As the Transitional Leadership Team, we’ve been starting to look in some detail at a range of important issues.
In particular, we recognize the importance of ensuring that there’s fruitful pastoral oversight being well and wisely exercised. A ‘starter paper’ on this area of our life is available for any who wish: and what we see as pressing is the need (a) to clarify what’s meant by pastoral oversight, and (b) to simplify the structures which we have in place – for there is, it seems a measure of confusion around this crucial area of ministry. In pursuit of (a), the need to clarify what’s meant by pastoral oversight, I’ve encouraged all the elders to read ‘The Shepherd Leader’ by Timothy Z Witmer.
There’s a similar ‘starter paper’ available on another important area of our life, namely the sort of ‘aspirations’ which we have, the basic shape which we believe Christ means our congregation’s life should have – the aim, direction, emphases: this ‘starter paper’ is entitled ‘Vision’, and we’re doing some work on that as well. It’s work, though, we’re keen that all should share, and we’re keen to be talking things through and teasing things out together as a fellowship. And it is our conviction that, come the end of summer, we’ll be well placed to ‘set out our stall’, as it were, and say “This, under God, is what we aspire to’: which is why we’ve also flagged up a weekend away in October, where we’ll aim to map out something of that future.
A third area which we’ve recognized as crucial relates to the matter of corporate prayer. Again there’s a ‘starter paper’ available for any who wish (like the others, it’s really just a ‘scene-setting’ thing, designed to stimulate thought and discussion). Our concern here is to maximize the contexts for such corporate prayer, and to minimize confusion, and the tensions which can sometimes be its consequence.
While these are three separate issues, we’re also aware that they are not entirely unrelated, and that addressing each involves addressing all. We value the prayers, and indeed the involvement, of the congregation as we continue to do so, and are grateful for all the encouragement we’ve received.