On Sunday (May 8th) we had our Welcome Church Vision Evening. This week I’ll be blogging about some of the key items we covered. This is part 3 of 5. (You can find Part 1 by clicking here)
Releasing more leadership
As a growing church we’ve recognised the need to release more leadership to help us move forward as a church, and we’ve realised that it can’t be done simply by adding ever larger numbers of people to an Eldership Team that grows and grows. We have a great Eldership Team here at Welcome Church (I would say that) but we recognise a need for more voices, and for more diversity of voices, and also that we can’t effectively lead a church of this size through an eldership team that meets once a week in an evening; we need more gifts to be released.
With that in mind, coming out of our prayer week away together as Elders in January, we made a decision to release two new teams to support the Eldership in shaping and delivering the church’s vision going forward. We have now released the following two leadership teams:
1. An Executive Team
The Executive Team is a small team designed to keep us moving forward in the right direction week by week, reviewing what has gone before and planning for what’s coming up. This team is able to respond rapidly to what needs to be done day by day, to deal with issues as they occur, to troubleshoot problems and to care for the staff team and volunteers. It’s also about ensuring that there’s a seamless relationship between Operations and Ministries, which has not always been the case.
This team consists of myself (Lead Pastor), Darren Forsdyke (Ops Director) and Christopher Hawes (see below), along with regular input from Dub Everitt (Outreach Pastor) with his excellent outreach gift. All of us are employed by the church and available all week long. This team brings Ops and Ministries together in one team, under the oversight of the Eldership, with freedom to get on and move us forward rapidly in line with Eldership vision and strategy. So far it’s working well, but there’s exciting development too:
We’ve given Christopher Hawes a change of job title to Executive Pastor
This means that Chris is being released with more freedom and authority, and will also deputise for me as needed. I’m sure you’ll agree Chris is already having a good impact on us. I’ve been impressed with his leadership skill, his strategic thinking and his ability to see and grasp all the issues, not to mention his fast growing preaching gift. So we’re stepping him into this new role where he won’t replace me but will be leading more freely over lots of what we do.
For clarity, I’m not going anywhere! I’m still the Lead Pastor and I feel very called to the role. The reality is that as well as being Lead Pastor at Welcome Church, I have a wider role within Commission which takes a portion of my time each week. For example, I lead the Commission Hub Team that provides care and oversight to all UK churches, I’m part of the Commission UK Team and am chairing that while Guy Miller is on sabbatical and I’m regularly involved with helping other church Eldership Teams. This outside ministry is part of how we’re called to serve as a church. Having Chris in his new role is supporting and releasing me more in all I do both in Welcome Church and elsewhere.
As an Eldership we have also released:
2. A Strategic Team
This team is a mix of men and women who we want to speak into and help shape our strategy as a church; it’s about supporting the staff and the Executive Team as they turn Eldership vision into reality; it’s also about speaking into that vision and strategy so that as an Eldership we hear from a wider range of voices with greater diversity of thought and life experience.
This team has already been meeting and has already started to help shape things. The team as it stands includes Dub, Dean, Chris and myself from the Eldership Team, alongside Darren Forsdyke and Uti Anyeagbunam from Ops. We’ve also included Meg Ochieng , Jo Petch, Beryl Hunwicks and Simon Field. These are all people who I know we would recognise as gifted leaders and who already carry weight in the church.
We meet each month to talk about strategy, to shape what’s coming up and to speak into our key issues and events. As an eldership we’re delighted with the result of releasing this team; it’s already influencing things in a good way.
We still believe in eldership
For clarity, neither of these teams is replacing our Eldership. Our theology hasn’t changed. Eldership is Biblical; Elders are given by God to oversee the affairs of the church … but they don’t have to lead everything. Part of their role is to release and oversee other gifted leaders and to create an environment where everyone can flourish.
Tomorrow I’m going to blog about our exciting plans for the autumn.