I was blessed by my field practicum supervisor with the simple phrase, “the minister’s work is the work that only the minister can do.” For someone who has a tendency towards overfunctioning or doing things for folks, it’s an easy reminder that my work isn’t to bake all the casseroles for folks who are ill; it’s to make sure that everyone has the recipes, the skills and the connections, and that those who are ill know that it is a blessing they offer when they ask for help. My work is to offer inspiration and motivation towards the mission of the congregation; to reflect back that mission when the picture has gotten fuzzy; to hold the container of our aspirations, celebrate our successes, mourn our failures and motivate us to return again, in love.
There are four components to leadership development in a congregation: knowledge, relational, experiential and spiritual. I see my role as helping to build a strategy for leadership development (identification, recruitment, development, mentorship, succession), offer resources, trainings and/or workshops, and individual mentorship for individuals who are identified as being potential leaders. I also want to support the congregation in moving beyond existing conceptions of who leaders are, intentionally recruiting recent members, youth and young adults, as well as folks with marginalized identities into leadership roles that are visible to the congregation to help create a more complete understanding of who we are, and so others can ‘see themselves reflected’ and know that they have a place here.
I am also deeply connected to our living tradition as a faith community, seeking to help people see the threads that bind us to a storied past while exploring innovations for this new time. When we need every word that we can get for nuance and complexity; when we need to take a deep breath as our worlds move too fast; when we need to grow more at home in the unknown – my hope is that we will learn to find strength, meaning and purpose in the covenantal roots of our tradition. In the words from our hymnal, “We are going, heaven knows where we are going, but we know within.” As we have before, we will go side-by-side, hand-in-hand, together.