Thursday, March 21st, 2019
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Church of the Redeemer, 145 W. Springfield Road, Springfield PA 19064
In a spirit of partnership, The Congregational Life and Re-Development Team of the Diocese of Pennsylvania is facilitating gatherings of clergy that represent middle-sized churches. This provides an opportunity for conversations about shared experiences, challenges, opportunities, and ministries. (Lunch included, please scroll down for details.)
In December, 2018, approximately 20 clergy and lay members of middle-sized churches met together for conversation and sharing. Our conversation quickly identified shared experiences, challenges, opportunities, and ministries in serving middle-sized congregations. We described the positive energy and creativity of this call, and recognized the constant juggling of ministries, tasks, and priorities resulting in our having “many balls in the air.” And, sometimes one or more gets dropped, falls to the ground, and might even hit us on the head… We talked about the need for strong and clear administrative and organizational structures—for clergy, staff, and volunteers. Some feel that we are at a never-ending “hinge point” of ministry because the needs of the congregation continually stress the capacity of staff, volunteers, and budgets, yet the energy and growth of the congregation must be addressed and expanded. We serve multiple generations that enjoy the relational dynamics of the congregation, yet each cohort has unique formational, pastoral, and ministerial needs. Clergy leadership needs to be both relational and programmatic. It is a ministry that requires energy, creativity, healthy boundaries, and optimism.
We identified many common issues to explore more deeply at future gatherings:
• Effective ways of creating disciples and of offering faith and spiritual formation for adults.
• Models of Christian formation for children, youth, and family ministries.
• The need for frequent, clear, robust communications provided through multiple media. This is a huge stress and consumes much time.
• Finding effective ways to promote, encourage, and grow discipleship and stewardship across multiple generations.
• The hunger for learning new ideas and “best” practices from other clergy who serve churches of the same size.
• The desire for strong collegial, supportive relationships and friendships with clergy who share similar ministries.
• The need for the Diocese to assist with identifying and making available resources for Christian formation for all ages, stewardship, communications, administrative and organizational planning, and volunteer recruitment and leadership that are appropriate for our size, budgets, and capacities.
We agreed to meet again in March and to bring with us some of our own “best practices” of faith and spiritual formation for adults. We look forward to our continuing conversation. Please let us know if you will attend so that we may plan for lunch: Fr. David Beresford (610-544-8113 firstname.lastname@example.org) or to the Very Rev. Kathy Andonian (215-234-8020 or email@example.com).