We are in transition! So what is God calling us to do with this gift of transition?
Many believe that the time between settled pastorates can be an opportunity for congregations to reboot or refresh their ministry. While each congregation is unique and has different strengths and challenges most congregation find helpful to consider or reflect upon the following themes:
- History and Heritage
It is important for congregations to know their history so that they can appreciate their heritage and at the same time be aware of the issues and concerns that need to be resolved in order to move freely into the future.
Identity is the task of understanding “who we are now in our present context and what it is we understand God is calling us to be.” It is the task of developing the vision to which a congregation is being called.
In most congregations over a period of time the leadership begins to take on much of the style and values of the previous pastor. When the pastor leaves, there is often a time when persons who have been in leadership rethink their commitment and determine whether or not they want to continue in leadership positions. Other persons often find the interim time an opportunity to take leadership roles. This is an opportune time to empower those who are out of power and to welcome leadership gifts from all parts of the congregation.
- Rethinking Denominational Linkages
Congregations often are not aware of the support and resources they receive from their middle judicatory and national denominational structures. That relationship is normally more visible while the structures of the church beyond the congregation are engaged in working with the congregation in moving through the interim period and seeking to find the right pastor to call. The transition time helps raise the awareness of a congregation to its denominational heritage, ministries and resources.
- Commitment to New Leadership and to a New Future
When a congregation has developed a shared vision of its future and has sought to call a pastor to help lead it in moving into that future, there will probably be a new commitment both to that new pastor and to that new future.
After completing its training, the Holy Cross Lutheran Church transition team will invite the congregation into conversations around what has been life-giving in our past as well reflections on our preferred future. Many of these themes will come up in our discussions. I hope you will participate as the opportunity arises!
Pastor Margrethe Kleiber