One of the events scheduled during the Interim period is something I refer to as “A Day of Reflection” The idea for these events came out of “Bible Studies for the Journey” found in the book Temporary Shepherds: A Congregational Handbook for Interim Ministry by Roger S. Nicholson. This is simply my account of how I have put his ideas in to action in various ministry settings.
As part of the interim process, the church needs a time to reflect on its past, present and future. I have found that this type of event is successful in most settings where the church is struggling to discern their future. The first two churches I used this in were on the brink of closure. By encouraging them to take a close look at Scripture and to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit through their past and present, they could begin to dream new dreams for their future. Even if a church decides later to close its doors, this event provides a place where the members can celebrate and remember past accomplishments.
In preparation, I work with the board or session of the church to appoint two people for each small group that will be formed that morning. One person will lead the discussion and the other will be the scribe. Later, when small groups come back together, the scribe would share with the congregation key points made in the small groups. Small groups consist of 6 to 8 participants. The pastor or event leader should not be a member of the small groups. Their role is to facilitate the events, ensuring that the event stays on track.
Further, I try to obtain information concerning the past history of the church. This can be done through written histories, newsletters, board or session minutes, annual reports and interviews with members. A timeline can be created prior to the event or during the event. Either way, by the end of the process, you should have a good time-line of the church.
Every time I have conducted these events, the people come out of it with a better appreciation of each other. For some, this could be the first time that they have sat down with other members of the church and shared their stories and spoken honestly with each other in a safe environment.
See “The Event: A Day of Reflection – Our Past” which describes the event from beginning to end.