Monday, May 4, 2015

Ministry in Times of Change

Rev. Posa was invaluable in our search for a new settled minister. His acute knowledge of the process and the reasons behind that process, on the path to a very successful search.

Kent Canny - Olympia UU Congregation (2017-19)

We live through changing times, and we face so many kinds of shifts, losses, and newness. The time between long-term clergy is a period of especially complex change in the dynamics of a congregation. In my interim work I have trained for, and experienced, engaging congregations in ministry that fosters intentional change. Such ministry - whether or not engaged as an interim ministry - can empower congregations, healthy &/or troubled, to experience transformation and wholeness.
I have been a fully Accredited Interim Minister (AIM) in the UUA for 7 years. I have completed three tiers of training with the Interim Ministry Network, an ecumenical/interfaith organization that certified me as a Transitional Ministry Specialist. I also have attended multiple annual seminars for UU Interim Ministers, receiving specialized training at each one. Plus, I seek out additional training most every year (usually in autumn). Now completing my seventh interim ministry, I have incorporated tools and analyses from all these educational opportunities into my work with congregations.
Discussion of Interim Ministry in UU Churches
featuring myself and Rev. Alex Holt (pictured in still image)
"The VUU" - online talk show produced by Church of the Larger Fellowship
January 15, 2015

    "Coaching" is a good metaphor for my approach to ministry. Responding to change is the work of the congregation itself, more than solely for the minister. I bring the tools, skills, and leadership presence to guide lay leaders and members in this work. In doing so, I emphasize listening to discern the particular context of each congregation. I always begin my ministry with a congregation by taking time - the first few weeks - to hear the multiple viewpoints of church members and leaders. Then I work with the congregation on specific strategies to meet their own needs, and build upon their relevant strengths.
Increasingly, the principles and techniques I've studied in community organizing have informed and deepened this work. As many community organizers say, "Never do for others what they can do for themselves." Ministry never means enabling or coddling, but equipping all - ministers and lay leaders alike - to claim and balance their proper authority and responsibility. I note the negative and/or positive consequences I see as likely arising from a particular course of action, and encourage the stakeholders to weigh those likely consequences in their deliberations.  

  • Roadmap for Interim Ministry - Olympia: prepared for congregation's board, following and based upon 5 weeks of initial meetings with dozens of lay leaders throughout the congregation. This document functioned as a guide for work going forward in this congregation.