulder!” Within each ministry they may be further subcategories like in uth@waratah we have junior leaders. Again the every person serving in these ministries will eventually be required to undergo safe church training.
Any Questions on this spreadsheet?
- Recruitment and finding people ‘full of the Spirit and wisdom.’
Believe it or not, Waratah does have an extremely straight forward recruitment policy that stretches across every level of the Church. It is divided into 4 simple levels.
Level 1 Employed staff/pastors.
Level 2 Elders/ ministry team leaders
Level 3 Ministry team members.
Level 4 Junior leaders/registered helpers.
We feel that sheet is pretty self-explanatory. Also, for the sake of consistency, 2017 will see the introduction of some ‘retrospective’ interviews for the appropriate levels of leadership BUT these will not be deterministic of a person’s continuation in a position, but rather a feedback gathering exercise on how the position may have morphed and any needs that need to be taken into consideration in future.
- The importance of safe Church (It’s more than Working with Children)
Remember that ‘registered ministries’ comment from earlier? Well here we go. Obviously, we’re not ‘ministry cops’ and if a person who attends Waratah suddenly decides that they want to go off visiting people in homes, that’s totally their prerogative. (BUT, and it’s a big one,) if there is ever a complaint about that person, they are well and truly on their own. No support nor reference can be given to them on behalf of the church because all we can say is “we weren’t aware this person was doing this, they simply attend church but are not a part of our ministry here at Waratah.”
We know that it’s impossible to guarantee nothing will go wrong, but Waratah is committed to doing everything it can to be sure, like the apostles were, that we do not simply put broken people into the hands of any ‘tom, dick or harry.’ Moreover, people volunteering their time deserve the tools the dedication of the church to their safety to minister most effectively. That’s why we don’t make any apologies for this.
- Internal ministry training/debriefing
We are really, really keen to see ministry leaders create a culture of love and candor. Yes, it’s possible for those things to co-exist. They did with Jesus and his disciples! We would love to see each ministry leader to be growth minded. We want to see people grow. No matter their age. One of the great pleasures of working with the youth crew for so long is that they are hungry for knowledge, hungry to know how they can do things better, even if it means letting go of their own opinions.
Also, part of the authority we want to give to ministry leaders is the authority to train the team members under them. This one of the reasons why we re-started ‘site’. If you’re a wiggle, why not do some training with the music team on how to pick songs? If you’re the leader of the visitation ministry, why not do a little research on-line for some really great ideas for door greeters and then share it with your team? Training is always fun when it’s applicable because learning something that really enables you to do better is always a thrill. Any questions?
- Ministry Leaders Council Meetings.
Beginning in 2017, we want to kind of kick off a bit of a communication revolution. We want to get ministry leaders and elders in the same room together on a quarterly basis to:
- Mutual encouragement through sharing the ‘little victories’ that each ministry is experiencing.
- Information sharing where ministries that might rely on each other can share information and idea about how they can better mutually support each other. (for example the Charge coordinator can request the uth@waratah coordinator to do some more leader training on communication with kids so that they are also better charge helpers.)
- Raise issues of scheduling, or systemic needs/Discern what the Spirit is saying. I am constantly fascinated how often when you fill a room with God’s people being honest with each other, the Holy Spirit reveals the ‘real issue’ behind the issues that pop up. Also, the more ministries are aware of each other, the more they can move from ‘working around’ to ‘working for’ each other.
- Pray for each other Self explanatory this one.
- Do some general leadership training. This is also a place where min leaders will be up-skilled and given more and more tools to lead effectively and embrace the future.
- Enjoy some tucker together.
Ok, so that’s an idea of where we want to head, are there any questions on any of that?