Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Mystery of PCC's Steering Team

I've been consulted lately by several churches looking to re-structure their primary leadership teams. These are called different things in different places - Elders, Deacons, The Board, the Senior Leadership Group.  We call them the Steering Team, and this is one of the places at our church that is really, really effective.

I know there is a lot of mystery around PCC's Steering Team and what they 'do'.  It's one of those things that's actually hard to describe until you've been in it for a while.  But I can tell you this: there is no group of people more vital to our church's heartbeat than these leaders on this team.

Their specific job is to manage the Senior Pastor (me) and to approve policy.  But practically, they do so much more.  They help me keep my fingers on the pulse of what's happening.  Because their is a high level of trust, we're able to have real and healthy conflict, put the real issues on the table, and get to the bottom of things.  I can assure you, they are a critical part of making PCC happen and they consistently make me better than I am.

What are some of the things the Steering team does and does not do?  Here's a sampling:

  • Help make critical and sometimes difficult decisions.  The ST walked through the entire building process with me.  The kinds of decisions we were making then would make or break the church.  The ST helped us navigate those waters.  They also helped figure out what to do with our budget when the economy crashed a couple of years ago.  It was excruciating.  I wouldn't have wanted to do that alone.
  • When we are moving to a new leadership paradigm.  As an organization gets larger, it's structure has to change.  'What got you here won't get you there' is the general principal.  So, when we're doing a major restructuring, the ST helps ask the questions I don't even think about.
  • Major shifts in strategy.  Like launching a new campus or when we stopped our Saturday night service or when we went to 2 services, moved to the high school, bought our land, etc.  Sometimes I'm just looking for them to speak into something, not actually make the decision.  Either way, they are a huge help and influence when we are making a significant change.
  • Protecting the church - both practically and in reputation.  Nobody likes to talk about this, and I'm glad this is rare - very rare - at PCC. But it does happen.  If someone has been accused of a crime against children, how we react and what we permit that person to do or not do at our church and whether or not they are even able to come to church is all highly sensitive.  There are a million opinions and everyone feels passionate about theirs.  We handle this with great care.  The ST is involved and makes incredibly wise decisions here.  
  • Me.  Well, to make it accurate, the Senior Pastor.  But for the moment, that'  I'm capable of working myself into an unhealthy place.  I'm capable of making decisions too fast and without enough information.  I'm capable of neglecting my family and even my spiritual life.  And Susan and I are both capable of neglecting our marriage.  Many people would find these temptations familiar.  At PCC, we know that the quickest way for the enemy to melt our church down would be to melt me or my family down.  One of our safeguards against this is the Steering Team.  They poke around and ask hard questions about my personal life.  There is no area of my life they are not allowed to talk about or ask about.  And they ask Susan, too. I trust them.  I've asked them to do this.  It makes me healthy and the church healthy.     
There are also some notable things the ST does NOT do, but I'll save that for another day.  Just trying to peel back some of the mystery here.  Hope it helps.

1 comment:

jf said...

I have a question. How do members of the steering team get nominated and either confirmed or rejected?