Although I've only worked at Messiah for about 16 months, I've actually met at least five of your pastoral interns at various times. As a group they're impressive, and I feel excited imagining the future of the Church in their hands. At the recent congregational meeting Intern Ryan said something to this effect: "Y'all talk about past interns like they're still here. That gives me comfort because I can see how much you love all of them, and know you love me as well."
I think that's right. You rally around the interns, have them over for dinner, invite them into your lives and take genuine interest in theirs. You listen with open hearts and minds as interns talk about their plans and ideas, and allow them room to explore those. Interns leave Messiah changed for the better, and Messiah becomes changed by them as well.
At the most recent Church Leadership Team meeting a visiting member of the congregation said in effect, "When you say we're going hire a Mission Developer, I hear it's because we're failing."
It took courage to say that, and the statement hit me hard. As a person responsible for talking about this direction, I clearly haven't communicated well. Here's the truth: I believe the opposite. Messiah is a vital, strong congregation, and that is why God is calling it to have a Mission Developer. It's exactly why the Synod and national church are willing to invest in this with Messiah. Too few congregations with vitality are willing to experiment and try new ways of being God's church. It's simply too easy to remain on course, to think the changes in the culture are only problems for other churches.
But it's already in Messiah's DNA to experiment and listen to new voices. The pastoral interns demonstrate that. What we learn in conjunction with a Mission Developer will help Messiah remain vital into the future, and will be a gift to the larger church in understanding how to get God's work done today. --------------
Articles and documents that provide background information to the CLT's discernment process and Capital Campaign proposal to the congregation.
Capital Campaign One-Page Overview from the CLT
Capital Campaign Cash Flow Model from the CLT
Frequently Asked Questions Document from the CLT
Reflecting on 40 years at Messiah and Its Future by Doug Ruecker
A Whole New World by Pr. Peter
Report of the CLT's Year-Long Discernment Process by President Kris Ann Bial
Reflections on the Past Year. Hope for the Future by Pr. Kathy Braafladt
Stewardship of Community by Pastoral Intern Ryan Dockery
Pastoral Intern Ryan Dockery shares some of his frustration in pursuing pastoral ministry and his hopes for a Mission Developer at Messiah (4.0 minutes).
Vice President of the Congregation Mike Odren reviews the 3-year process that brings us to this point (6.0 minutes).