New Regional Staffing Supports Stronger Ministry

Date Posted: 
Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Far West Region has reorganized its staffing structure to better align with regional priorities. The new structure will also empower classes to provide more leadership in regional collaborative efforts.

“It’s about not wanting to take power away from the classes,” says Glenn Spyksma, who serves on the Far West’s leadership team under the new structure. “We want to decentralize but provide some oversight and support for them. It’s a culmination of things we’ve been working on for quite a few years.”

For the past 11 years, the synod has appointed one regional strategist to serve as a liaison to each classis. The regional strategist for each classis has had to provide leadership in many different areas, including church planting,revitalization, church health, commissioned pastors, and leadership development.

As each of these ministry areas gained momentum, it became more challenging for the regional strategists to provide the level of leadership needed in every area. “With the strategists, whatever that strategist’s passion [was], that’s where that classis tend[ed] to move a little more,” says Spyksma. The strategists could only focus in a limited number of directions, so they tended to focus more on whichever areas were closest to their hearts, he adds.

Far West Region leaders realized that a greater level of specialization in leadership would enable systems and resources in each ministry area to continue to grow; it would also prevent unnecessary duplication of efforts across classes.

Going forward, one person at the regional level will provide leadership for each of the Far West Region’s four identified ministry priorities.The regional leader and one person from each of the six classes will form a leadership team for each area. The leadership team will regularly interact face to face and online to share ideas, collaborate, and work through any issues that might come up.

The four regional priority leaders are known as the servant team. Bruce Bugbee is the regional point person focused on getting the right people in the right roles, such as working with pastoral transitions and search team processes. Karl Overbeek has taken the lead for a team focused on church health, and Mike Hayes provides leadership for church planting and other missional efforts.

Spyksma’s role revolves around what the region calls “empowering culture,” or nurturing and supporting lay leaders within the church to step up to what God has called and gifted them to do.

“In an empowering culture, the pastor’s role is still to preach the Word and administer the sacraments, but all leaders within the church move the church forward,” says Spyksma. “In the old style the pastor directed the church. In the new one, we see them mentoring and coaching a lot more.”

The new staffing structure was implemented on January 1.

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