By now you may be saying to yourself, “We’ve got an Interim Pastor, but what happens next? If you go to the illustration below, you will see that LCGS is currently in Phase II of the Pastoral Transition Process that has been outlined by our synod.
For me, this will mean having one-hour interviews with staff and the Church Council over the next few weeks. It is a way for me to learn LCGS’s past as well as hearing some of the hopes and dreams people have for the future of this congregation. To assist in the Self-Study and Visioning process the Church Council and I will be recruiting a Transition Team. This group of six or seven people will begin by setting a timeline for the actions that will lead to completing the Congregational Profile. The Transition Team will need to decide on the way information will be received from the congregation. They may decide to host large or small group gatherings, gathering information electronically or on paper.
After the Transition Team is formed, they will lead us through the process of the Five Focus Points. This will be a time for the congregation to think about God’s mission for this congregation, at this time, and in this place. What is God calling LCGS to do? In what direction should we be headed? This process will help the congregation to choose a pastoral leader who is well suited to serve the congregation as it seeks to accomplish God’s mission.
The Five Focus Points are:
- Heritage – reviewing how the congregation has been shaped and formed.
- Leadership – reviewing the membership needs and its ways of organizing and developing new and effective
- Mission – defining and redefining a sense of purpose and direction.
- Connections – discovering all the relationships a faith community builds outside of
- Future – developing congregational and pastoral
I am sure you have lots of questions including:
- Will there be good candidates available for call?
- How long will this take?
- Will we ever get back to “normal”?
My answers would be yes, unsure, and not really. There has been a remarkable amount of movement among clergy colleagues this year. As we’ve come out of the worst of the pandemic, a lot of folks have been seeking new calls. This congregation has much to offer a pastor and I am hopeful about the possibilities.
I can’t tell you how long this process will take. It will be at least a year and I will be here until you call your next pastor. This is one of those times when you finish when you’re done.
As for getting back to “normal,” I think we all need to let that one go. Congregational participation has changed in churches across the country. Some are still reticent to be in large groups. Others have lost the “habit” of coming to worship. Our lives have been forever changed. Truthfully, some of those changes have even been for the better, but life is different. Church is different, but I am certain that God has something new in mind for this congregation and the larger church. We will feel challenged, and changes may chafe at times, but if we are true to our core mission- to welcome, equip and serve- we will be on the right path.
Blessing to you in the days ahead!
p.s. If you are interested in serving on the Transition Team or on the Call Committee which will be formed later this year, please email me at HRodrick@luthgoodshep.org.