“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”*
When talking about star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, maybe.
When talking about churches, ministry strategy, and staffing, not-so-much.
What we do as a church matters, and so does what we call what we do.
A few weeks ago, I shared with our church in our monthly business conference some exciting changes underway in our ministry strategy, and staffing at JCBC. Some of those changes have meant the introduction of some new words; fresh ways to speak of what we do and who we are. I want to take this opportunity to share more about those words and what is behind some of our new lingo.
First, a question.
Why are we here? The church, that is. Beyond just the existential question, practically speaking, why do we exist as a congregation? What are the functions of a church that are vital and necessary, and inherent to our very existence?
While those questions can be (and certainly are) answered in a hundred different ways, with a thousand different words, there are five words we have been using to organize ourselves for the work of ministry here at JCBC.
They are: Connections, Formations, Mobilization, Operations, and Worship
1. Connections. Connections is the word we are using to describe all the ways we nurture and sustain intentional Christian community. It involves all of our newcomer integration strategies such as: greeters, hospitality hubs, guest meals, and our 4D orientation class. But more than that, our connections ministry is not just about getting connected, but also about staying connected. When a family experiences loss, or sickness, for example, our Connections Division aims to make sure no one is isolated or forgotten. In other words, Connections is another way to describe our Pastoral Care ministry. That is why David White who has served as Minister of Pastoral Care, will now assume a new title: Connections Pastor. David is uniquely skilled and passionate about this kind of ministry. Simply put, David is a connector. He leads (instinctively) with the kind of spiritual intuition our Connections Division needs, and will serve that ministry well.
2. Formations. Formations is the all-inclusive word we are using to describe how we develop, nurture and grow individual Christians into deeper and more mature followers of Jesus. Our Formations Division includes all of the kinds of programming you might associate with intentional spiritual growth and development. Programs such as Education, Sunday School, Youth Ministry, Children’s Ministries and Preschool Ministries all find a home within our Formations Division. Leading and overseeing this area will be Michael McCullar. For many years, Michael served in the role of Executive Pastor, providing quality leadership not only in teaching, but also in a wide array of administrative and operational responsibilities. At the core of Michael’s calling, however, beats the heart of a teacher/educator/equipper. It’s not hard to notice that it is in those areas of ministry where Michael’s skill and passion come most alive. For that reason, he is uniquely suited to lead our Formations Division. That is why Michael will be transitioning to this focused area of ministry, with a new title: Formations Pastor.
3. Mobilization. Mobilization is the word we are using to describe the process of enabling members to discover and live out their own God-given call. If we mean what we say, when we say that every member is a minister, and that all are called to have an impact in the work of ministry, then the church must be organized in a way to back up that belief. There must be a mechanism in place to help members mobilize their faith in practical, tangible ways. That is where our Mobilization Division will lead the way. Mobilization not only includes all of our Missions efforts locally and globally, it is also the division responsible for continually nurturing a missional mindset within the heart of the congregation. At present, this focus is being led by all of our staff, in a shared way. A good example is our current iMAGINEXT emphasis. Currently, this kind of effort is “all-hands-on-deck.” But, what is vital, and what will be of highest priority in the coming months will be the call of a Mobilization Pastor to lead this division of our ministry. Having quality pastoral leadership in our member mobilization process will ensure that a conversation as powerful as iMAGINEXT, moves from being a temporary movement to a full blown ministry.
4. Operations. Operations is the word we are using to describe a wide array of internal systems that undergird and keep all the ministries moving. These are the crucial ministries that you barely notice, unless something has gone wrong. It includes building management and maintenance, our I.T. systems, human resources, communications, website, media technology and finance, to name a few. Previously, the Church Administrator has provided oversight and management for these ministries. We have been fortunate to have Richard Eason providing excellent, steady leadership in this area, in an interim capacity. Moving forward, when a permanent person is in place, the title will change to Director of Operations.
5. Worship. Worship may be the most self-explanatory of all five words. This is why we gather together as a body. We assemble ourselves in the company of God and one another to acknowledge God as the supreme authority and ruler of our hearts. We gather not only to lift up & praise, but also to open up & be formed by the power of God’s Spirit working within us. Each week, Glenn Crosthwait provides superb leadership in organizing and orchestrating the dozens of moving parts that worship entails. For that reason, and for consistency, Glenn’s title will shift from Minister of Music to Worship Pastor.
In addition to these changes in how we organize our ministry, there are two other title changes to notice. Both Minister to Children and Minister to Youth have been changed to Children’s Pastor and Youth Pastor, to more accurately describe the full measure of pastoral ministries those positions entail.
Our hopes in reorganizing, re-aligning, and relabeling is to bring into focus a larger, shared vision-path to what we do, why we do it, and what we call it.
So, what’s in a name?
Clarity. Function. Purpose. Alignment. Synergy. Vision. Call…to name a few.
Johns Creek Baptist Church
*(Romeo and Juliet, II,ii,1-2)