By Jon Roberts – Denver, Colorado … Lead pastors from Rocky Mountain Conference churches with multiple pastors gathered in Denver during the month of May for training on successfully managing a multi-staff church and overcoming unique obstacles.

The training, which is the first of specific group training planned for pastors in RMC, was facilitated by Dave Ferguson, lead pastor at the Collegedale Adventist Church. The extensive workshop, held over two days, covered a broad range of topics, including how to improve team communication and clarity, generate team alignment and engagement, build team trust and unity, foster team caring and inclusivity, resolve conflict in a manner that preserves and enhances the team, and network with colleagues who pastor in a similar context.

Reflecting on how necessary the training is to the pastors, Ferguson said, “I think the role of a lead pastor with a multi-pastor staff is just different than if you are solo pastor leading a congregation or district and they can create textures of the job that don’t get discussed much.”

He added, “to have comradery, to be able to talk about what you’re dealing with, to be able to reflect well with people who are walking down similar kinds of roads, it’s a unique opportunity to deal with the issues that you face that are different than when you go to a normal set of pastor’s meetings.”

The training also gave pastors the opportunity to fellowship and share best practices with each other.

“There are certain things [with a multi-pastor staff] that you have to address and deal with that are unique. It gives the opportunity for that kind of support and help to know that you’re not alone. Um, and to grow in areas that aren’t often addressed, said Ferguson.

For Jamey Houghton, Franktown Adventist Church lead pastor, learning from Ferguson, a veteran pastor, was especially worthwhile.

“I would say probably learning from guys who’ve been doing it longer than I have been. Dave’s been doing this quite a bit longer than all of us. Learning from his experience is very valuable.”

Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, hopes pastors are able to understand “that their greatest contribution comes from adding value to their team members.”

Mallory says that future small-group pastor training will be held among pastors that have multi churches and pastors who are the only pastor at one church.  He added that he hopes pastors will be able to address issues that can’t be addressed in larger settings.

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos by Jon Roberts