an Internal Communication Strategy

Earlier this year I made a job change when I accepted the position of Executive Pastor at Rivertree Church. Through the interview process I learned that one of the most important tasks of this ‘new’ position was to facilitate communication between and through all the leadership teams.  After a few weeks on the job I have designed and begun to initiate the following ‘Internal Communication Strategy.’ Take a few moments to read this and then help by leaving comments answering these two questions:
Would you use this model?
Did I miss something?

Rivertree…an Internal Communication Strategy

Proper internal communication ensures that all the key leadership understands the organization’s mission, vision and strategic plan. The four key leadership roles at Rivertree are: Lead Pastor, Elders, Trustees and Staff.  A continuous flow of information between these  groups is essential to implementation and accountability of actions toward reaching desired goals.

The Lead Pastor is a member of the Elder team and also is the main mission and vision caster.

The Elder’s responsibilities include: setting vision and strategy for church ministries, mission endeavors and personnel.

The Trustees keep watch over the resources of the church including: finances, facilities and properties.

The Staff are in the trenches daily implementing vision and mission through ministry operations.

The Executive Pastor is the member of the staff whose function includes overseeing operations and implementing strategy. The position also acts as the catalyst for an internal communication strategy between Rivertree’s leadership teams.

Continuous and open communication channels are essential to Rivertree’s mission, strategy and operations. Here is a look at some communication steps that facilitate internal communication.

1. Lead Pastor – Executive Pastor
a.  Meet weekly with the Lead Pastor to hear what is most pressing on his radar screen. Also, debrief with the Lead Pastor concerning Elder and Trustee meetings. (See more information on these meetings in the following points.)
b. Be included in Elder and Lead Pastor communications which often are catalysts for Elder meeting agendas. (Elder meetings are held twice a month.) Work with the Lead Pastor to set the Elder agenda.

2. Elders – Executive Pastor
a. Be a part of Elder meetings, mainly as observer, but also be one of the agenda items: Executive Pastor Report.
b. At the end of each Elder meeting the Executive Pastor recaps to the Elders what he feels needs to be communicated to the Staff and Trustees, giving opportunity to Elders for additions or deletions.
c. Communicate to Trustees and Staff the Elder’s agreed upon communication points, through meetings and/or email.

3. Trustees – Executive Pastor
a.Work with Trustees to set their meeting agenda.
b. Meet every other month with Trustees. At the end of each Trustee meeting recap to this group a list of  take-aways that need to be communicated to the Staff and Elders, giving opportunity for additions or deletions to the list.
c. Email to Elders a follow-up from Trustee meeting.

4. StaffExecutive Pastor
a. Communicate through meetings and email important information from Elder and Trustee meetings.
b. Invite the staff to submit discussion items to be included on either or both the Elder and Trustee meetings.

5. Elder – Staff – Trustee 
a. Initiate a quarterly joint Elder and Trustee meeting where staff members are given opportunity to report about their ministry and Elders and Trustees talk face-to-face about important issues.
b. Establish a monthly email to Elders, Trustees and Staff focusing on:
– Ministry “Accomplishments,”
– what staff is *Working-on,”
– what “Issues” staff and/or church may be facing and
– who is taking the lead on the “working-on” and “issue” items.

The key to this internal communication strategy is someone paying attention and being intentional to gather and distribute information.
Would you use this model?
Did I miss something?

Nine Essential Functions of An Executive Pastor

After serving 34 years as a Worship Pastor (Minister of Music, Associate Pastor of Worship)…the title has changed over the years…God has led me to accept another type of ministry position. The new position is that of Executive Pastor.
For a few years I had sensed that God was preparing me for this type of role. It was evidenced to me by the the variety of ministry experiences God had allowed me to work through and by a passion God has placed in my heart to lead a church staff encouraging, empowering and holding them accountable to do their best.  I shared some of this in a blog post titled: Knowing God’s Will Through Transition.
As I begin to pursue a new ministry position I set out to clarify my thoughts about and functions of an Executive Pastor. Long before I was ever interviewed for this new role I had compiled the following thoughts.
1. Totally Committed to supporting the Senior Pastor (Exodus 17:11)When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they (Arron and Hur) gave him a place to sitand supported his hands. The Executive Pastor should do this for the Senior/Lead Pastor. The Executive Pastor’s first role is to support the Senior/Lead Pastor.2. Freeing the Senior Pastor to Accomplish What He Does Best (1 Corinthians 12) Every believer is equipped for ministry and that applies to both the Executive Pastor and Senior/Lead Pastor. It is the role of the Executive Pastor to take things off the plate of the Senior/Lead Pastor so that he can do what he does best. He then becomes a more effective leader.

Continue Reading…

Knowing God’s Will Through Transition

In seventeen years a family can put down a lot of roots in a community. In that amount of time you can watch your kids travel through the school years and transition into adults. In seventeen years you can build relationships with many people. And after seventeen years a community becomes home.

That is what my family did in seventeen years in Franklin, Tennessee. And it was just a few years ago that I would have never dreamed that we transitioning to another community and another place of ministry…but God knew.

In my last Sunday at ClearView Baptist in Franklin, Tennessee, my last Sunday as a Worship Pastor I had the opportunity to say a few words before leading the congregation in one final song. Here is what I said, here is what I believe. Continue Reading…

Music for Mission

My wife and I have been blessed with two children, both who have chosen to follow Christ and both have hearts to do life on mission with Christ. We have seen evidence of this as they live their lives locally and how they seek out ways to travel to share Christ with people groups around the world.

After graduating from college our daughter spent four months in Peru ministering and sharing Christ to in a remote village. That was just one of the missions she has been on. Today when a new opportunity comes up there is a ‘light’ that comes in her eyes and I know she is trying to figure out how to go.

Our son, has the same type of heart for sharing the gospel with others. He also has been on mission trips outside the United States and most recently to a small country in West Africa. This May he is planning to return. Spencer 'West Africa

He is passionate about going and is in the process of raising funds for this trip.  He is doing so by combining his passion for being on mission with his passion for music.

A few weeks ago he released his first recording project of original music. On this album he sings the original songs and plays all the accompanying instruments.

I have purchased and I am asking that you consider doing the same. The project is titled Prodigal and can be found on All the proceeds that are given for the project go directly to fund his mission trip. The suggested donation is $5 and you can add more if you can.

Spencer T Smith Not only am I proud of my kids but I am challenged by their commitment to ‘going’ to share the gospel.

Ministry Transition

Earlier this week I accepted the ministry position as Executive Pastor at RiverTree Church in Huntsville, Alabama. Soon after that I submitted my resignation to ClearView Baptist Church where I have served for almost seventeen years.

Not only I am moving to a different ministry location but I am also transitioning to a new area of ministry. For the last 34 years I have served as a Minister of Music/Worship Pastor in the local church.

Although this may seem as a major change, I believe it is what God has been preparing me for.

Throughout my career as a Worship Pastor I have had the opportunity to lead many other ministry areas from managing an office staff to coordinating three building projects and everything in between.

I am a strong believer in the fact that God allows you to experience things where you are now for what He wants you to do in the future.

God has been preparing me for the new ministry role.
God has opened the door for this new ministry.
Continue Reading…

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