My daughter and I practiced her spelling bee words as I drove her to school this morning. Abby is a 10-year old. On the drive home, I pondered what Abby might do when she grows up. Every now and again you hear that most of the jobs today will radically change within a generation. Most of the jobs available to me today will not be for my 5th grader.
So what does that mean for church? What new jobs are we likely to see? How will the best practice staffing continue to evolve?
If we look in the rear view mirror we can observe a few trends in the last decade:
- The shift from senior pastor to “lead pastor” in describing the point leader
- The development of the “teaching pastor” and the increasing use of teaching teams
- The emergence of the campus pastor with the growth of the multi-site movement
- The ongoing importance of all things technology and social media forging into top leadership
- The birth of missional communities by themselves, and in harness with megachurches
As I continue to visit with churches and watch the horizon, I believe that the trends above as well as others will keep fueling change. What will this look like ten years from now? Here are four new pastoral titles for the church of the future. I will provide some initial thoughts now and drill down with follow-up posts.
- The Neo-itinerant – The Neo-itinerant is a strategic outsider who doesn’t work for one church, but many. There are many, diverse forms of the neo-itinerant emerging and each type will likely bring its own title. (See my post on Trends in Church Consulting.) This is the way the Auxano ministry works. We consider ourselves “navigators” as we leverage learning and bring specialized help as strategic outsiders in the area of vision clarity.
- The Truth Jockey (TJ) – As the teaching function separates more and more from the leadership function, expect the use of team teaching and multi-media formats to find their full expression in the Truth Jockey. Why can’t a leaders mix the best teaching and the best teachers for his congregation’s time, place and life-stage?
- The Community Catalyst – How will the small group functions as we know them today evolve? To understand the role of a community catalyst, think of the fusion between a barista, a personal trainer and a chamber of commerce help desk.
- The Pastor of Story - As the organized church gets larger and more complex, and the organic expressions of church become more linked, we will need better “meaning-makers” who connect everything to the larger story of God, in a both a personal and local way.
Again, look for the follow-up posts as I explore these roles in greater detail. I would love to hear your initial thoughts and any creative new jobs that you have heard about or are thinking about.
I leave you with a final thought from Dan Pink, author of Whole New Mind: “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers.” He describes these people as “artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, and big picture thinkers.”