As many of you know the Vineyard USA is in the middle of a leadership transition as Bert Waggoner retires after 12 years of leading the Vineyard Movement in the USA. Part of this transition is shrinking of the current eight regions and the creation of eight new ones to better help the regional overseers foster effective relationship among the pastors of their region. As a local pastor, I think this move is awesome!
One of the difficulties in the past has been the geographical challenges of getting to know to people within a region that may stretch across multiple states and hundreds of miles. By splitting up the regions and making them smaller, I believe that the new regional overseers (RO) are going to have a easier time of things. Which is not to say that it will be a cake walk…by no means! Each RO is still a pastor of a local church in addition to having the below responsibilities, so they will have their hands full.
- Establish and cast a Regional vision that follows and underscores the vision of the National Director for Vineyard USA.
- Care for and coach the Area Pastoral Care Leaders (APCLs) in the Region.
- Facilitate care for the pastors in the Region through the APCLs.
- Communicate with the pastors in the Region on a regular basis.
- Help local Vineyard churches in the Region to become strong, healthy churches through resourcing.
I also really liked the process that Phil Strout, the National Director Elect, used to choose these new ROs. At the beginning of January each local pastor was asked to nominate someone in their new region that they thought would make a good RO. These nominations were then passed on to Phil who made the final decision – meaning that the choice was not a popularity election per say, but a combination of hearing the voices of the local pastors on the ground combined with the view from the ‘top’ of the leadership structure. The process also left room for the Holy Spirit to guide, direct, and raise up perviously unknown leaders within each region.
This brings us to the recent announcement listing each of the new regional overseers as well as the names of the new regions (click on the table for a larger view):
In compiling this table, a few things jumped out at me (don’t worry, I ducked):
- Most of the new ROs are currently Area Pastoral Care Leaders – which makes sense seeing that the RO and APCL jobs are similar with the main difference being the geographical area and the number of pastors under their care.
- There are two new ROs (Cory Sondrol and Thom O’Leary) who are not listed on the Vineyard USA website in any capacity, meaning that Jesus is raising them up to a new level of leadership. (go Jesus!)
- There are also two regional church planting coordinators on the list (Allen Hodges and Michael Lehmann), which pretty cool considering Vineyard USA focus on church planting.
- Interestingly enough there is only one current RO (Kevin Fischer) who is staying on in that position, abet within a smaller geographical area. The other ROs have either decided to retire from RO life or have moved on to other position.
Speaking of current RO who are moving into other positions, Phil has asked Brian Anderson (Western RO) and Lance Pittluck (Southwest RO) to be regional coaches helping to support all the new ROs. Note, of course, that Brian and Lance are also on the new 2013 proposed Vineyard USA Board.
All in all, this is an exciting time for the Vineyard USA and it is a joy to be apart of the movement at this time. Phil and those helping him with this transition are doing a great job at listening to the local churches and the Holy Spirit as well as communicating with everyone (which is not any easy task!). May the Lord continue to guide us all as we walk forward one step at a time.