Changes afoot
November 20, 2008, 11:20 am
Filed under: college ministry, denomination, inter::mission

When I woke up this morning, and sat down with Americano #1, I looked out my home office window to see a beautiful orange and pink and purple sunrise sky.  It’s a nice way to greet the day.  But now, just a few hours later, I’m looking out at the trees blowing in the wind in front of a dark grey, ominous canopyh, and watching the rain fall.  The speed of change in the weather reminds me of my emotional state lately – I’ve been a moody roller coaster.

But that’s not what this blog post is about. 

I mentioned a few days ago that I spent time at some denominational meetings last week, where some significant changes were being decided upon.  I’ve had several questions about what that means, so I’ll try to describe that briefly – anything more than brief will be boring for you and probably frustrating for me!  Please do yourself a favor and click away from this if it gets boring anyway – I won’t be offended.

The regional denominational body that I work for encompasses all of Washington, Oregon, and Northern Idaho.  The vote last week that was passed is going to rearrange the way we do what we do.  Rather than some of the field staff people like me being distributed into 14 different zones (or associations as we call them), and being given different kinds of job responsibilities – collegiate ministry, church planting, etc. – and other having “departmental” positions at the home office – disaster relief, children’s ministry, evangelism, etc., we’re flattening our structure.  Instead of 14 zones, we’ll now have only six.  And rather than having some staff at the home office, almost all of the staff will be redistributed into the six zones.  And everybody will be given one of two job titles – either Church Planting Strategist or Church Health and Evangelism Strategist.  Just those two things – no more sub-departments.  My denomination has always attempted to focus on the local church, and this shift very heavily attempts to move us in that direction.

There are some things that I really like about this change.  I like flatter organizational structures – there is usually more potential for creativity and collaboration.  I also like that each zone will develop its own set of strategies, based on the culture of that particular region.  Southern Oregon has a very different culture than Seattle, so there’s an ability to develop custom strategies . . . theoretically, anyway.

The down side to the changes, for me anyway, have to do with the fact that collegiate ministry isn’t specifically addressed in the changes.  I will be assigned to one of the six zones – don’t know which one yet, and I’ll get one of the two job titles mentioned above.  It will be my job to advocate for the value of collegiate ministry within the zone I’m assigned to.  Right now there are still way more questions than answers about what that will look like for me, or for any of my colleagues around the Northwest.  Even if we’re allowed/assigned/encouraged to continue with the work we do on college campuses, there are certainly some changes coming to the way we approach that work.

So there it is, the brief version.  As more clarity emerges, maybe I’ll update things along the way.  For the time being, all I can do is wait for more information to be released from above, and keep rockin’ inter::mission the way I know how.  I do know that I’ve got that job assignment at least until the end of the 2008-2009 school year.  For those of you who care, and those of you who pray, thanks for thinking of me.

Oh, and in case you’re really interested (or pathetically bored), you can find a “news” write-up on all this stuff here.


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