Effective Pastoral Connections In the Larger Church

A critique of the “silo system” that happens by default and a call to Great Commission pastoral relationships. In churches over 250, pastoral staff often embrace their major assignment only, care for that silo effectively, become administrators of their major area, check on pastoral care on their assigned days, and maybe disciple a few.

This is a plea to add “horizontal” relationships to build people and the church. It looks like this:
Adam is the senior and preaching pastor. Bob has groups and discipleship. Chuck has worship. Don has youth. (There are women on staff and a few others part-time, but I choose simplicity for this overview.)

A normal pattern: each stays in his area, with collaboration as led by the senior, and each takes a “care day” or week to follow up emergencies and special needs. Good friends and staff members encourage and help each other some, but mostly become administrators of their own areas.

A proposal and very workable and effective alternative:
New part-time director of seniors: 65+ people are his love and concern

Adam: He is 54, and adds the care and discipleship and outreach concerns for people in their 50’s up to 65 (generally).

Don or Chuck: 35-50. Whichever staff member is poised to give discipleship opportunities and pastoral care and love for this age group, adds that to his folder.

Bob: young marrieds up to early 30’s.

Don or Chuck: college and singles up to late 30’s.

This kind of assignment of concern and relationship takes minimal time but brings deliberate strategy and care for each age element in the church. Usually done in 5-10 hours a week.

Responsibilities in this “horizontal” responsibility related to age segments:

  1. Read and think about what others are doing for evangelism and growth in that age segment.
  2. Become pastor and advisor for Sunday and home groups made up of people in that age group. Start new ones.
  3. Begin a discipleship-accountability group of 3-6 other men in that age group, to forge relationships and share vision and management of that area (first building character and spiritual vitality).
  4. Give emergency care or shepherding for these people.
  5. Represent their needs and hopes in staff strategy planning.
  6. Pray for this people group regularly.

Advantages: gives each staff pastor a “flock,” often helping with longevity of stay at the church….helps with specific evangelism and outreach for these different groups, other than the main church efforts…..helps the involved people of the church see others as their pastor and friend, not just the one in the pulpit….promotes strong discipleship for those who are willing….changes some staff members from silo administrators to pastors of people….may cut down on computer reading and busy work….works well!