Monday, May 4, 2015

Interim Ministry

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

Kent Canny - Olympia UU Congregation (2017-19)

The time between long-term clergy is a time of complex change in the dynamics of a congregation. A skilled interim minister is trained for, and experienced with, engaging congregations in ministry that fosters intentional change. This can empower even troubled congregations to experience transformation and wholeness.
I am a fully Accredited Interim Minister (AIM) in the UUA. 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 sixth 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
"The VUU" - online talk show produced by Church of the Larger Fellowship
January 15, 2015

"Coaching" is a good metaphor for my approach to transitional ministry. Preparing well for its next minister, is the work of the congregation itself. I bring the tools, skills, and leadership presence to guide lay leaders and members in this work. 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.  

RESOURCES
  • 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.