Monday, December 2, 2019

Ministry in the Congregation

Leadership is a vital aspect of congregational ministry. In my ministry, the leadership I offer comes in two primary modes: vision-casting, and facilitation. Casting vision comes from exploring with a church not only its goals and priorities, but also its collective gifts and characteristics. The important call for the church is to live into its vision, and to live out its mission, while always keeping our focus, not inward, but out toward those to whom you minister. As I summarize these points: “Affirm your identity. Discern your calling. Serve your community.”
Much of my leadership role is to set the conditions for all stakeholders to claim their voice at the table, while also supporting appropriate boundaries. I work closely with congregational boards to clarify which issues truly demand direct board involvement, and which are better delegated to others. This means using individual and collective power to gain insights, reach decisions, and make changes that benefit the whole group.

Rev. Posa’s ministry...laid the foundation for the congregation to recover from one of the more difficult congregational conflicts that I have seen.... [His] ministry... was essential in helping the congregation to return to healthy relationships and systems.

Rev. David Pyle - UUA Congregational Life Staff

I have found that Religious Education (RE) classes for adults, and small group ministry programs, provide opportunities for the give-and-take exchange of ideas plus a more intimate fellowship that fosters deepening of insights and spiritual exploration. I will seek ways to establish an ongoing adult RE program where one is not present, and support or strengthen one that is active.
I also strongly support children's and youth ministry, and will look for ways in any congregation I serve to be present with children, teens, and parents throughout their experience of church life. That said, I find that I most effectively can support RE and family ministry by entrusting a competent and committed religious educator to accomplish the work effectively, while offering support and advice when needed, according to the church's broader ministry goals.
Speaking with a congregant after worship
Olympia UU Congregation
August, 2017

Pastoral care is one of the aspects of ministry where the importance of shared ministry comes most clearly into focus. In my work as an interim minister, unlike in a longer-term ministry, it has been important that I NOT act as the primary pastoral caregiver; forming deep pastoral bonds with congregants is cruel for an intentionally short-term minister. Yet there are aspects of pastoral care best entrusted to the minister, particularly in working with people grieving -  due to death of a loved one, divorce, relocation, etc. Frankly, one of my stronger motivations to return to settled or similar ministry is my increased longing to form deeper and broader pastoral relationships with congregants, to walk alongside people moving through changing phases of their own lives.
        I strive to remain engaged, emotionally and spiritually present with those I'm leading, without getting caught up in the anxieties or worries of those feeling overwhelmed. Maintaining this "non-anxious presence" is not easy for anyone, and even the best of us fall short from time to time. Plus, I work to offer new insights to church leaders, beside whom I serve closely, that can open new ways of considering and resolving issues that face the lay and ministerial leadership alike.


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