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Greetings Everyone! I am wondering if anyone knows if there is some sort of records or database regarding how many churches in the CRC have made the transition from a traditional Council structure to a model where Elders and Deacons are split into administrative and pastoral type roles? (Probably wishful thinking I know)! This is something our church is considering, and for some members this is a very new concept. A question was raised wondering how many churches have adopted this model. I am confident that the answer is many ... but wondering if I could in good conscience say 50%? 75%? etc.



At Church of the Servant, where I am a member, we adopted this three-part council around 1991. The Admin committee met weekly for one hour, and ran rather smoothly. However, as the church grew, the number of pastoral elders and working deacons grew with it to meet growing demands, and the council grew to an unwieldy 40+ members. So a couple of years ago, we reverted to a two-part council, reduced its size, delegated some pastoral duties to appointed volunteers, and added a staff person to handle the administrative matters.

So, I wonder if the three-part system works better in mid-size churches (300-600 members). I also work for Second Byron CRC, with about 400 members, and we are  just recommending a shift to a three-part system. We want to assign a few elders and deacons, with a pastor, to an Administrative Committee, which would replace our current Executive Committee, and handle all the routine supervision--facilities, finances, and staff. We would reduce the number of council meetings to six from its current 11 or 12. We hope that this will allow council to focus on its main leadership roles in encouraging ministry, and reduce the micro-management that plagues so many church councils, including this one. 

As we start on this road, I would really like to hear from others who had positive or negative experience with such organizational patterns. I don't see this change as a panacea for all our problems, but so far I think it will be a positive step, if we can accompany it with a new focus on vision and relationship, rather than being stuck in a management mode.

Thanks Richard for your input. Your position with Second  Byron CRC sounds very familiar, this closey resembles the approach we are trying to take here. We believe that being intentional about the use of gifts is very important, and that we are currently using way too many people to maintain an innefficient and inneffective structure. We are proposing to set up a Council where all Elders,Deacons, and Pastors meet quarterly. ( More if needed).  The Administration Team would meet monthly, or again, more as needed. The Pastoral Care Teams, along with appropriate Elders,Deacons, and Pastors would meet bi-monthly. Our hope and prayer is that the right people are put in the right place, and that the day to day business can be dealt with by a much smaller body. This will also significantly reduce the amount of meetings that Elders and Deacons need to attend, they would be freed up for the ministry work they are called to do. Like you, I would love to hear from anyone who has gone through this transition, I am sure it is not an easy one to make. Thanks again Richard, blessings in your work!

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