Managers, Directors & Pastors
On the GFC Staff
“Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘What you are doing is not good.’”
~ Exodus 18:17 ~
It’s not on any husband’s bucket list to hear his father-in-law disapprove of what he’s doing. Still, Jethro was right.
The Lord was showing Himself mighty and doing great things through Moses. As He continued to accomplish His will, the scope of Moses’ ministry responsibilities changed. Jethro, older and wiser than Moses, knew that it wasn’t wise to assume that which worked in days and years past is what God would use today. Moses was likely content to “keep on keepin’ on,” but Jethro knew that wouldn’t be effective for the long haul, and it simply wasn’t sustainable. Jethro essentially told Moses to organize his ministry differently, and so he did.
What did Grace Fellowship Church look like when you first started attending?
Maybe you were part of a core group of people meeting in a conference room in downtown Cincinnati or in someone’s living room. Perhaps you were counted among those who attended the first public worship service at Turkeyfoot Middle School. Maybe you remember when construction teams broke ground on what is now the Florence campus. Do you recall when, within months of its opening, the church needed to add a second worship service? A few years later, we added a third worship service. Remember that?
Do you remember when a core group of people committed to going to the movies together on a weekly basis, in order to start holding worship services at a new campus in Newport? Were you at the first worship service at the Fort Thomas campus? Were you at their first second worship service in the fall? (It makes sense. Read it again.)
The Lord has seen fit to bring a lot of change and growth to our once small church that is now over 2,000 people attending 5 different Sunday worship services at 2 different locations in the region (soon to be 3 different locations). As any church, business, or organization grows, wise leaders must answer a nuanced version of the proverbial “WWJD” – What would Jethro do?
We don’t know. The Bible says a lot about church leadership, but there’s no organizational chart in the Scriptures. Over the years, we’ve made changes that we think are best for our church as change and growth has occurred, and we’ll likely make more if God shows us a need to do so. For now, we thought we’d outline three important categories of team members on our staff. Some of what you’ll read you’ll probably be able to find direct, specific “chapter-and-verse” Scriptural support for. For others, you’ll see some Scriptural principles. In some cases, we’ll say it— it’s just what we do. We operate as wisely as we know how, not violating Scripture, but giving ourselves to operational efficiency.
- Managers are the members of our team who give attention to the operational & logistical matters of our church. Whether it’s paying the bills that keep the lights on, fixing the lights when they’re not on, or ensuring we’re insured, they give careful attention to the infrastructure of our church. Ministry is always bumpy, but our managers’ hard work makes it a lot smoother for our staff and church body.
- Directors exercise focused attention and care for a specific area of ministry. Their consistent “deep dives” into their ministries have resulted in what we believe to be some of the most long-lasting and fruitful ministries for our church body.
- Pastors are men who provide oversight, leadership & vision for multiple areas of ministry. Their ministry reach is broader in that they usually affect a wide range of people & leaders within the body. Additionally, there’s usually a teaching and/or equipping emphasis in order to develop other leaders within the church to do the work of the ministry.
Here’s another way of looking at it…
In most cases, managers wake up thinking about things and processes that best serve our staff.
In most cases, directors wake up thinking a lot about a specific group of people within our church.
In most cases, pastors wake up thinking about multiple groups of leaders and people in our church.
Are there ever exceptions to the above? Absolutely. For example, if someone is leaving a pastorate in another church to serve at Grace, he’ll likely retain his title of “Pastor” when he comes on staff here. Conversely, there may be an area of ministry that was cared for by a Pastor at one point that might be led by a Director at another time for a variety of reasons. This isn’t the law of the Medes & Persians. This is just how our staff is structured, generally speaking.
Is there overlap between roles? Sure. We’ve not tried to build a heavy, tight, “top-down” structure for our staff. We pray, we talk, we plan in pencil, and we execute to the best of our abilities. Instead of agonizing over or apologizing for overlap, we celebrate the opportunities the Lord provides for our staff to serve in both the ways we’ve outlined and the ways He has ordained that were never on our radar.
What about education? We recognize and are grateful for those who have prepared themselves educationally for ministry. Degrees and/or comparable experience, however, does not make the man or woman. Qualifying for a role, be it pastor, director, or otherwise is not solely determined by education or experience. It may contribute to the servant’s job title as long as the responsibilities reflect broader care and/or experience with Grace Fellowship.
Will it ever change again? At some point, it may. The Lord may bring about a Jethro-moment where it’s apparent that the thing that once worked well simply no longer does. We trust the Lord will guide us across that bridge if/when we come to it, as He has faithfully done throughout the life of our church.
Lastly, it’s important to remember where we put our hope, confidence and trust. It’s not in our structure or plans, and certainly not in our preferences. It’s not in titles, categories, charts and outlines. Those are helpful, but not hopeful. It’s God who does all good things for His pleasure and our benefit, and we’re grateful to Him for all He has done and continues to do among us. So long as Jesus tarries, we can say with all confidence that the best is truly yet to come.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Brothers, pray for us.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23-25 ~
– The Elders of Grace Fellowship Church