One of the “controversies” (apparently) at the Nexus Conference was comparing the Congregational Model of staffing to the Portfolio Model of staffing. While I was really pleased to see brothers keen to sharpen in their thinking about how to get good faithful gospel work done, there were some frustrations.
First, it seemed that the Portfolio Model wasn’t really held by anyone. Dave Sheath (Lakes Evangelical) kept referring to it as doing church according to Purposes, and wanted to avoid the Portfolio language. While Lionel and Phil had questions about it, it turned out the staff in their churches were “specialising” beyond their congregations already.
During dinner I was chatting through the purpose model, and thought it would be worth making some points…
- The Purpose model is NOT first and foremost a “staffing” model, it’s a model that focus on ENDS rather than MEANS (to use Phil’s language – ironically).
So at HBC, we’ve settled on 5 ends, 5 goals we think God wants to see EVERYONE grow in. 5 aspects of what it means to be a healthy christian and a healthy church; Be a magnifier of Jesus, Be a Missionary of Jesus, Be a Member of Jesus’ church, Be a Mature follower of Jesus, Be involved in Ministering with Jesus.
You can focus on these purposes no matter how many staff you have. No matter how big (or small) your church is.
- In a Purpose Model church, all pastoral staff see themselves as EVERYBODY’S pastor.
I’m a pastor of 500+ adults. The other staff at HBC are also pastors of the same 500+ adults. We all share the pastoral responsibility – without dividing up the church into “congregations”. They are all the flock, and we are all shepherds.
This is each staff member’s FIRST IDENTITY. Sam’s not the Mission guy… he’s a Pastor of the flock at HBC, who happens to focus on one aspect of the sheep – namely helping them be missionaries.
- Therefore, the Purpose Model is better described as TEAM PASTORING where everyone pays a special role on the team.
I wrote about this a while ago here. If you have more than one pastoral staff, you have a team. And you can either divide the team’s work into flocks (you take that congregation, I’ll take this one). Or you can divide it by gifts/focus/emphasis (you look after people’s heart for mission and magnifying God – particularly not exclusively, I’ll look after their membershiping, their maturity and their ministering – particularly, not exclusively)
You make this decision on the basis of the gifts your staff already have. Some of us are just better at one of those than we are the others (see here)! So, rather than limiting those gifts to just one congregation, they get to use their gifts regardless of their congregation. People don’t miss-out just because they’re in this congregation not that one.
So, the big points to grasp are, a) Purposes not Portfolios and b) Team Pastoring everyone and c) Staff are Generalist at heart, Specialists in the field.
Tomorrow, I’ll try to give a bit of a history of how we came around to this…