Thursday, December 29, 2011

How Transition is Changing Us — By Norman

For the last couple of years I have been aware of being in a time of transition in my career, and for 2010 and into 2011 I was quite consciously guiding Central Christian Church on their transition not only to new pastors (Rev. Drs. Steve and Debbie Chisolm) but to a new era of ministry.

In this process, God is changing me. I am having to come to terms with the “living in tents” metaphor (Hebrews 11:9-11) that I have claimed for many years. After long relationships with three congregations (12, 17 and 11 years), I hope to have approximately one year relationships with at least another 5 or 6 congregations. This is not just a new place to serve every year but a recognition that I am personally changing at least as much as I was as an adolescent and young adult.

Candy and I are in our own transition even as we are guiding this congregation through their transition. Erik is still living with us, so we are also participants in his transition from college student to fully independent adult. As he is addressing some of those challenges, we are constantly trying to balance granting him adult independence and supporting him on his journey.

As appealing as some time in San Antonio might have been, in light of our own transitions, we are thankful to be able to all be in our home together, rather than have a commuter marriage and ministry. In retrospect, we are also very thankful to be at 1st Christian Church in Duncanville. They have welcomed us very quickly (quick in and quick out is part of being an interim pastor). We are already enriched by these new friends as we have been by all of you “from our past.” They recognize God has them at the threshold of something new and are open and enthusiastic about my leadership and have been good sports about trying new things. I am having a lot of fun as their interim pastor.

Interim pastoral ministry brings the freedom of not having been part of the history and being able to hand the future off to someone else. I am thankful to be serving this congregation as my first interim pastorate. I know from experience and the Interim Ministry Network training that the interim period between pastors can be traumatic and conflictual. I know that I’m likely to face this with another congregation, but starting in a fairly healthy congregation is a gift.

We are finding walking with this congregation’s transitions to be God’s gift to help us with our life transitions.

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