Enlightenment isn’t just a period in European history. It’s a moment of immeasurable benefit when what you have been sensing in your gut is defined and confirmed for you by a reliable, outside source. That’s what comes to mind when I think about my experience attending the Strategic Transitional Education Program or S.T.E.P. S.T.E.P. is a three-phase training course designed to equip those working in transitional ministry with the skill set needed for today’s complex ministry landscapes. Put another way, it’s not your mother’s interim training.
The premise of this vision for new transitional ministry training is that congregations deal with and respond to uncertainty as much as grief when going through change. It’s that uncertainty that can clog up the system and make or break their potential for being vital churches.
Phase 1 is all about core competencies. We spent four intensive days together. In that time, we learned, workshopped, role-played different approaches to assessing a congregation SO THAT we could then use that data to make informed plans and decisions as we guided a congregation through change.
Phase 2 is all about the module. A variety of smaller, one-off courses were offered to complement what we learned during Phase 1.
Phase 3 is all about coaching. We are just beginning this phase, which involves coming together in small groups, as well as individually, with a coach. The coach will work with us as we talk through our particular contexts and how we might apply what we’ve learned from the program.
S.T.E.P. is offered by Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region and has a wide network of resources, support, and interest from different denominations and interim ministry organizations.
My colleagues and I went through the initial offering of this training in January. Another offering is scheduled for late September. Find out more here.
Even if you’ve never considered transitional training,even if you’ve been through interim ministry training already, I encourage you – consider this. The applications are far-reaching and for every context.
Elizabeth Shen O’Connor is a Teaching Elder at Brunswick Church. She grew up in the Northwest and now resides in the Northeast. If she has a free hour, more than likely she’s reading a book, watching a cooking show (or actually cooking), dreaming about traveling, or enjoying her family. You can reach Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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