Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: With Pastor Dave’s departure date now established to be no later than May 17th, 2017, the Trinity Council has elected to move forward with an intentional pastoral transition process which we believe will provide the greatest chance for a smooth transition from Pastor Dave to the new lead pastor at Trinity. In anticipation of his upcoming departure, Pastor Dave introduced the Trinity Council to the idea of a “new kind of succession plan to ensure the best possible pastoral leadership transition for the church.” This planning process that was initially described in the book The Elephant in the Boardroom by Carolyn Weese and J. Russell Crabtree (2004). The Trinity Transition Team contacted Russ Crabtree who referred us to James Pence, a colleague of his who specializes in working with congregations in this form of planning. Dr. Pence explains the process in this way: Pastoral Succession Planning is an intentional approach to calling a pastor by creating a ‘strategic bridge’ from the past to the future, taking into account the history, culture, morale and governance factors having an impact on the call process and on the integration of the new pastor into the life of the congregation. The model of succession planning being employed here is evidence-based discernment, a process of discovery and conversation that translates congregational opinions, core values, and priorities into a focused course of action. It puts the focus on health, asset building, transparency, and resilience. On April 18th and 19th, Dr. Pence was here to explain the components of this approach and to interview staff and lay leaders in order to assess our interest in and readiness to use this process. At our April Council meeting, he presented the results of his assessment and responded to questions about this form of planning. Following the presentation, the Council voted with unanimous approval to proceed. This process will begin in June and take us into September 2016, when we will be ready to launch a search for our next Minister. The Transition Team is currently working on finalizing the application materials for the Call Team and the Startup Team for this transition. The applications will be available to the congregation on Sunday, May 15th. Applications will need to be completed and returned to the Trinity office no later than Sunday, May 29th. Both of these teams will need to be selected and approved by Council prior to the work retreats which will occur this summer. The major events which will take place over this summer, along with the tentative schedule, are outlined below. Dr. Pence will be with us for each of the three retreats and will join us for worship on each of these visits. He will hold a question and answer time on these Sunday's. The Foundations Retreat (June 17-20, 2016)
At this retreat (which will take place over a Friday evening – Saturday morning). Dr. Pence will train the leadership of the church in the succession planning process, present research data regarding succession patterns, and orient the transition team, the call committee, the start-up team, the church council, and staff to their roles and responsibilities. This retreat concludes with recommendations for structuring the Congregational Assessment Tool owned by Holy Cow! Consulting for the purposes of conducting a pastoral search.
Between the first and second visits, the congregation will administer the survey on its own with remote assistance from Holy Cow! Consulting and Dr. Pence. Tentative schedule for assessment is June 26 – July 17, 2016.
The Findings Retreat (July 22-24, 2016)
At this retreat (which will be held in a 2-3 hour session on Friday evening and a 3-4 hour session on Saturday morning) participants from the first will hear the results of the assessment and develop action plans to respond to the information included in the results (e.g. identification of strengths and weaknesses, determination of priorities for ministry, description of qualities desired for the next pastor).
Following a review of the findings, participants begin a draft of the Ministry Site Profile (MSP) to be completed by the Transition Team over the next 4-6 weeks.
Dr. Pence will support the work of the Transition Team remotely with the goal of having the MSP drafted by August 31. Ideally, the draft will have been available for congregational review before that date and feedback from the congregation incorporated into the document.
On Sunday, July 24, Dr. Pence will present an overview of the findings from the congregational assessment to a forum for the congregation.
The Profile Retreat (September 9-11, 2016)
At this retreat (which will follow a format similar to the Findings Retreat), Dr. Pence will meet with the Transition Team on Friday evening for a final review of the MSP prior to a discussion of the document on Saturday.
On Saturday, Dr. Pence will meet initially with the Call Committee to review best practices in the search process for pastoral calls. Following that meeting, the large group from Visits #1 and #2 will reconvene for a final discussion of the MSP prior to its being adopted by the Church Council. Assuming a positive vote by the Church Council at the end of this portion of the Saturday session, the MSP will be ready for presentation in its final form to the congregation at a forum on September 11.
Following the completion of the MSP review, Dr. Pence will meet with the Start-up Team for orientation and best practices in welcoming the next pastor.
This schedule will allow for the call process to begin this Fall. More information will be provided at a later date about the Call process. The Synod will play a key role with our Call Committee in the matching and recommendation of potential candidates. Congregational involvement in this pastoral succession planning model is essential. From the first visit, the consultant will help generate interest on the part of the congregation and incentives for participation, in addition to communicating the plan for moving forward with the model. It is critical for the Trinity Council to populate the succession planning teams with people who will bring enthusiasm and expertise to the table. Pastor Dave has given us the gift of disclosing his departure plans at this early date so that we have the time to complete this intentional transition process. We will want to make the best use possible of this advanced notice to prepare ourselves for this transition and to do what we can to ensure that the momentum we have built during Pastor Dave’s tenure continues with his successor. If you have questions, please contact Cliff Barnhart, Heather Anderson, Sally Davies, Brenda Large, or Tod Brostrom (the Trinity Transition Team). It is our goal to be as transparent as possible during this process. We will also be creating a Transition page on our website in the next couple of weeks, so please use that as a resource for information as well once that is in place. In His service
Cliff Barnhart Council President
Letter from Pastor Dave Pederson
Beloved in Christ Jesus,
On May 17, 2017, I will have been at Trinity for 30 years! Is that possible?!!!! Trinity has been wonderful. I have loved being here with you and in Dallas. I have watched an entire generation grow up in the faith. When I started we had 65 people in worship and were meeting in the former Camp Adair chapel moved to Dallas after the war. God has richly blessed us. It has been my honor to be God’s servant and your pastor. You are the best!
As most of you know, I love being papa to my two grandsons, Holden and Hunter (3 and 1 years). I remember leading Pete Peters funeral years ago and listening to his grandchildren talk about how important he was to them. I knew then that I needed to be near my grandchildren. Well, the time has come for Karen and I to move closer.
I will be open to a call starting this fall 2016. That means I will be leaving Trinity anytime between this fall and May 17, 2017.
About 6 months ago I met with the Assistant to the Bishop Susan Kitner. I brought her a book that the church council and I had read called, The Elephant in the Boardroom. It talks about a different way of doing church transitions using a consultant and using the exiting pastor as a resource rather than suddenly leaving and going through what would be a 2 to 3 year transition. I shared this idea with Susan and she was very encouraging and even thought this process had never been done before in Oregon, she knew of the process and suggested we use Jim Pence who had just used this process in a church in Olympia, Washington.
Our council president, Cliff Barnhart, has included a letter with this one outlining the process a little more. There will be more information coming. Jim Pence will speak with the congregation several times. As we go through the transition he will be available for your personal questions as well. You can also talk to me or any transition team member about the process. My role during this process is to be your pastor. Multiple groups will be set up to guide the transition process.
I like this process because it gives us more time to talk about our ministry together and what that has meant. I care deeply about Trinity and it’s future. I love and care for you who have made Trinity such a blessing for me and my family. Let’s use this time we have left together to prepare well for Trinity’s future into which God is so graciously calling us.