For the most part our challenges as a new church are good ones to have. We don't have any more chairs to put out on Sunday mornings. This is a good challenge. Keeping up with our many guests after we meet them on Sunday is hard. This is a good challenge. People are desperate to serve with the church in the city and they are pushing us to move faster in this direction. This is a good challenge. One challenge that wasn't good and almost wore us/me out was a deficiency on our staff. The employees of the church work harder for less money than most people I know. As the church has thrived, I get most of the back-slaps, not them, even though I'd be a mumbling mess and on my way to a forced retirement without their constant sacrifices. Suzanne, Diane, Lance, Kenneth, Akal, and Helen are the part-time glue that hold Downtown Church together. And even while their jobs are part-time, starting a new church demands full-time care.
Still, something was missing. The deficiency, we recently realized is that no-one was directly responsible for the bizness of the church. When we were smaller this didn't matter. We made up the systems on the run and everyone excused the mildly managed chaos because we were "just getting started." Whoever was closest in person to the work that didn't fit a part-time job description picked it up and ran timidly, waiting for a new day to come. We did what was necessary to make it to next week or next month in one piece, but the ad-hoc approach wasn't sustainable.
It's not in our budget and it wasn't one of the goals we set for 2012, but today we are adding another person to our team. Brad Allen is our new Director of Operations. Brad first arrived at Downtown Church last year on a Saturday in February with a trailer full of tools to help our 20 person launch team demo The Spot in advance of our renovation. Mary Lane Sloan, a coworker of his at a local real estate company, invited (begged) him to come and help. Since that fateful day, Brad and his wife Danielle have been a steady, faithful presence among our core group. In a few weeks, Brad and Danielle will welcome a new baby into their family. Pray with me that it's a girl, for Danielle's sake. Two Brads in one house is too much for one person to bear alone!
While it wasn't in our plans for this year, it's clear that we couldn't afford not to add Brad to our team. He has a unique set of skills and an appreciation for detail that we needed. Church work is relentless - you can't stop Sunday from coming. We are determined to take care of the people that serve the church as employees. And giving them some help and relief was one way to value their contribution. So give them all a genuine thank you and welcome Brad to the hardest job he will ever love.