Friday, April 20, 2007

What Covenant Pastors Want

Denominational Executive reports are rarely exciting. Usually they are a recitation of what we already know, but sweetened up to promote some new intitiative for which they would like local church support. Yesterday, however, Rev.David Kersten, Executive Minister for Ordered Ministry presented a report to the gathered pastors of the Pacific Southwest Conference at Sii Valley Covenant Church that was really significant. The Lilly Grant that allowed the Covenant to start "Sustaining Pastoral Excellence" requires internal review of progress. So the Department of Ordered Ministry (they call it "DOOM") conducted 30 listening sesssions with pastors and came up with six areas of need. It is a work in progress, but Dave gave me persmission to share this with you. Here is what pastors around the country are saying they need:
1. They (read "we" if you are a Covenant pastor) want denominational leaders to show up more often with a few questions and no agenda to create a listening presence. They indicate that they see themselves (pastoral community) as a wisdom-base for the denomination, not a power-point audience.
2. We want a more Muscular Accountability. We want a community of pastors that sees failure in self-care as malfeasence. One word that came up over and over again was "enforceable". The pastoral community has grown too large to simply let organic relationships be the nature of our community. It must be intentional.
3. We need a clearer method for Conflict Resolution on the local and conference level. Too often as conflict increases between a local church and pastor, the role of Superintendent gets weighted on the side of the congregation, blurring who the pastor can trust. That is not wrong, but needs clarity and a designated advocate for the pastor.
4. Better training in Systems-Thinking and Cahnge-Management for pastors.
5. Change the language of "self-care" (borrowed from the therapeutic community) to "soul-care" without diminishing personal responsibility. A concern expressed a great deal is that pastors are not maintaining a sufficient interior life to sustain a public ministry presence over the long-haul and are often living in a spiritual deficit that leads to collapse.
6. Clear and do-abel, life-long learning pathways so that the clergy become less known as learned (as in degree accumulation) and more as learning.
Expect to hear more about this coming from Covenant Leadership. Kudos to the work!


At 6:46 AM , Blogger Rick said...

I resonate deeply with the points you have listed here Don. This is good stuff and I wish I were more able to be involved in it.

At 8:28 AM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

You may. Contact Dan Pietrzyk at SPE at Covenant Headquarters and communicate your concerns. It's a more open time that I can recall in years.

At 8:18 PM , Blogger Andrew Stonina said...

Wow! That is all I can say.

At 5:15 AM , Blogger kent said...

I agrre with all 6, so what are the next steps in the process of implementation? Did Dave share those as well, or are they a still in the information gathering stage? If so do they have any sort if time line?


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