“Creature of the Word” Panel Discussion after Session 3
Matt: In regards to community, the staff gets together and worships and prays once a month. We have a staff retreat once a year that is not work-based. Just community, gratitude, enjoying and celebrating the work of God. These are some things we do internally, as a staff, to help build community.
How does the staff’s community trickle out to the rest of the church?
Matt: We want to create lanes so that everything flows to the rest of the church. Discipleship isn’t listening to preaching and walking through a book, but life on life, gritty, risky relationships. Church isn’t clean. Whatever model you choose (Sunday School, home groups, etc.), church is messy because people are involved. Don’t over-romanticize what the process looks like.
The plane never lands. You’ve got to fix the plane in flight. That’s why it’s hard. Multiplication means we want to be a sending place in every way possible.
No one is irreplaceable. The messenger goes in the ground, but the message goes on.
Josh: Cemeteries are consistent reminders that no one is irreplaceable.
Eric: You’ve got organizational things in place, but also 0rganic things happening. I like the language – that both organic and organization are in sync.
Josh: Discipleship doesn’t happen in a linear fashion. It’s a zig zag, happening all the time in all different ways.
Eric: It’s assimilation and formation. They need to be in sync, but they’re not the same thing.
As a staff, what you have here at The Village is special. What do you do if you find yourself in a staff that doesn’t connect organically and naturally?
Josh: We’ve got a mixed bag of people on staff. What binds us is not that we’re compatible in terms of our preferences. The idea is to intentionally create opportunities to get together, celebrate each other, and get to know one another. Be intentional about creating a healthy community on your staff. If you’re not friends with the people you work with, it’s much harder.
Matt: Pastors have been trained to avoid risk and potential betrayal. It’s true. You can be betrayed. But there’s something far worse – to be in the trench all by yourself. You build trust slowly with your team as you work together, disagree with robust dialogue, work through life together, etc. You grow together over time.
What are the metrics to determine whether or not people are maturing? How do we know when God is at work and maturation is taking place?
Josh: Metrics are good. You need them. But they have limitations and only tell half the story. We’ve become reductionistic to the point we equate metrics to success. If Christlikeness is the goal, then that is long, slow, and arduous. It becomes very appealing for a pastor to point to metrics rather than knowing that the end of the fight is over only in glory. The discerning leader needs to look at metrics and at other things that cannot be measured numerically.
How do we lead courageously with strength and decrease at the same time?
Matt: There is a humble way to yield strength. You do it in marriage, with your children or anyone else you lead. A willingness to hear and listen, to understand, and to speak truth in love. We’ve been willing to have the hard conversations and not let things fester. Treat people as souls, not commodities.