Dear Members and Friends:
NOUN: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions,” the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.”nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience”
It is the new year and I wish everyone peace, love, and joy.
I’m entering my second year with you as your Intentional Interim Senior Pastor. It’s been both an interesting and good year. There have been challenges and accomplishments, as well as a few of those “let’s not go there again” moments. I feel good about you as a congregation. About this time next year, I suspect you will be welcoming or thinking about welcoming a new settled Senior Pastor.
I find myself thinking about “resilience”. It’s a desirable characteristic. While the above definition is helpful, I feel it is somewhat limiting. Its focus is on returning to its original shape, rather than having the capacity to take on a new shape.
Being resilient means that one can stretch and bend without the fear of breaking or losing the original identity. In the context of a congregation it suggests the ability to experiment, try the unthinkable, allow for alternative views, have healthy debate. It allows for the fact that experimentation may sometimes be clumsy or not work, and it is taken with good humor and a “Next time…,” while those times when it works are received with celebration.
Healthy congregations and people are resilient. Healthy congregations engage extensively in experimentation, re-thinking, trying something new, stepping out into unchartered territory.
By its very nature, the interim period helps a congregation become comfortable with change. At the very least you get used to a different personality in the corner office, which will make it easier for you when it comes time to make changes when the Settled Pastor is called.
An intentional interim period takes this further as we experiment, think, try, discuss, relate with other aspects of the church that are not purely worship-oriented. I appreciate how willing you have been to try. I encourage this congregation to continue trying with a positive spirit and when you don’t understand, asking a question or questions around “why” we may be trying something new. Usually there is a good reason why we have decided to try something different or new.
My hope for this congregation in the year to come, and for you as individuals, is that all of us are able to deepen our resilience.
Love, Grace, Peace,