Questions addressed in our Ask Anything (Almost) forum are related typically to doctrinal, philosophical, and practical matters raised in messages shared during our Sunday worship gatherings. However, at times, one may raise a question the importance of which needs to be addressed regardless of whether or not it is germane to our church's current studies. That is certainly the case for this week's question pertaining to the structures of accountability and leadership within The Hallows Church.
Plurality of Leadership: We are committed to establishing and maintaining a plurality of leadership within The Hallows Church. Specifically, we believe that having multiple elders/pastors who are mutually accountable to one another as well as to the church as a whole provides for a healthy culture of leadership and accountability. Our elders are considered lead-servants accountable to God for the manner in which they lead under the authority of Christ, care for the body of Christ, teach the word of Christ, and model the character of Christ.
Our elders are committed to a leadership philosophy that exercises the authority of counsel. We believe our role is to counsel covenant members of the church with the Scriptures in an effort to nurture the mind of Christ and to cultivate the character of Christ within the body of Christ so that we can cooperate together in accentuating and advancing the kingdom of Christ.
We are currently served by two elders, including myself as the Lead Pastor and Wes Moore as our Pastor of Missional Ministry. We will be affirming a third elder in the near future. In the long run, we hope to have one elder for every five Missional Communities in our church. Not every elder will be supported financially. In fact, we believe the healthiest leadership environment for accountability exists when non-paid elders are the majority. As our church grows, we are committed to establishing that type of ratio.
Board of Directors: When we first started planting The Hallows Church in late 2011, I was serving as the sole leader on the ground in our community. In order to provide assistance in decision making and personal accountability, I assembled a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors consisted of Gary Irby, the director of Seattle Church Planting Network, and Bart Box, who at the time served as the Pastor of Theological Training with The Church at Brook Hills. This Board is outlined in the Articles of Incorporation filed with the State of Washington. It will remain in place until the bylaws of our non-profit organization are solidified--the process of which is underway.
Stewardship Advisory Team: In 2012, we established a Stewardship Advisory Team. The SAT assists in providing counsel, accountability, and strategy for creating a culture of faithfully stewarding the God-given resources of The Hallows Church. This involves discussing how resources are allocated and how to best disciple members towards giving in support of our vision, mission, and goal.
The SAT is currently comprised of two lay-leaders, Matt Hudson and Colin MacMillan, and the lead pastor. As the church grows, the number of individuals and the ratio between deacons and elders serving on the SAT will increase as well. The number of paid elders/deacons will remain in the minority of the team’s composition. Members of the SAT are appointed and approved by the Elders in consultation with covenant members.
Each SAT member commits to serving one year terms. No SAT member can serve more than two consecutive years, the sole exception being the Lead Pastor. The SAT meets monthly as needed to walk through detailed financial reports and to discuss future expenditures. The SAT approves the church's budget each year, which is made available to covenant members upon request.
Quarterly Financial and Ministry Updates: Covenant members of The Hallows Church receive a financial and ministry update every three months. The update highlights and celebrates ministry activity and provides a summary/categorical breakdown of quarterly income and expenses. This approach keeps covenant members informed of our church's financial health.
As a church plant in the city, we are dependent upon the sacrificial generosity of both internal and external ministry partners. Internal partners consist of covenant members and worship attenders who give tithes and offerings as an act of worship. External partners consist of a combination of supporting churches such as The Church at Brook Hills, mission agencies such as the North American Mission Board, and individual friends and families from around the country who believe in what God is doing in our ministry.
A Network of Local Pastors: Additionally, a degree of accountability is provided by our relationships with other local pastors and churches in the city. Specifically, we are associated with the Seattle Church Planting Network. The pastors within this network often reach out to one another for advice and counsel.
A Steady Relationship with Our Commissioning Church: The Hallows Church was commissioned by the leadership and congregation of The Church at Brook Hills. Our relationship with Brook Hills will proceed into the foreseeable future. Personally, I meet with leaders from Brook Hills at least once a year to provide updates and to discuss a variety of matters pertaining to our church here in Seattle.
We take leadership and financial accountability seriously and, by God's grace, we will maintain a posture of transparency, teachability, and integrity the further we move into the future.
Thanks for asking!