In times of transition, where a key leader (who may have been a minister) might be ending their time in a community or a new leader is about to enter, there are also some helpful questions to process as part of this journey.
Feelings And Stories
Even when there might be a significant interval of time since the last leader, there are often all manner of memories and expectations that can shape the next appointment. Time and thought is needed to process this and to ensure good closure.
As church communities we often need to focus on our culture even more than our vision—all manner of helpful and often unhelpful traits, habits, cliques, rituals, memories, hurts, and traditions can hold a community captive without anyone even being aware of their effect. Unless they are faced and addressed, unhelpful history can repeat itself over and over again. CCVT can help you with this.
We have found that the placement of an Intentional Interim Minister with appropriate training can—over a period of time (perhaps a year) help a congregation understand where it has come from and regroup towards the future—this is worth considering especially where the leadership is reviewing the mission and structure of the church. We can help you with this.
Clarity Of Vision
Take the time, lots of time, to listen and talk with all the members and stakeholders about where you believe God is taking you. A new minister should help you achieve God’s vision for you—it is sometimes not as helpful to appoint a minister who just brings his or her own vision to the church. Ministers are more there to teach, train, encourage, and cultivate the vision which God is already growing amongst the people. We don’t mean the church needs to produce a detailed master-plan with which to micro-manage every last thing—we are talking in broad terms; and of course a minister will also influence and shape the future direction of a church alongside their people. CCVT can help you with this.
Times of transition are good times to reflect on whether the church structure and policies need a review. We can help you with this.
Eventually it comes the time to shape the role. This needs to be done well. A good position description, terms and conditions, accountability, etc. need to be identified. Sometimes congregations produce too loose a document hoping the new minister will then shape it—quite risky, more likely it will cause misunderstanding or even conflict in the years ahead! CCVT can help you with this.
Other Creative Options
Sometimes a transition-time will prompt good brainstorm conversations—should we merge, partner with, plant, relocate, etc? These sorts of discussions are at least worth brainstorming and noting for a new minister to consider.
In time we suggest that an Eldership or Board put a Transition Taskforce (or Search Team) in place. Finding a neutral facilitator for such a group is essential in giving objectivity. In smaller churches, this may well be the eldership, maybe with 1-2 members.
Once the search and interview process starts there are a number of things to consider in ensuring that the search team is discerning well. Often we can suggest candidates who we at least know a little about, but sometimes names are proposed by church friends and these names are unknown to us, as are those who respond to an advertisement. Care and good research needs to be done. We can help you with this.
Intentional Interim Ministry
Developing a Church Profile
Developing a Minister Profile
Guiding a Church through Transition