Over the past year, at the Center for Congregational Health, we have experienced many changes, some that were natural and easy and some that were unanticipated and arduous. Les Robinson, frequently says that congregations are in a state of continuous change. We see this clearly in relation to congregations dealing with pastoral transitions, however, we all are always in a state of continuous change. Bill Pasmore, of the Center for Creative Leadership says,
"Change is multifaceted, complex, and continuous. What seems to be a single change is anything but — it is a complex change that competes for time, attention, and resources with other changes that are already underway, and those changes yet to be conceived…Every day, you face complex, continuous change, which is defined, as a series of overlapping, never-ending,planned, and unplanned changes that are interdependent, difficult to execute, and either cannot — or should not — be ignored." (https://www.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/continuous-change-white-paper.pdf [ccl.org])
A most significant change for us happened in June when our long-time colleague, friend, and provider of oversight for all things having to do with Interim Ministry, Dr. Les Robinson, was officially retired and ended his 23 years of service and leadership with the Center for Congregational Health.
Over the past six months we have worked to continue to offer assistance to congregations in transition as well as to find partners to continue to provide training for intentional interim ministers. (You can read more about what will be happening in 2019 in the next blog post.)
In the midst of this change we have continued to be invited by congregations to facilitate custom designed processes for: dreaming into the future, seeking healthy ways to manage challenges and conflict, discerning if it is time for a congregation to close, working through the in-between times and transition to calling a new pastor. We have continued to offer coaching for clergy, faith groups, staff teams and our denominational partners. We have continued to offer training events for church leaders, consultants, coaches and workshops for denominational and clergy gatherings.
Also, this year we developed a closer working relationship with the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University and together applied for a Lily Foundation’s Thriving in Ministry grant. The WFU School of Divinity received the nearly $1 million grant that will greatly impact our work over the next 5 years.
2018 was a year that offered challenge and celebration and we are excited to continue to offer assistance and resources for congregations, clergy and judicatories in the coming year.