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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, January 14, 2011

Transition

This is a word or an idea that I’ve been bumping into quite a lot lately. I had a visit with a pastor who’s thinking about negotiating a new “working relationship” with his counselor/co-pastor to hand over the “top” position over the next several months. While he’s not really feeling burnt out, he doesn’t want to be either and is thinking this might just be the time for some new roles in that congregation.

Both leaders have been working to develop others on their congregational team and there’s lots of progress noted, plenty of growth in the young members stepping up to assume roles in planning, worship, public ministry. It does appear that it’s time for some sort of transition here. They plan to use their Mission Advocate to help them steer through any turbulence that might arise.

Another congregation is making some major changes in and around the use of their building. Lots of important community mission work means that they too are considering a transition of a different kind. A series of moves, retirements, deaths means it’s probably time to think about exactly what the next stage will be. Meet in homes? Find a suitable rental space? Another case of needing to take a step back and perhaps call in someone who’s more objective to help figure out what transition will work for them.

Working seriously on our 2020 Goal of “empowering young adult leaders” has led us into transition territory more than once. Major life events for these folks frequently create a need to pause, take stock, rethink directions and start over. New jobs, new relationships, new educational opportunities, new congregational roles (or post-congregational as the case may be) all offer new possibilities but with them come the need to transition, yet again, into some new place.

The transitions that work best are the ones done with intention. Who are the people involved or who should be involved? What kind of conversations will smooth the way? Are there new roles that need to be negotiated, priorities to be set, strategies devised? Most likely. Just as in the situation described at the top of this post, while that pastor was anticipating the turbulence, he hadn’t yet considered that there are ways to smooth the way. Probably with a couple of pretty easy conversations.

In that case, the expected future turned quickly from worried anxiety to a pleasant anticipation of working together in a harmonious way, sharing the load and moving through this transition time to a time of smooth sailing.

If you’ve got transitions in your future I recommend a pause to set your course rather than just letting it happen. Let me know how it works out.

Posted by Marion

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