Within the first two to four weeks of a new
pastorate there is a facilitated one-day retreat with pastor and lay
leaders. Usually it is helpful
to have the full governing board present, as well as some representatives
from the search committee. Often a Saturday is a good day for the
retreat. We encourage meeting off-site, even if the retreat location
parish hall of a neighboring church.
During this retreat the pastor
and lay leaders:
- Build and develop a spiritual partnership. All
too often this partnership is only about church “business”,
not about the faith relationships that are so important in a church
- Get better acquainted. It’s easy to settle for
are you and what do you do.” This part of the retreat
encourages everyone to know one another much more deeply.
- Clarify explicit
and implicit mutual expectations. Usually there are written expectations
that have been produced by lay leaders
for the pastor.
Sometimes there are also written expectations for the lay leaders
themselves. Then there are even more powerful unwritten expectations
of both pastor
and lay leaders. A large amount of time is spent in the retreat
to identify both levels of expectations. Even if they aren’t
totally accurate at the beginning, everyone is literally “on
the same page” and
will modify these expectations at the quarterly check-ins.
initial goals for the first year. Whether goals are already
in place or not, time is spent to clarify the goals for pastor
leaders. We encourage adopting modest goals that can be achieved
instead of perfect
goals that gather dust. Once again, these goals will probably
be modified at the quarterly check-ins.
- Establish four quarterly
check-in dates for monitoring these expectations and goals, and
for making the necessary “course corrections.” These
check-ins can be held on a Sunday afternoon, on a Saturday,
or even on a weeknight beginning with supper.
- Plan for communication
with a denominational representative. The best way to do this is
to invite the representative to attend
of the check-ins.
At the end of the first year plans are made
to continue the routine of mutual check-ins, with or without the assistance
of a Healthy
Hopefully a culture of mutual dialog about expectations and
goals has been developed during the first year and will last
duration of the pastorate.
Congregations with multiple staff
teams engage in a parallel process for the staff team itself. Usually
a longer initial
the best results.