Part 3: Doing Staff Reorganizations Well

Editor's Note: Paul Clark, the Operations Pastor at Fairhaven Church in Ohio and a Contributing Editor to Your Church, recently underwent a major staff reorganization. In a four-part series that started two weeks ago, he explained what Fairhaven sought to change, and the first step for making that change—the dissolution of the executive team. Last week, he addressed the establishment of new title structures. Today, he explains how Fairhaven created a management team.

Step Three: Creation of a Management Team

Steps three and four reshape how we plan and execute our ministries. They involve establishing two functionally driven teams for vision and implementation. We're calling these two teams the Lead Team (vision) and the Management Team (implementation).

Both teams are comprised of individuals who are invited to participate, not because of title, but because of their responsibilities, their gifting, or their ability to contribute to the goals of the team. These teams will be fluid, in that they can change at any time, based on the dynamics of our staff. We can make changes to both teams and not have to tweak our organization chart or our titles. New members can be invited to sit in, perhaps based on a particular discussion that's relevant to them or to which they bring some expertise or special interest.

Unlike the former Executive Team, this new structure provides the possibility for greater flexibility and nimbleness, with less formality. The key is to have the right people around the table at the right time.

How does the Management Team function?

The Management Team is primarily responsible for implementation issues. They are tasked with how the vision ends up being implemented at the street level. They have five ongoing areas of emphasis:

1. Overseeing resources so that facilities, equipment, staff, and calendars are used efficiently and effectively;

2. Integrating and coordinating our vision, values, and goals across the various ministries;

3. Coordinating schedules and ministry plans so that the communication team can grasp the broader picture of what needs to be communicated to the church family and community at large;

4. Proposing ideas and initiatives to the Lead Team as strategic opportunities arise;

5. Coordinating ministry calendars on an ongoing basis to prevent collisions and promote cohesiveness.

The Management Team is comprised of 11 individuals representing many of our larger ministries. There are both men and women, and a cross-section of ages. Two members of the Management Team also sit on the Lead Team, which ensures good communication between both groups.

In just the few weeks since launching the Management Team, we've already seen some great success. The team is excited to have a voice in how things get executed on the ministry level. Many of them are enjoying their very first opportunity to be able to speak into the vision and direction of the church, since several of them do not sit at the head of their departmental structure. For example, one member is from the Worship & Fine Arts team, but he does not lead that ministry. Therefore, he did not have a voice in decisions beyond the WAFA team prior to this structure. Yet his creativity, youthfulness, passion, and administrative gifts make him a great resource for the Management Team.

In his book, Sticky Teams, Larry Osborne says, "Ironically, most churches are started by young eagles. But soon after getting their nest built, nicely appointed, and fully furnished, they start to marginalize the next batch of young eagles, asking them to sit at the kids' table and wait for their turn at middle-aged leadership.

To counteract that natural tendency, I've made it a personal priority to make sure our young eagles have a place at our leadership table. I see it as my role to enhance their influence within our church, making sure they are supported, protected and listened to."

I couldn't agree more with Osborne. The Management Team is, in part, intended to create the opportunity for leadership among our young eagles. So far it's working beautifully. The team meets weekly for no more than 90 minutes.

Recently, the team executed an open house for our new facility, given only a few broad parameters from the Lead Team. It was awesome! They organized and led virtually every facet of the event. They've written an extreme winter weather policy to resolve the confusion between our ministries' responses to bad weather. They initiated an idea to creatively use our newly expanded facility in a way that has never been done before, and they'll plan and execute the entire process. They are seeing how significantly they can influence the ministry of Fairhaven Church, and they are invigorated by the opportunity.

Next week, Paul addresses "Step Four: Creation of a Lead Team."

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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