Open with Prayer
Divide the participants into small groups and assign each group one of the following Bible passes.
Have each group read their passage and reflect on what is says about our shared call to ministry as Christians and the Body of Christ. What does this passage tell us about the call of our next pastor?
And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” 50And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me”
Ephesians 4: 11-16
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
1. How has our ministry been going? What is our current reality?
2. What is God calling us to be/do as a congregation with regard to our ministry? Do we have a shared vison for mission? If so, state it as clearly and simply as possible?
3. What was the nature of the relationship between our last pastor and congregation? Positive? Struggling? Cooperative? Tense?
4. How did our congregation work together with our last pastor? An equal partnership? Fruitful? All using their gifts and talents fully? Problematic?
5. How does leadership happen in our congregation? Is leadership shared/rotated among only a few? Does the council work cooperatively with the pastor? Is leadership exercised by the elected council and pastor? By Council members only? By members outside the council who really control the congregation? Is our leadership model working well? What needs to change for the good of the whole congregation? How can this happen? List action steps.
6. How do we handle conflict/tension in our congregation? Which of the following best describes our congregation:
- As a church, we respect and listen to each other and work things through without generating divisiveness.
- As a church, we try to respect and listen to each other, but it is not uncommon for differences of opinion to be a problem and for some people to choose sides. Some have left our church because of conflict.
- Conflict hurts our sense of unity, but we tend not to talk about it.
- Painful experience with conflict has been present, but it has been worked through, and we have learned from the experience.
- We have had some painful experiences with conflict, and they linger in the background.
- Open conflict is present, and we need a minister who can help us deal with it.
- Other (describe)…
7. How might our congregation prepare for the coming of our next pastor? What needs to change in our congregation to create a healthy, cooperative spirit between pastor and congregation? How can we effect these changes?
8. The NALC is committed to moving away from an institutional understanding of the Church, to the biblical commission to be a community of followers of Jesus who focus on being disciples and making disciples. Which best describes your understanding of this movement?
- Totally unaware
- Have heard about it
- Have been involved personally
- Some in the congregation are involved, some aren’t
- Congregation understands, is on-board and involved
9. What steps are needed to inform the congregation in this Great Commission movement in the NALC?
10. The four Core Values of the NALC are:
Divide into small groups, with four sheets of paper. Put one Core Value at the top of each sheet. Create a “word-cloud” on each page, with words related to what this Core Value means for your congregation. After the small groups have completed their exercise, summarize them on large sheets of newsprint. What do these say about how the congregation embraces/lives out the four Core Values of the NALC?
11. Discuss the notion of “hiring and firing a pastor” vs. “call as covenantal relationship.” Which reflects your congregation’s past understanding and practice? If your congregation has “hired and fired” pastors, what are the negative consequences for the pastor? For the congregation? What are the advantages of fostering an understanding of “call as covenantal relationship”? How can congregation and council move more toward covenantal relationship with regard to your next pastor?
12. The Congregational Profile to be completed by the Call Committee asks for the top five ministry needs with regard to your next pastor. For example, do you most need a “strong biblical preacher” or “one who relates well to all people”? Make a list of all the needs of your congregation with regard to your next pastor. (List on white-board or newsprint.) Summarize, group and edit the list to the top 10 needs. Pass out paper and ask participants to write down their top five, in order from 1 to 5, with 1 being most important.
- End the workshop by giving every participant the chance to respond to the following questions:
How do you feel about this process?
Was it helpful? Not helpful?
New insights? Any surprises?
Finally, is there anything you wanted to say and haven’t been able to?
Close with prayer/Lord’s Prayer