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May 2, 2013

Update on the Teaching Team

Posted by John Parker

Well, a mere few months after starting counseling for the first time in my life, I have to switch counselors. Apparently there are boundaries in counseling that make it less advantageous to have a close connection to your counselor, which makes sense. When I first started counseling with Jim Keller, we had not yet become friends, nor were we co-workers. It is not like we were in rival gangs or anything, we just didn’t know each other well.

Now, four months into the year, Jim and I have become fast friends, and I am glad to inform you that he is now officially on staff with Summit. Jim will continue to be involved in his counseling practice, but as the first official member of the Teaching Team, he is a critical part of what is next for Summit. (And Jim likes surprise hugs, so feel free to show your excitement about having him on staff accordingly.)

The exercise of building a Teaching Team has been really great, and knowing that Jim is now part of that team helps our continued search for who is next. While that search continues, there are a few things that you may want to know about the idea of a Teaching Team.

First, we have a purpose statement for the team that serves as a guide for how we want to develop and continue the quality of teaching at Summit.

The purpose statement reads: The Teaching Team will call people to take their next right steps by communicating one vision through diverse voices characterized by relatable authenticity, oratory excellence, sound doctrine, and a depth of biblical, historical, and cultural understanding.

You probably also want to know how the Teaching Team will be built and how it will function. While much of that framework will be developed in practice, there are a few things we know now:

• We are actively looking to make one additional hire this year who would primarily participate on the Teaching Team. We have a list of great candidates and are still accepting new candidates. The search is being led by the Strategy Team with strong participation from our Campus Ministers.

• There are several existing staff members who will be coached into greater teaching responsibilities at Summit.

• The Teaching Team will be on a series-based teaching rotation rather than week-to-week.

• At first, the Teaching Team will consist of Jim and one other teacher who will share 40 of the 52 weeks in the calendar year, each one teaching about 20 weeks. Over time, the team will likely consist of three teachers who handle the majority of the teaching, with the remainder of the schedule to be filled by other staff and guest teachers.

• The standard for teaching excellence will remain high, and I believe will in fact be strengthened from having a Teaching Team.

• The idea of a plurality of leadership, implied in the idea of a Teaching Team, is more consistent with how Summit has functioned in all other areas. Think of it as a complement to the Strategy Team that leads the church, the Campus Ministers who help us live out the vision in our respective campuses, and the multiple bands that lead us in worship.

This is a short summary of hours of conversation but is a good picture of our plan for building a Teaching Team. There are still more questions than answers, but the questions are great and we are looking forward to finding who God will put in place to answer some of those questions.

All of this is of course great news and helpful information, but it does not help me answer the question of who should be my next counselor. If you know of any counselors I might not immediately befriend, be sure to let me know. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy watching God’s story continue to unfold at Summit.

Want to know more about Jim? Read John’s Unauthorized and Mostly True Biographical Glimpse at Jim Keller.