The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse— who can understand it? I theLord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
[ Psalm 19 ] [ God’s Glory in Creation and the Law ] [ To the leader. A Psalm of David. ] The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. Psalm 19:1-2NRSV
The summer has FINALLY arrived. I made a promise not to complain about the heat since we had such a harsh winter. Of course today, I found myself complaining about the weather. How quick humans are to forget. We are either looking back with regret or fearful of facing the future. It’s hard for us to appreciate the gift of the present. The interim period of a church is often plagued with members looking back with regret to the good old days or afraid of what the future holds.
The transition period in any organization is a scary time since it almost always invoices a change in leadership. The interim is often times not the permanent leader in place so people have a choice to do one of two things, work with the interim to usher in change or work against him or her because they are not going to be the permanent person in charge. However, we can see the interim time as a time for renewal and growth and to develop a broader vision of the congregation’s future. As a congregation we have to determine we are in the interim process. In the coming months, I will be holding “town hall” type meetings to discuss these issues and how we wish to proceed as community of faith. These meeting are goals for the future of the First Presbyterian Church of Levittown.
Below you will find a few key issues we need to address and questions we need to ask ourselves as we move forward. The list is followed by symptoms of resolution and non – resolution that is evident in congregations as they go through the interim period. As you pray for our congregation examine where you think we are in the process. We need your prayers, insight and support.
– determining whether the congregation’s image is realistic
– seeing the interim time as an opportunity for renewal and growth
– The congregation sees itself as an entity without a pastor, separating the church’s identity from the former pastor’s personality and style.
Symptoms of Non-resolution
– focus on the past
– resistance to self-assessment
– unrealistic myths are still operative
– emphasis is on blaming, what’s wrong
– low trust level, lack of authentic sharing
– Identify confusion: who are we?
– leaders and others continue to consult the previous pastor
– maintains same old programs, even when they don’t fit present needs
– rush through the interim
Signs of Resolution
– focus on present or future
– willingness to do self-assessment
– congregation faces reality
– affirms who the congregation really is
– growing excitement and energy for the congregation’s envisioned future
– process questions: where are we going? how are we doing?
– inclusiveness rising trust level, humor and patience with the search process