So, I’ve written about the problems I’ve experienced with departmental organization, the need for a different approach, as well as theories I’ve come across and thought about. Now it’s time to share with you what we’re going to do.

Probably our biggest source of inspiration was the counsel we got from ministry friends who used to be on staff at Bent Tree Fellowship in Dallas. They organized a ministry under three “departments,” for lack of a better word: Programs, Community and Operations. Under a director in each area, they had a full time assistant (actually, I think in one area they had two part time assistants for preference reasons). The Program director oversaw all things curriculum, production, music and video. The Community director oversaw all things small groups which was the bulk of the volunteer force. The Operations director oversaw all things admin, resources and organization. Time and time again they’d tell us, “trust us, it just works!”

We only had one problem. We’re multi-site. Bent Tree wasn’t and moving this model to a multi-site environment called for adjustments. We tried our very best to not let personalities on our team dictate how his looked but tried to see this through the eyes of how will this work for us in 6 months as well as 6 years. Is it scalable? What if we have 10 campuses?

So, we essentially created three new positions that are non-campus specific roles of Program, Community and Operations. They sit on what I’m calling the leadership team. In addition to these three roles, I have my two Children’s Pastors. The five of them work with me to lead our Children’s Ministry. Obviously the Children’s Pastors own the ministry on their campuses, but the three new positions support their campuses. The Program Director and his/her team of volunteers selects and develops the music, curriculum, look and feel of the services from Elementary down to Early Childhood. The Community Director champions volunteers for our ministry. This person develops our volunteer processes recruiting, leading, and caring for volunteers. This person doesn’t lead all volunteers, but sets the standards for this on all campuses. This person will also develop a team of volunteers who process new volunteers as well as following up with volunteers leaving our ministry. The Operations Director helps support the campus teams by developing teams to help with data entry, curriculum and supply distribution, resource management and facility prep and upkeep. As we continue to add more campuses, I would probably need to create a new position of Central Children’s Pastor who will represent all the Children’s Pastors on the Leadership Team as it wouldn’t be efficient to have all of them on this team.

Depending on the campus size, we will staff in a similar mannor based on need. On our larger campus, we’re going to have two Serve Leaders. That terminology ties in with a term we’re using at Gateway, but it’s essentially a reflection of “Community” on the campus. One Serve Leader will oversee, care and love all Early Childhood volunteers while the other one does the same for Elementary volunteers. Don’t get confused though, they’re not Elementary or Early Childhood directors or coordinators. Their primary function is to pour into their leaders and volunteers making sure that everyone is prepared, equipped and connected. We want our ministry to be a place where every volunteer feels like they are part of a community where they feel connected and growing and we think we can do that with these Serve Leaders. In addition, we’ll have a Production Leader who essentially carries out the program on Sunday mornings. With multiple large group environments, it’s really necessary to have someone leading all the production volunteers to pull off the show. If we hired another person on a campus, it would probably be a campus specific ops person to support the administrative needs of that specific campus… maybe. We haven’t gotten there yet.

We’re excited about this new layout and it’s something we’re going to have to grow into. We don’t have this many people on our staff. I actually have my Children’s Pastors playing dual roles spending most of their time as Children’s Pastors and some of their time serving as Program and Community Directors. I’m also going to need to hire an Operations Director (probably part time at this time) as well as an elementary Serve Leader (also part time).

We totally expect messiness and frustrations. Although we’re trying to anticipate them, we expect some stuff is going to fall through the cracks until we figure out what works and what doesn’t. I fully expect that six months from now this organization will be modified to tweaked as something just wasn’t working right. However, I’m excited to take the risk as I truly think we’re going to be more efficient and strategic in what we do.

So, say a prayer for us. My plan is to launch staff in their new roles in November. It will probably be a month or two of transitions, but by January I hope that we’ll have gotten a good taste of how things are going.