After recently attending the very encouraging Nexus Conference I thought it’d be helpful to outline how we arrived at the Purposes Model.
- Back in 2008, we had 3 congregations and 1 more about to kick off. We had a Senior Pastor (Greg Lee) and we had a Staff member for each of the 4 congregations – I was the UniChurch pastor. We also had a Women’s Pastor and a part time kids pastor.
- We started to notice two areas of difference between our congregations. First, there wasn’t an equal dispersion of pastors to flock.
Unichurch had one staff to 150 people, PM had 1 staff to 60 people, AM had 1 staff to 80 people, the new congregation was going to have 1 staff to 30 people. Greg and Kelly (our women’s pastor) already had to spread themselves across all these people anyway.
- Second, we realised each of our congregations were doing well in some areas and poorly in others.
- So Unichurch had a pretty good meeting, but it didn’t welcome very well, nor did it have enough groups and there was no leadership development, nor a real heart for evangelism.
- AM was welcoming, but the meeting was awkward and there was no evangelism and groups were haphazzard.
- PM was really getting into evangelism, but it’s meeting was awkward, groups were struggling and welcoming was hit and miss.
- The new congregation were all in groups that were working well, but the meeting/mission/etc. were going to struggle.
- That’s when we heard about the Purpose model (from Andrew Heard at EV Church). We realised that the aspects of church that were going well vs going poorly were simply because our staff had particular “bents” towards helping people grow in those purposes.
- Richard (new cong.) had a natural bent towards helping people just get the bible, and lead a group and grow in knowledge and obedience.
- Sam (PM) had a natural bent towards helping Christians WANT to be evangelists.
- Dave (AM) had a natural bent towards getting beside people, helping them into church and investing in one another as members of a body.
- I had a natural bent towards challenging people about their deepest love and purpose in life.
- So, rather than having congregations that just reflect their Pastor’s strengths and weaknesses, we decided (after a long period of prayerful thinking and reflecting on God’s word) to free up our staff to do for everyone what they were only doing for one congregation. This also meant that we each stopped being responsible for aspects of our congregations that we weren’t particularly gifted in doing.
- Richard took on Maturity (encouraging people into small groups, raising up leaders and helping those groups build one another up in love from God’s word).
- Sam took on Mission (encouraging people to see themselves as missionaries to Newcastle, facilitating events where people can be confident the gospel will be presented and where they gain confidence in their own evangelism)
- Dave took on Membership (helping people to join well and participate in church life of loving one another and church).
- I took on Magnification (helping people live their whole lives in awe of the gospel 24/7, especially through running Sunday meetings that tried to impact their whole week).
- (Kelly moved to under Richard in Maturity – just focusing on raising and equipping and helping Growth Groups).
- (Richard also wore the Ministry hat – helping people get equipped and find their way into serving with church).
- After 2 years, we found a guy at Church (Pete Witt) who was already helping me do Magnification 1 day a week. We put him on 4 days a week to replace me, and I started looking after Ministry (as Richard had too much to do in Maturity). We also re-titled my role to Executive Pastor, simply because I was finding myself taking on a whole heap of pastoral responsibilities that were the foundation of the Ms structure; facilities, database, planning, association, legal. (I’ll write a later post on why this is Executive Pastor stuff and not General Manager stuff).
We’ve made heaps of mistakes along the way, and spent 6 years refining what we’re doing… with loads of really healthy arguments along the way. If there’s one huge positive that came out of going to Team Pastoring around the Ms it is that our team is really tight and loves one another in the midst of the fight.
And God’s been amazingly gracious and allowed us to grow in size and grow people’s faith.