The above structure was adopted by Church Council in September of 2017 to take effect in February of 2018, per the motion of LEADFirst. It follows the trend of most very large churches that creates a more streamlined structure at the top that facilitates:
- The multiplication of leadership and ministries throughout the church according to our congregational vision
- A partnership between the congregation and church staff in ministry implementation.
So the answer to the question, “Who runs the church, laity or staff?” is “They partner together.” The role of the Church Council is:
- To communicate and facilitate our vision,
- To make sure our ministries are developing to their greatest impact through strong partnership with congregation and staff,
- To resource our ministries with information and funding and
- To guide the church in meeting major opportunities or challenges.
While this structure is more streamlined, it is designed to spread out with higher impact and flexibility, even able to add new positions as needed.
In very large congregations, effective ministry is best facilitated with a staff liaison relationship for the various ministries. As liaisons, they do not chair or sit in on all the committees and task forces, but rather are there for resourcing. For instance, the Outreach Arena of ministry consists of three villages that are developing rapidly: Greater Round Rock Village, You, the Body Village (including regional efforts and “Friends of First Church”) and our International Village (Panama, Sierra Leone and others to come). Each of these villages will sponsor efforts that will require teams to develop to meet that missional need with designated leaders. New leadership for substantial efforts are developed and deployed. The staff liaison (Associate Pastor) could not possibly be at all the meetings but would be available for resourcing and guidance as well as provide a conduit to Church Council.
Another example would be Trustees (a committee with 9 persons). The First Match Campaign was led by a short-term team to allow for effective promotion and connection with knowledgeable people in the areas of concern: Trees, HVAC Maintenance, and Security. Following the campaign, there now is an Emergency Preparedness Team of 8 persons (including laypersons and staff) with its chair that reports to Trustees that is handling the security aspects from the monies raised (bringing specific expertise for medical, weather, and safety concerns). Then there is a Critical Incident Team of 4 persons (led by some of our Law Enforcement folks) with its chair that reports to the Emergency Preparedness Team to lead us toward the best strategies for preventing and dealing with the threat of violence (including training of our Ushers, Greeters, Andrew Ministry and Parking Posse). The primary staff liaison for Trustees is Cindy Thompson.
It doesn’t take long to consider what this kind of effort could mean for the crucially important Communications Arena: a Website Team, a Publicity/Advertisement Team, a Live Stream Team, a Troubleshooting Team, a Video Team, a Social Media team, etc. We know these talents are already at First Church, but not anywhere near fully deployed. Betty Robertson is the liaison and facilitator of this ministry.
This multiplication of teams allows people to serve where they are most gifted for the short term and long term. Churches of our size have discovered that this more streamlined structure allows for a greater proliferation of ministries and the development and deployment of many more leaders in the congregation.
Note the following: The other administrative bodies (Board of Trustees, Finance Committee, Staff-Parish Relations Committee, LEADFirst, and Annual Conference delegates) all remain the same as before. The budget will not be approved by the more streamlined Council, but rather go through a process in which there is a budget team that builds the budget in response to our other administrative committees and ministries, presents it to Finance, and then approval is made in a Church Conference gathering.
Stay tuned…next week, the slate of officers for Church Council and our Administrative Committees will be shared.
Leadership Education and Development at First Church, or LEADFirst is charged with the identifying, developing, training, and deploying Christian spiritual leadership within our congregational community. In conducting its work, the committee engages in biblical and theological reflections on the total ministry and mission of the church and tries to identify those persons who hold the spiritual gifts necessary, as well as showing the fruits of those gifts, in order that the leadership ranks of the congregation might be best served.
The committee is composed of nine persons who are full members of First Church who are elected to their positions at charge conference. The committee is led by our two Lay Leaders and the senior pastor. 2017 Chair: Rob Putney.
The church council is the group of elected leaders who guide and further the ministry of the congregation. The council exists to create and supervise the strategic plan for an effective congregation.
Membership on the church council is determined by election at charge conference each year on recommendation of the LEADFirst Committee. Members serve three year terms in three rotating classes. However, this is an open meeting and all are invited to attend. 2017 Chair: Jim Ruth.
The Finance Committee is a body of nine elected members who serve three year terms. The committee oversees the submission of the yearly budget to the Church Council, is charged with developing and implementing plans that will raise sufficient income to meet that operational budget and then to administer the funds as directed by the instructions of the church council. All members of the Committee and its officers are bonded financial representatives for the congregation. 2017 Chair: Steve Hayman.
Staff Parish Relations Committee
The Staff Parish Relations Committee is one of the principal administrative committees of a United Methodist Church. The main duties of the committee relate to personnel and staffing, including setting priorities, establishing responsibilities, evaluating performance, overseeing matters pertaining to salaries, benefits, continuing education, and working with the District Superintendent and Bishop on clergy appointments.
Our SPR Committee consists of nine elected members who serve for three-year terms and also includes our lay leaders and one representative lay delegate to Annual Conference. 2017 Chair: Jamie Fickey.
The trustees have oversight for all facilities, grounds, maintenance, risk management, accessibility and security issues. 2017 Chair: Lucretia Lehrmann.