Transition at Messiah – Part#2

Ask Why

Both Pastor Larry and I have had specialized training in Interim Ministry. In our training (from different trainers, times and places) we were taught about the Five Primary Areas of Focus for Interim Ministry.

We believe that it might be helpful for all of you to understand what Interim Ministry encompasses. Below is a brief description that we hope will help. Blessings to all as we travel this road of transition together,

Pastor Norma

Five Primary Areas of Focus during the discernment period of Transition

Helping to organize and frame the work during the interim period are the Five Primary Areas of Focus.

They are as follows:

1. Putting the congregation’s history into perspective
What a congregation becomes in the future is related to what it was in the past. The time of pastoral change is a good time for a congregation to reflect on and learn from its history and past behavior patterns under the tenure of its former pastors. Sometimes there exist unresolved issues that inhibit preparing for and building a new future.

2. Claiming a clear identity in God’s call and mission
The transition time is an opportunity for renewal. The congregation seeks to discover its identify as it comes from God and apart from the former pastor’s personality and style. This is a time for the congregation to take a realistic look at the image it has of itself as well as the image that the community might have of the congregation. Purpose and core values are a foundational piece that helps a congregation shape its mission and vision. This self-understanding is crucial in discerning the qualities needed in a new pastoral leader.

3. Supporting congregational leadership shifts and changes
As ministry emphases grow and assume new directions, shifts in leadership and decision-making patterns may need to be made. Shared leadership, with both old and new leaders involved, is encouraged. Openness in process, clear expectations, empowering of volunteers and good communication within the congregation is sought.

4. Strengthening relationships with the synod and church wide expression
Congregational leaders and the interim pastor(s) assist the congregation in dealing with past perceptions or experiences and in building new awareness of the mission of the greater church. The recent history of mission support and benevolence is also examined and strengthened.

5. Deepening commitments to new pastoral leadership and the future
The congregation participates in many activities to build consensus and excitement about the vision for the future. As the vision for future ministry develops, clarity of leadership style, gifts, and skills desired in the next called pastor develop.


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