As our team has started developing for The Philly Project, we have intentionally been slow to talk about roles. We made this decision for a few reasons.
First, a church plant is like a baby, rapidly changing and developing. As a result, a role that needs to be staffed in month one may be different than a role that needs to be staffed in month 9.
Second, roles will change based on our context. If we wind up planting in a neighborhood without any teenagers, we may not need a youth pastor.
Our philosophy has been to focus on getting the right people on the bus, and then addressing roles once the team is defined. Instead of committing to a position, we're asking our team to commit to the mission and values of our new church, the people of Philadelphia, and to Leah and I personally as leaders.
Of course, the challenge this approach creates is the tension of developing and defining roles within the team after it's been formed. This will be an important process for us that will be informed by our mission as a church, the needs of our target neighborhood, and the gifts of each team member.
This afternoon I met with Jane Patterson. Jane is a professional leadership coach who specializes in team coaching. She is also a member of Allison Park Church and a believer in the Philly Project. She is volunteering her time to coach our team as we continue to develop relationally, spiritually, and strategically. So thankful for her generous help!
Today she reminded me that every member of a team fulfills two distinct roles.
- Outer Roles: This is the more obvious role and includes the tasks of ministry as outlined on a job description.
- Inner Roles: This is the less obvious role and includes the personality that each team member contributes to the team. For example, each team needs inner roles like big picture thinkers and process thinkers; strategic people and tactical people, optimists and pessimists. Jane pointed out that even a complainer or two can be helpful so that venting can happen in a natural way within the life of a team.
It was a great conversation and opportunity for me to think about the development of our team. And it made me even more thankful for the variety of gifts and personalities that are represented on our team so far!