The following is an invitation from the Congregational Renewal and Pastoral Leadership Team. As you know we are in a transitional process and I have been part of a group working on a piece of it. Our work is available for your review and comment on the Presbytery’s website. (Click here)
Before I talk in some detail about our thinking I want to make some personal comments about why I think what we offer is important. In another Presbytery I spent two terms as a minister member of the Committee on Ministry. The majority of our work involved responding to congregations and pastors who were in conflict. The work was hard and so often painful. Sadly most of the time we ended up negotiating a parting between the pastor and the congregation. During my lengthy time on that committee I noticed something! During the conflict resolution process the committee usually talked about how the congregation had this problem or that problem. (I hasten to add that the committee consisted of both pastors and elders.) Then, after the pastor left the conversation would switch and remarks like, “Well you know Charlie could have spent more time preparing his sermons.” Finally, what was never talked about was the ministry setting. Was the church in a growing or declining area? Eventually, I brought this dynamic to the attention of the committee. My observations were not well-received.
Experience has taught me that Presbyteries usually respond only to problems and too often do not grasp that successful and struggling ministries alway consist of three things: pastor, congregation and the setting. All of that is why I jumped at the chance to help create another way.
Our team spent hours wrestling with the seemingly simple question: How can the Presbytery be regularly helpful to its congregations and churches and pastors, while taking into account the particular location of each ministry?
In our proposal we have described the primary characteristics of the pastors we think will respond well to the conditions in Albany Presbytery. We have created a system in which the Presbytery regularly interacts with every congregation with transparent tools to help our congregations understand their strengths and weaknesses and to develop clear paths forward. We are trying to move from a response model to a system of interaction and engagement.
Join us on September 6 at 10:00 am to review this proposed new ministry plan:
Webinar Registration Page: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5754270291358317571
Webinar ID: 120-904-459
Leonard Sponaugle is a Teaching Elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Johnstown. He grew up in the Northwest and now resides in the Northeast. He longs to return to his beloved NW. Recently his first grandchildren, Aidan and Riley, arrived. They just moved to Italy for three years accompanied by their parents, his daughter Rebekah and son-in-law Nick. His oldest son is packing for college, and his youngest son is thinking about prospective college visits. It is a lot to cope with. With intent and passion he seizes time to walk and read. You can reach Leonard at pastor@johnstownpresbyterian.
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