The Circuit Project: Small Churches & Circuit Ministers

Updated 3.25.18

PURSUING FAITHFUL FUTURES: Small Church Training Event
A training for pastors and lay leaders of small churches on the journey of faithful community, purpose, and mission.
Guest Trainers: Heidi Unruh and William M. Kondrath

On March 9-11, 2018, representatives from four churches plus an additional five potential circuit ministers met at Camp Tamarack for an intense experiential and communal training focused on leading congregations through a “Pursuing Faithful Futures” process.

This training was designed to address topics that are often “underneath the waterline” of church interactions–operating underneath the surface and revealing what is at the root of many challenges that congregations struggle with when discerning, articulating, and living out their mission and God-ordained purpose. It was also designed to equip church leaders — pastors,, layleaders, and circuit ministers alike — with tools and skills to help surface these unconscious or subconscious factors and to address them–and one another–with truth and respect.

Topics included:

  • Guidelines for dialogue/interaction;
  • adaptive vs. technical approaches and changes;
  • unpacking mental models of church and church leadership;
  • identifying, decoding, and responding appropriately to the breadth of emotions expressed in a congregation;
  • God in the midst of church story and leadership story – past and future;
  • change theory and dynamics and the role of the transformational leader(s)
  • implementation and experimentation

This training event kicked off what will be a 12-24 month project [“The Circuit Project”] during which the participants will be encouraged and equipped to take the material learned and build upon the relationships, knowledge base, and ministry tools. Churches that attended will receive support by the circuit ministers, as needed, as they take and apply the learning back to others in the congregation. Circuit ministers will, in addition, work with a small select group of additional churches who are in the midst of a pastoral transition and will incorporate the “Pursuing Faithful Futures” approach during their interim ministry period. Churches not formally part of this project can benefit from some of the resources shared by visiting the websites of Trainer Kondrath and Unruh, noted in their biographies below.

More updates will be shared as this project develops.

This project is made possible by a Palmer Grant received from the Virginia and Gordon Palmer Jr. Trust of the American Baptist Foundation Trust Grant, under the theme “Alternative Models for Developing Leadership in Mission and Ministry.”

______________________________________

Guest Trainers:

Rev. Bill Kondrath, M.Ed., D.Min.

After working for nearly two decades as a congregational pastor in three different settings, Bill taught graduate courses on leading change, collaborative leadership, multiculturalism, and affective competence, and coordinated the internship program for Episcopal Divinity School. For two years he served as editor of the Journal of Religious Leadership. Bill has been a consultant for Visions, Inc., a multicultural consulting and training collective for 18 years. Skilled in institutional analysis and change as well as executive coaching, Bill has written extensively on leadership, creativity, and change; understanding and celebrating differences; and the role of feelings in leadership and community building.  He is author of God’s Tapestry: Understanding and Celebrating Differences (Alban, 2008) and Facing Feelings in Faith Communities (Alban, 2013), as well as a chapter in Trouble the Water (Nurturing Faith, 2017), edited by Marie Clare P. Onwubuariri, Michael-Ray Matthews, and Cody J. Sanders. Several of his articles are available for free download at www.billkondrath.com.

Heidi Unruh

Heidi Unruh supports churches in living out their calling to love their neighbors. As director of the Congregations, Community Outreach and Leadership Development Project, her mission is to help leaders in the Body of Christ put big ideas into practice, so that ministry can thrive. She offers missional training, consulting and coaching, and has helped develop a variety of practical resources for churches, many available on www.urbanministry.org. Books she has coauthored include Churches That Make a Difference; Hope for Children in Poverty; and The Salt & Light Guidebook. She has team-taught courses on community ministry at Central Baptist Seminary and Palmer Seminary. In her home community of Hutchinson, KS, she and her husband work with Circles of Hope, supporting families on a path out of poverty. Heidi is an alumna of Wheaton College and has a degree in Theology and Public Policy from Palmer Seminary.

 

Posted in Church Resourcing, Ministerial Resourcing, News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *