What Do We Hope For in an Interim Minister?

About 40 folks participated with robust and thoughtful input in 2 forums in February and March, 2024.  We discussed what we hope for in an Interim Minister. Here is a summary of those conversations.
The top 4 choices of what we want the roles of our Interim Minister to be are:

  • Prophetic Role – help us imagine our future and inspire us  
  • Present inspiring and challenging Sunday services 
  • Develop volunteers and lay leaders 
  • Foster a sense of community  

These are the questions asked of participants and their summarized answers.

1. What is your favorite thing about our congregation that you would like to continue?  
a. Community: Connections group, coffee fellowship, meditation group, Life Lines Lay Ministry
b. Sunday service: Joys and Concerns. Time for All Ages, inspiring sermons, homilists, music
c. Social Action: Share the Plate, Partner Church, Family Promise, 

2. What concerns do you have about our congregation’s financial sustainability?
a. Need to increase income, especially from rentals and fundraisers
b. Over-reliance on pledges, decreased # of pledges
c. Inflation
d. Be financially solvent before interim & settled minister; pay minister and staff adequately
e. aging congregation – grow and diversify 

3. How do we support having difficult conversations and staying in relationship? 
a. Safer Congregations Committee (peer-to-peer congregational conflicts)
b. Connections Groups Life Lines Lay Ministry
c. Teaching and modeling Covenant of Right Relations

4. It could be unifying and energizing if the Interim Minister changed…
a. Services: livestream potential, other religious sources in addition to Buddhism and Christianity
b. Be more welcoming: of newcomers, minister office hours, listening to members and getting to know us, increase diversity
c. More connection on Regional and National level: maintain engagement with UUA, increase engagement with partner church, visit other churches in our community, create Young Adult (18-24) program

5. It could become contentious if the Interim Minister changed…
a. Any of our favorites in question #1
b. Changes should be democratic & transparent
c. Expresses outspoken beliefs about Art II, UUA; strong Christian orientation; 

6. What went well during this current shared ministry that should be continued? 
• Homilists/story-tellers
• Lifelines Lay Ministry
• Teams, Committees 
• Social justice
• Connections Group
• Coffee service
• Music ministry

7. What were the biggest challenges during this current shared ministry that need to be rectified? 
• Communication
• Pulpit-relevancy to current affairs/modern concerns
• social presence in wider community 
• more support on audio/visual for streaming
• Minister that is tech savvy
• Update Directory
• watch out for over commitment & burnout; retention – what makes people want to stay involved; how to keep people engaged 
• lonely in a crowd – need to connect with new people

8. What do you perceive the most important shared small groups ministries of our congregation to be now?
• Fellowship (coffee hour)
• Connections Groups
• LRE (youth/families)
• Life Lines
• Worship Team
• Weekly and Monthly Communication
• Music
• Family Promise
• Membership/Starting Point classes 
• Partner Church micro-finance

9. What do you perceive the most important shared ministries of our congregation should be in the future?
• Focus on families/youth and Young Adults
• UUCS more visible in community; 
• Increase diversity
• more social opportunities
• New member support and engagement: mentoring; ask new members how they want to participate, introductions to new groups

10. What are big concerns for you that haven’t been touched on?
a. How to prepare the congregation for new ideas or change
b. Leadership Development
c. Make sure new minister knows which programs are important to us and which to continue
d. Summer lull; how to keep members engaged over the summer