What's Happening These Days?
-- Pastor Bob Norris (Interim Pastor)
Six months ago, Sandy and I began our ministry at First Congregational Church as your intentional interim pastor. Unlike all of our previous assignments, we are able to live in our Ithaca, Michigan home and commute the twenty-five minutes to FCC in Stanton. Our arrival came toward the end of the many covid-19 restrictions when ministry was returning to a more familiar rhythm. We are grateful for your hospitality and are encouraged with what God is doing here at the corner of Camburn and Bradford Streets.
During the first several weeks, nearly 50 congregants who are or have been a part of the ministry here at FCC were interviewed. I have also had several conversations with your most recent pastor, Jamey Nichols, and have gained much from his perspective of the work here. The Transition Team has met several times and have offered valuable insight. In May, 43 members of the congregation participated in the Ministry Insight Tool church survey, aiding the leadership in understanding more objectively what is being done well and identifying areas that need attention in the days to come.
On March 7, my first “official” Sunday with you, I took some time during the worship service to walk the congregation through IPM’s Intentional Interim 5 stage process. This program is designed to make the most of the “in-between pastors” season by evaluating the church’s ministry and strategically plan for the future. Here’s an illustration of our roadmap:
Specifically, this process helps the church body better identify the necessary skill set and gifting of your next pastor. Copies of the handout I utilized that Sunday are available in the church office if more information is desired.
I am into the final stage of completing the church health assessment and will be sharing it with the Transition Team and other FCC leadership next month, and then to the entire congregation. Strengths and concerns will be highlighted along with recommendations to be considered.
It may appear that the 5-stage roadmap moves one task at a time and is completed before moving to the next, when, in reality, multiple stages are worked on simultaneously. Currently I am leading the team through the strategic planning phase in stage 4 while completing the assessment in phase 2. Portions of the recommendations identified in the assessment will be considered and acted upon in phase 3. The first 4 phases are generally completed in the first 9 or 10 months, and then on to the last phase of coaching - the search process. At that juncture, the Transition Team will begin looking in earnest at potential candidates.
Meanwhile, I will continue to encourage each of you to pray that the Lord would guide the Transition Team’s steps and provide wisdom as we consider what God’s plan for FCC is in the days to come. Daily prayer prompts by email as well as printed in the worship folder are provided to guide you as you come before our Father in heaven. Thank you, again, for the great privilege of serving alongside you.