Team ministry is much more than a paid staff structure. Team Ministry is a group of disciples, bound together under Christ, committed to and working toward a shared vision. This means that the congregation, the pastors and other staff members work alongside each other as servant-leaders to expand the ministries of the church and meet the needs of others. Servant-leaders multiply their leadership by empowering others to lead, enabling and equipping all the baptized to live out their faith in daily life in the world.
Team Ministry is a more enduring model for the church. It means we are focused on our Vision and Mission and the ministries that support them, and are less dependent upon individual leaders. It allows all members of the team to grow, explore and learn; with ample room for people to become involved and new ideas to be generated.
BLCs history reflects the traditional model of many churches. It was defined by a narrow leadership team primarily consisting of a Senior Pastor mentoring a less experienced rostered staff person and some input from the laity. In this model many people support the work and ministries of the church, but are often not involved in shaping them. Team Ministry seeks leaders; pastoral, paid staff and laity; who work alongside each other in developing ministries and programs that expand our shared Vision and Mission.
The Team Ministry model at BLC would include two pastors who have equivalent experience; essentially two Senior Pastors. We would also expand the scope of the Director of Faith Formation to make a more substantial investment in our youth. These positions would be part-time. The most important aspect of these paid positions is that these people must share our Vision and Mission and work in partnership with our lay leaders to equip, coach, mentor and inspire our congregation to live out our commitments.
The Director of Faith Formation, in partnership with the Pastors and the Grow committee, would be responsible for creating, planning and ensuring the execution of an intergenerational ministry to instill in children and families the pillars of faith found in our baptismal promises. The Director would be responsible for partnering with other staff and the congregation to connect the youth with the overall ministry, mission, vision and commitments of BLC. The Director would also ensure the development and implementation of an adult continuing education plan.
BLC members have made it clear that the youth are vital to the future of our church. Hiring strong servant-leaders who are committed to Team Ministry and are willing to work part-time allows us to make a greater investment in forming faith among our youth, while attending to the needs of all ages, continue our robust worship tradition, and remain good financial stewards. We believe two experienced part-time pastors will bring strong and capable leadership, equivalent in scope to the previous full-time Senior/Associate model. The two pastors, being peers, will collaborate; utilizing their experiences, gifts, and talents to provide consistent support and accompaniment to the congregation.
The Search and Call committee will work with the pastors to balance the essential duties and responsibilities of the Senior Pastor between the two positions to ensure an orderly transition to team ministry. We anticipate there will be ongoing support as roles evolve and needs change impacting specific duties and responsibilities between the two pastors to ensure that the balance is appropriate, and is supporting the needs of the staff and the congregation.
We expect both pastors to support the congregation’s rhythms and ministries. This structure should support and not inhibit the life of the church. People may contact either pastor for officiating at wedding and funerals and we expect both pastors to be available for pastoral calls, counseling and support. Our normal office hours will continue to be supported and staffed and the congregation will be notified of any vacations, as is the practice today. A specific reporting and accountability structure, although not yet defined, will be developed, mutually agreed upon, and clearly communicated to the congregation.
We would expect the entire staff to meet periodically as group, somewhat frequently in the transition period. This time would be spent aligning programs, ensuring objectives are understood and reviewing prior weeks’ accomplishments and areas that need adjustment or attention. At least during the transition period, we will have lay leadership attend these meetings. We would expect the office staff and the Director of Faith Formation would have regular meetings with both pastors in attendance to ensure clarity of roles and objectives.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church
48 Perrin Street
Fairport, NY 14450
Rev. Abigail Zang Hoffman
Rev. Amy Walter-Peterson
Photographs featured on https://blcfairport.org/ are used in good faith, may not be reproduced, and do not constitute an endorsement by or from the people featured or likeness.