God’s dream for University Baptist Church has expressed itself in many iterations in the last 71 years. Yet one thing has remained consistent: we are called to faithfully be the presence of God in Baton Rouge.
It is a new chapter of University Baptist Church. It is a chapter filled with an extraordinary opportunity to create authentic community among our members through church-wide gatherings and connect groups, expand this community to Baton Rouge, meet the needs around us in real and unique ways, and strengthen our journey together through new opportunities for theological dialogue and spiritual formation.
As we discover the new iteration of God’s dream, we must open our eyes to the growing and changing neighborhood around UBC. Within one square mile of our campus, homes are being flipped by young families, thousands of apartments are being built, startup business are sparking, and 50,000 plus students and faculty converge onto LSU every day.
God is doing something new. How and what we do with the dream God has given us is supported by the pastoral staff of the church. Simply, the staff should equip, empower, inspire, and partner with the greater UBC faith community to live out God’s dream in and through us.
At various times throughout our history, the staff of the church has also expressed itself in many iterations. In its various forms, the pastoral staff has always reflected the present and future support needed to live out God’s dream.
In its current form, the pastoral staff is providing some support, leadership, and partnership to UBC. At the same time, there are tremendous personnel gaps that are causing missed opportunities to live out God’s dream for UBC now and in the future.
The personnel committee, senior pastor, and governing board have taken careful examination of the current iteration of pastoral staff. They have conducted intentional meetings and conversations, processed a comparative analysis of a vast pool of other staff iterations, navigated the asset success and challenges of the existing staff. They have ventured into the hard work of examining what it will take for the staff to support UBC’s success now and in the future.
Although it is a challenging reality, the current iteration of staff roles reflects a previous paradigm of church ministry. As it is the case for many churches, this paradigm personified isolated age-based ministry, a church-wide integrated music program, and singularly focused staff responsibilities.
As the culture and how people interact with the church continues to change, the church must find a healthy way to adjust into a new paradigm. In regard to staff, this requires a tremendous reorganization.
The staff reorganization is a unique opportunity to live into God’s dream and respond to the changes around us. We need the staff to equip, inspire, and empower UBC to engage in authentic community, connect deeply with our neighborhood, meet the real needs around us, and provide spaces for us to strengthen our journey together through theological dialogue and spiritual formation.
This plan has already begun implementation with the hiring of a hybrid office manager and financial administrator and the promotion of Deb McElgin to Minister of Children and Young Families.
The newest facet of the implementation involves the hiring of personnel for two roles: Minister of Community and Church of the Nations and Minister of Spiritual Formation and Worship.
The Minister of Community and Church of the Nations is responsible to the church and the Senior Pastor for providing ministerial leadership to the Church of the Nations and opportunities for authentically missional community through University Baptist Church for all ages of the congregation. Working in collaboration with UBC’s pastoral staff, the Minister of Community and Church of the Nations will work across all age groups, provide leadership, equip and empower lay leaders, and provide pastoral care.
With a focus on community, this minister will work in tandem with the Minister of Spiritual Formation and Worship (to be hired) to provide ministerial leadership to the youth, college, and adult members of UBC.
The Minister of Spiritual Formation and Worship is responsible to the church and the Senior Pastor for developing music and spiritual formational initiatives through corporate, small group, and individual experiences for all ages of the congregation.
Working in collaboration with UBC’s pastoral staff, the Minister of Spiritual Formation and Worship will work across all age groups, provide leadership, equip and empower lay leaders, and provide pastoral care.
With a focus on spiritual formation, this minister will work in tandem with the Minster of Community and Church of the Nations to provide ministerial leadership to the youth, college, and adult members of UBC.
While the language for these roles might be nuanced, these two roles are helping UBC fulfill its mission of music expressed through worship, evangelism, missions, fellowship, and discipleship for youth, college, and adults.
These two roles fit into a new staffing culture of collaboration. Staff meet twice a month for intentional planning and partnership. Each staff person is given space to share upcoming initiatives, receive feedback, and work on tangible goals.
The landscape of the church is changing. Our hope is to be flexible and open to the Spirit of God’s leadership.