Just a few days ago our Minister with Children and Youth, Michael Kellett, submitted his resignation, effective July 30, 2016. As he assessed his vocational call, his ministry skills, and his sense of God’s will for his next commitment of care, he introduces an important issue for our church in regard to the best combination of ministerial staff for the future vision of God’s call to RRCB.
Only four years ago our ministerial staff included a senior pastor, an Associate Pastor (Adults & Education), a Music Minister, a Youth Minister, and a Children’s Minister. In the absence of a Children’s and Youth Minister, we combined those two full-time positions into one full-time position, calling it a “Minister with Children and Youth,” with a challenging agenda that few persons can deliver well. In the absence of a full-time Associate Pastor for Adults, we created a part-time interim position for Christian Education (Libby Grammer), and a part-time interim position “Minister of Pastoral Care,” which I’ve been filling for over four and a half years now—with the “interim” removed. We called a full-time Minister of Music in 2011 (Bob Gallagher), and, with Mike Clingenpeel’s retirement, we added Chester Phelps as a part-time Minister of Visitation. In the meantime, we also went from a full-time Administrator to part-time (Billy Burford), and added some responsibility to the Office Manager’s position (LeAnne Lane).
The arrival of a new pastor gives that person—and the church—an opportunity to shape a new staff—in many ways. Will the current plan of three full-time ministers and two part-time ministers shape a viable and energizing staff? Should we “rearrange” our current roles to a better, newer distribution of ministry? I’ve no doubt that River Road Church, Baptist, is firmly committed to a solid pulpit and music ministry as a priority in our staff leadership; Now– what other dimensions and possibilities are ours to dream next, to envision, and sustain? Are we, with fewer numbers, now committed to a reduced ministerial level—or can a congregation that just recently raised almost two million dollars for an organ refurbishing-rise to the challenge of sustaining an “optimal” ministerial presence–and what might that look like? Only time and inspiration may tell!