The Interim Transition Team is the most important part of the Intentional Interim structure in a congregation going through an Interim period.
Interim Ministers are specially trained to help congregations take the risks involved in transforming themselves. Interim Ministers know about change and transition processes; they know about congregations and how they can get stuck. They bring special techniques to assist a congregation to work through self-study. They also understand how individuals may react to the prospect of change, and can help them cope by offering spiritual guidance and providing pastoral care. Most importantly, Interim Ministers will anchor the transition process in the great biblical stories to help the congregation know that it is not alone in the bewilderment that often comes with change.
Congregational members of the team also bring special knowledge to the work of transition. They know the rhythms of the congregation’s life—its customs, rituals, and practices as it moves through the church seasons. They have stories from the past that explain certain things in the present, and they know about those “sacred cows” that are bound to trigger reaction if prodded. The presbytery representatives on the team also play their part, bringing an outside perspective and a knowledge of church policy to the work.
The Interim Minister and the other team members play complementary roles. The minister can affirm and encourage inexperienced congregational representatives who may feel uncertain about what they must do. Team members can help the minister be aware of seemingly insignificant issues by explaining the political realities of the congregation, and its fit within its presbytery. As they interact, the minister gains insight into the congregation, and other team members learn to see the congregation in a new way. As they learn from each other and collaborate, a synergy builds, and together they build an effect greater than the effect either could produce alone.
As well as understanding the technical requirements and procedures of the interim work, members of the Transition Team must learn what is expected of them personally in terms of time, energy, skill, and commitment. However, that knowledge alone will not be sufficient for them to play their pivotal role in the congregation’s life. They must also establish a mutual understanding of and commitment to the principles and values by which the team will work together. They must feel that they can speak freely and honestly, and bring all points of view to bear on important issues, creating the climate that is essential for the discernment and decision-making that lies ahead.
The work of the Transition Team is intensive with the group meeting approximately every two weeks through the Interim time, except for the summer and other holiday times. The Council has been speaking with some members of the congregation who they feel would be excellent members of the Transition Team. We are also inviting people to volunteer to serve if they feel that they might be ‘called’ to do this important work. If you are interested in serving on the Transition Team, or if you would like to suggest another member of the congregation for Council members to speak to, let one of your ministers or the Acting Chair of Council, Bruce Lukey know.