Who is keeping an eye on all of this stuff?
The Orchard Group is the support network behind our church planting effort. There are a variety of ways we are encouraged by their involvement, but recently we experienced one of their greatest blessings – a Management Team.
All non-profit organizations need a Board of some kind. Churches often utilize an Elder Board to meet this requirement. New churches can struggle to name elders because they are focused on reaching new people. It is rare that the first people who join a new church would be elders. It’s usually the case that mature Christ followers are growing and serving in their current churches. New churches appeal to unsettled seekers, not typically the mature and devoted elder types.
To avoid prematurely naming elders, our Board is composed of senior church leaders from around the county. They gather on a quarterly basis to support us. They keep tabs on our personal health and well-being. They ask critical questions about what we are doing and who we are becoming. They provide accountability and encouragement. They oversee our vision and theology, our mission and strategy, our staffing and finances.
In some ways it feels like being in college. Parents are often still aware and involved in what’s happening with a college-aged student. But the goal is to get closer and closer to independence. This maturing takes a couple of years (some faster than others), and each year should lead to greater autonomy.
Eventually, this Team will hand over the responsibilities of shepherding and overseeing City Coast to a group of local elders. This is part of how Orchard establishes new churches rather than just launches new churches. It’s a gift of immeasurable worth.
We have mature Christ followers investing in the leadership of our church, and we have a long runway for growing those types of servant leaders within our new faith community.
…shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock (1 Peter 5.2-3, ESV).