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Our Government Structure
There are a lot of models used to govern the local church and each have their strengths and weaknesses. At Heartland, we have adopted a hybrid form that combines several different models which we feel capitalizes on the strengths of each while hopefully avoiding their weaknesses. In the form of government we have adopted, four specific groups of people are empowered to lead in four distinct contexts.
This is how we roll:
In Leadership Transition we are Congregational – the people decide on who they will follow. Heartland’s members are known as partners. Partners are those who identify with Heartland’s values and commit to support and serve the vision. They vote during leadership transition, choosing their senior pastor. They also choose the Elders who serve on the Board.
In Financial matters, we are Presbyterian or Elder Led – a mature group of able people provide wisdom and accountability. Heartland elders are mature partners who are appointed by the Senior Leader because they meet the requirements laid out in the Bible (I Tim. 3:1-7), are committed to the vision of the House and exercise obvious leadership. They serve as counselors to the Senior Pastor and as spiritual leaders to the congregation. Six out of this group of Elders are chosen by the congregation to serve on the Board of Heartland. They oversee the finances and legal compliance of the church.
In the What, Why and How of Vision we are Senior Pastor Led – the primary leader sets the tone and direction. The senior pastor is installed by a vote of the partners. He provides vision, develops strategy, oversees its implementation and appoints leaders to fulfill God’s unique plan for Heartland. He develops Elders who in turn serve with him to provide spiritual oversight of the church.
In Leadership Crisis, we are Episcopalian – leaders outside the situation provide direction. Heartland maintains three external overseers, men or women with a proven track record of fruitful ministry, a strong reputation and a history of relationship with our church. The context of their authority is leadership crisis. If the Elder Board has concerns about the Senior Pastor’s personal life or ministry, they can invite the External Overseers to intervene. The Overseers then have complete authority to deal with the situation as they see fit.
This structure lets leaders lead while allowing for the protection accountability provides.