Thursday, June 11, 2009

Circles of Leadership

Over the past few months, I have been getting many questions about my new role as a full-time pastor. How do you like? What do you do with all your new time? How is the church going now? What difference does it make?
I usually answer that I love being full-time because now I can give my full attention to my calling and passions. Sometimes, I say that I'm sure glad I'm full-time now because I don't want to imagine doing this semester while being bivocational. Lately, I've been saying that one of the best things is that being full-time gives me the opportunity to move beyond maintenance issues (keeping things running) toward thinking into the future about how to make things better and how to do new things.
I am beginning to think that my primary job is to focus on developing circles of leadership. There are three basic circles of leadership under my care (with satellite circles working off of them): the pastoral staff, the Advisory Council, and the Circle of Leadership.
This semester we have made two changes as a pastoral team. We have reworked our staff meetings to once a month coffee with reports, sharing, and prayers for each other. We have also added tri-annual reviews. Every four months, we all conduct answer questions about whether we met our goals for that period, our goals for the next period, and other topics. I am hoping that these two changes will be the core of strengthen our leadership as a pastoral staff.
I am currently reading a book called Transforming Church Boards. It is built on the premise that board meetings tend to be tedious, tiring, and divisive, but that boards can change into life-giving, inspiring, and leadership-building communities. I am excited to think about how we can improve our Advisory Council, a key structure of our church's leadership.
The Circle of Leadership is a budding group. Right now we have only had a meeting of a few key leaders who are setting the structure for how to involve others. We envision this as a community of people who are either called to ministry or studying ministry, and we hope it will empower them as leaders who are learning, growing, and practicing. I am hoping that we can start meeting with a pilot group this fall. We have high hopes that this group will not only help the participants but also increase the quantity and quality of leadership within our church.

So as I said, lately, I'm feeling like the best thing I can do as a pastor is to invest in these circles of leadership. If I can help these circles flourish in the life-giving power of the Spirit, then our church and our world will never be the same!
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