Greetings church family,

This week I have been very encouraged by some testimonies of God at work in our church community:

  • through church members visiting and caring for each other 
  • through Marian’s message
  • through meals and care packages provided for households in isolation with covid
  • through God’s presence impacting people during our worship and prayer ministry on Sunday
  • through people offering their time to paint fences
  • through the online Karakia page and the stories that are emerging from around our nation

I’m blessed to be part of this church!

Just a reminder about our church meeting this Sunday 24th July, after the morning service.  The main focus of our church meeting is the budget, as summarized in our email last week. 

In order for us to respond to specific budget related questions during the meeting, it would be helpful if you could email me in advance.

The agenda for the meeting will be:

  1. Welcome and prayer
  2. Budget and loan repayment project
  3. General business
  4. Pastoral update
  5. Prayer

The leadership team also mentioned that we would provide more information about the permanent executive pastor role.  This is offered below in a question/answer format.  Recently a few people have asked for clarity about the staff structure and the process of appointing this position, which may be helpful for others as well.  

Without exception, all of the feedback I have received about Penny in this role has been positive and affirming of this decision.  I have clearly seen the Holy Spirit’s guidance through the body of Christ during this discernment process.

Grace and peace


Executive Pastor role

Here is some more information about the role in a question and answer format:

What are the key focus areas of the executive pastor role?

There are three main focus areas: employment relations/supporting the staff in their roles, strengthening volunteer led ministries, and working with the senior pastor and leadership team thinking and planning strategically for the years ahead.

What has the appointment process looked like?

The leadership team has made this permanent part time appointment, with the recommendation of the senior pastor, in accordance with our constitution and advice from the Baptist National Administrator.  This follows a successful interim trial, review of structures, feedback and prayerful discernment.

Who does the executive pastor and other staff report to?  

Senior pastor reports to the leadership team.  Executive pastor reports to senior pastor.  All other staff now report to executive pastor.

This structure maintains healthy alignment of the ministry of all of the staff team.  While there is a clear line of accountability, we also seek to work collaboratively as a team that reflects a “priesthood of all believers” in the body of Christ, modelling shared respect rather than hierarchy.  

What other church structures are Baptist churches utilising?

Currently there are many different pastoral staff structures represented in the Baptist movement.  This includes: co-pastoring (having two people share the senior pastor role – ideally a male and a female pastor); campus model (where a church chooses to relinquish its autonomy to work under the leadership of another church – in this scenario the campus lead pastor is able to put their best energy into ministry and mission, rather than operations); team led (having a team of equal pastors with no senior pastor); senior/executive pastoral team (having an executive pastor to focus on operations working closely with the senior pastor).  In our setting at FBC, this last option seemed the most suitable step.  It is interesting to observe the value of each of these different NZ Baptist church structures, and to remain open to how God may lead our church in the future.

Why is it called “executive pastor” and how does it relate to other pastoral titles?

Under the NZ Baptist framework for pastors, this role is the same level as an “associate pastor”, so that title was another option.  The word “executive” indicates some of the specific focus areas that sit with the operational side of pastoral ministry.  (In the same way that “children and families pastor” indicates focus on a specific area of ministry.)  “Executive pastor” acknowledges the changing needs of church ministry which require a professional grasp of operations, finance, employment law, and volunteer supports in the not for profit sector.  However, the most important word is “pastor”.  In a church, operations are inseparable from the care of people.  This role is not a director, manager, executive officer or business leader, but a pastor.

Why do we need this?

Under our church structure, the senior pastor role carries the responsibility for all of the ministry, management, and mission of the church.  Whilst these areas sit within Tim’s strengths and passions, there is often a tension between the spiritual vs operational needs of pastoral ministry.  Delegating some of the operational responsibilities to an executive pastor role enables Tim / senior pastor to have increasing focus on the spiritual health of the church.   

Are we going to replace the full time youth pastor and other full time associate pastors?

We deeply value the ministry of our previous pastors.  We also believe that youth ministry is vital in our church.  Unfortunately it is not sustainable to replace these roles as they were, and staff reductions have been the only realistic pathway forward in this season.  Again, the strategic focus for staff moving forward needs to be equipping volunteers.  Appointing a permanent executive pastor is an important part of this wider strategy.

When it comes to fulltime associate pastors, many would consider it more valuable to have 3x separate part time roles that add up to a fulltime equivalent.  It may be subjective, but part time pastoral staff can be seen as a positive approach to provide connection with a greater range of people, with more focused specialised ministry.  

Is 10 hours per week sufficient for the executive pastor role?

Barely.  20 hours per week would be more ideal for the executive pastor role.  In addition to this, Penny offers considerable experience in other areas of pastoral ministry.  Therefore a fulltime role could easily be filled with the strengths she brings.  However, 10 hours is what we can realistically afford at this time.

If the interim role was initiated to help Tim’s burnout recovery, why do we still need it now that he has recovered?

An executive pastor role had been considered by the leadership team for many years (even before Tim’s arrival).  In addition to this, the senior pastor and other staff have absorbed other pastoral tasks and responsibilities from Luke and Steve’s role, while the staff team has reduced from roughly 7.0FTE to around 4.0FTE church-facing time.  There is still a need to keep shifting toward volunteer-led ministries, yet the post-covid challenges related to this have increased.

The interim role enabled us to trial this, and it has proven to be helpful.  Penny brings expertise to the team that fits well with this direction.

What has the role looked like over the last year?

In the interim role, Penny has provided leadership and accountability structures for the staff team.  This includes revision of individual employment agreements, human resource policies, and staff reviews.  In addition to this, since she started there have been some unexpected pastoral challenges, such as lockdowns; ongoing organising teams amidst staff and volunteer isolation disruptions; the transition of children and families pastor and related review of that role, advertising, interview process, and managing of current volunteer leaders.  Tasks which would otherwise have fallen back on Tim. Some of the other unexpected challenges this year have required extensive follow up with other organisations, legal input, and health and safety review.  Overall, this has clearly reinforced the value of this role.

Is Penny the right person for the executive pastor role?

Yes.  As a qualified experienced senior pastor in a previous setting, Penny also holds a degree in Business Management.  She has a high level of trust and credibility within Franklin Baptist Church. The last year has demonstrated the value of her ministry.  We have received only positive feedback about Penny’s ministry and affirmation for her in this role, and we are grateful that God has placed her here.

We ask for your continued prayer for Penny, and for all of those involved in ministry at Franklin Baptist Church.

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