Where are We in this Transition Process?

December 12th will be the one-year mark for my beginning with you as your interim lead pastor. As far as I know, it’s been a happy journey. And, “What have you been doing for eleven months?” you might ask. That is a question I’m happy to answer.

From the perspective of the pew, you have probably noticed that the programs of the church, such as worship, education, visitation, etc. have gone along very smoothly, and attendance is robust. But my work has been equally devoted to work among the leadership of the congregation. There are two groups that I have been working with in particular:

The congregation council has been reviewing the overall leadership structure of our congregation, with an eye to making it even more efficient and productive than it has been over the years. The council is very close to a decision to enact a subtle but significant restructuring of the form and function of the council and committees as they now stand. Rather than a larger group, made up of committee chairs, officers and pastors. The council would be made up of fewer than eight people, elected to represent the congregation at large. This group would spend the bulk of its time conceptualizing, planning, and guiding the overall and long-range mission of the congregation. Rather than having static committees, responsibility for the day-to-day functions of the congregation would be left to staff members and groups (whether called teams or committees, or something else has not been decided) that would be shaped around more specific tasks and objectives. Some of these groups might be long-standing, and others of short duration. They would grow or shrink, congregate or divide, according the needs of their assigned tasks.

The Good Shepherd transition team has met faithfully every Monday. They have now completed three “congregational conversations.” Willing members have gathered for an hour each Saturday or Sunday to have refreshing conversations around small group tables. By all accounts that I know of, these have been stimulating and helpful conversations. A recently conducted survey of the congregation has helped them lead discussions about the on-going strengths and values of Good Shepherd. The third conversation introduced a very important set of questions, borrowed from a book titled, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, by Patrick Lencioni. They are six critical questions that every leadership team should ask about their organization. The first of these questions is, “Why do we exist?” That is the question that is most critical of all. The questions get more and more specific as they go. The team has given the bulk of its time to that first critical question. It is that one critical question that will guide the answers to all of the others. These six critical questions are not meant to be answered once and for all. They are meant to be questions that will be answered over and over by all of the various leadership groups of the congregation, to check and re-check our direction as we head into God’s future.

Yes, there will be a call committee soon; and that call committee will be greatly aided and guided by the work your leaders have done, along with your cooperation and collective wisdom. Continue to pray for your leaders and our congregation. These are very exciting time.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor John