At our first meeting about realigning our ministerial staff, Mark Riddle gave a detailed chronology of how we got to the point of releasing the original draft of the proposal to the church. I’m not going to go back over that, but printed copies are available for anyone who did not hear that original explanation.
As we have listened to the various church discussion sessions, as we listened to what the Personnel Committee and Deacons have said in their discussions, here is some of what we have heard. It is our sense that about half the church was ready to embrace the original staffing model as soon as it was proposed. They were excited about the model and seem especially to like that the original model would have clearly made it more likely for Broadway to retain Susan and Chris for a longer period of time. But for many people, the model has not been at all easy to embrace. Based on one survey taken at a listening session, and based on listening to feedback at listening sessions, it seems about a third of the congregation is not on board with the proposal. Some are struggling with whether the model will work. Others are struggling with what the model says about our mission as a church.
It quickly became apparent that the idea of moving to a Co-Pastor model tapped into a deeper conversation about our mission as a church. A weakness of the original proposal (according to Chris himself) was that it focused more on the benefit to Chris and Susan than it did on the benefit to the church. Since that time, however, Chris and Susan have stated repeatedly that the primary goal of any staffing realignment must be helping Broadway achieve its mission. They see the scope of their jobs as a secondary issue, and we as church leaders agree. Ultimately this has to be about effectively living out our mission as a church.
Most people seem to approve of the mission priorities that came from the congregation out of the discernment process in 2014. For these people, who comprise, we feel, most of the church, we believe they like how the model aligns our ministers with our ministry priorities, specifically the change from Chris spending 5% of his week on community ministry now to 20% in the proposed model. Other members of the church have voiced the concern that the focus on ministry in the community takes too much time away from the greater responsibility of caring for the “the flock” of Broadway.
Others have voiced concerns about whether the concept of co-pastors will work, and whether the model has been effective in other churches or in business leadership. These folks seem not to question the goal of aligning the staff with mission or retaining our staff, but have concerns about whether this will really work.
In our September deacons meeting, we discussed how important it was to have a very solid consensus behind a change like this. We do not believe 70% approval represents a very solid consensus. For that reason, the Personnel Committee proposed to the deacons that time be taken to further consider what sort of staffing model would best align our staff with our mission (the primary concern) and also try to address issues of staff retention (an important secondary concern). John Dotson, our deacon chair, will now say more about that.