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Name This Column – September 2015

One of the ongoing challenges of my ministry has been to name my newsletter column. The alliterative possibilities aren’t that great: Roberta’s Rant (no way), Roberta’s Ramblings (eh), Roberta’s Reflections (a little trite). For many years I called my column “In the Interim” and didn’t have to worry about it. But now I find myself in this exciting new kind of ministry called Developmental Ministry and I need a new name for my column. So please, send your suggestions to

Developmental Ministry is a form of transition ministry, which is my specialty. My previous placements have been interim ministries, where the focus is on the ministerial transition. This ministry is different in that my focus will be on your development as a congregation. Your leadership has identified a number of long term goals that they believe you need to achieve in order to adapt to changing circumstances and remain healthy and vital. My job is to walk with all of you through this 3-5 year time frame while you work together towards those goals. The fruit of this process will be a thriving congregation living in the present and welcoming the future.  Not a bad vision for a congregation preparing to celebrate its 150th birthday!

Here’s what my contract says about specific goals:
1) Working together with lay leaders, transition from policy governance to policy-based governance to implement a shared ministry model.
2) Lead the congregation in creating the means to function successfully as a single minister church.
3) Congregational Growth – As articulated in the strategic plan, lead First U in attracting new members and increasing member retention/satisfaction.
4) Also as articulated in the strategic plan, lead First U in creating a culture of voluntarism and member engagement.

I have my work cut out for me.  You have your work cut out for you. I look forward to a fruitful and collaborative adventure in developmental ministry.
In Faith,