Since that first meeting in a basement 10 years ago, ReCAST Church has experienced waves of growth. It has been God’s Grace that the waves have been spaced out to allow for acclimation each step of the way. This is not a minor thing. It would be problematic for a church to experience little to no growth, but it can actually be equally problematic for a church to experience too much growth too quickly. God has given us times between the waves to make adjustments and to help people to grow and acclimate. We wouldn’t mind the flood, if the only goal was to grow in numbers. But we want to be growing in faith, growing in community, and growing in service.
Some of our adjustments in the past have taken the form of physical shifts. We have moved furniture and adjusted the meeting space, added chairs, and even switched locations in order to accommodate our growth. We have added programs, added staff, and added elders at various points to help share the shepherding and administration.
And now, as ReCAST Church has grown to be about 300 each week, there are some new challenges that have brought the elders board to decide to seek an associate pastor of community and service. And so here are three reasons it is time to pursue adding pastoral staff.
1. It is dangerous to go alone.
Every Sunday I get up and introduce myself as the lead pastor of ReCAST Church, but in all honesty, I am the only paid pastor at ReCAST church. There is a danger in even the appearance that we are a one man show. There are so many people that work to make ReCAST a great place for kids. There are many people who volunteer hours making excellent coffee on Sunday morning. There are many people who use their musical talents to lead our praise times. But even with all of these excellent volunteers and an excellent staff, the impression remains that there is one man in spiritual authority.
An associate pastor would bring a secondary pastoral authority to the church to share the load of administration, counseling, and leading.
2. Don will burn out.
Even writing that sentence in the third person feels funny, but it is absolutely true. I love people. I have always sought to be as open and honest and authentic as possible. But about a year ago, I could sense a withdrawal within me that I couldn’t pin-point. After some time away, I realized that this is what it feels like to be at the edge of relational capacity. As the church has approached 300 I have found my capacity to remember names diminishing. As much as I would love to get to know everyone on a personal level, it just isn’t feasible. The elders were gracious to give me a month long sabbatical to rest and recover. And in that process we also talked about the need for an associate pastor.
An associate pastor will bring in another man, with a different personality and different connectedness in order to multiply the pastoral effectiveness of the church leadership.
3. Community groups have not kept pace with church growth.
As the church has grown, our uptake of community groups has not grown with it. In part this has been due to the lack of a focus toward this vital aspect of our church ministry. We need better organization, we need consistent training, and we need better recruitment for community group leaders. All of this requires a focused level of administration that has often fallen on the office administrator (my wife).
We are a church that has a simple plan for growth in faith, community and service. It seems like we have been hitting one well (faith), another half well (service), and the other not very well (community). To be honest, we have a stellar number of people serving in various capacities throughout the church. But I am not sure that they recognize the value of their areas of ministry. And when it comes to community groups, a little training, a little recruitment, and a little encouragement could make a huge difference.
An associate pastor would be an administrative champion for the areas of community and service.
I believe that we are at the right time for this next move. The elders agree and so we will be posting a job description and begin receiving resumés for this position soon. I am excited about this next step in the history of our church. And maybe we will have someone in place before we need to talk about the next adjustment of going to two services.