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Problems We’ve Solved

All of the work we do focuses on a congregation’s health and growth. Typically this starts with the Leadership Team, not only as it leads the change processes, but as it works on its own development. The stories below are about strategy and governance, working through conflict (RP), and identifying the most important quality characteristic to focus on (NCD).

Strategy, Governance & Change

St. Peter’s:

Back Story: The Bishop asked FaithCARE to work with this parish. Other attempts by the Diocese to work through the parish’s difficulties had produced little reconciliation. The parish was stuck. A significant minority in the parish were consistently undermining the priest. A long history of discontent had plagued the parish. A failed amalgamation attempt had left them in even greater disarray. For two years, poor communication had left parishioners angry and assigning blame all round.

Action: We held a restorative discussion with the Wardens, one past Warden and the Priest, centered on the incumbent’s leadership style. The successful outcome included an agreement to hold a second facilitated conversation with a larger group including six more past wardens. This circle resulted in an agreement to hold a congregational meeting facilitated by FaithCARE.

Impact: This parish moved forward, starting a visioning and strategic planning exercise.

Fourth Street Church

Back Story: This was a congregation characterized by favouritism by the pastor, poor communication, and dwindling finances. They’d experience three difficult pastor departures, and were currently seeking the guidance of their District Superintendent. Action: FaithCARE facilitated a circle with the team selected to support the restorative process. Many team members were hurting. They needed a chance to speak about it. Though the team was keen to move forward, the facilitators cautioned against moving too quickly. The impact of the past few years, and the pastor’s abrupt departure were still weighing on the congregation. FaithCARE organized and facilitated a Bible Study Series including individual reflections and group exercises. Impact: Most felt they had been heard and were generally ready to move forward. The level of interaction and connection between members rose. People realized they needed to step up as individuals, and express themselves more openly. In advance of the new pastor’s arrival, future circles were anticipated, and several suggestions presented for her consideration and future work with the congregation’s leadership team.

Good Tidings Fellowship Church

Back Story: A Natural Church Development (NCD) Profile alerted the denominational leadership to a leadership crisis. FaithCARE was called in. The interim pastor wanted to see a process in place to help build relationships across the congregation, and to have the congregation consider their mission and ministry and the kind of leadership needed to move forward well. Action: A series of monthly town-hall gatherings was developed. Monthly themes included: What do you value about being part of this faith community? What leadership qualities are you looking for in a pastor and other leaders in our church? In an effective leadership style in a church, what is the role of the members? What are the attributes and qualities of a restorative leader? What outcomes would you see with a restorative leader? Impact: Shortly thereafter, the pastor accepted a call to another congregation and the Call Committee Coach assigned from the denominational office picked up on the work that had been done. She took the outcomes of the process and integrated them into the congregation’s discussion about their future needs: where they were heading as a community, and what kind of leader they needed to come alongside them in this process.

Redeemer

Back Story: The parish was divided over the abrupt dismissal of their priest: one side felt the priest had been mistreated. The other considered his departure necessary. Both sides were unable to hear the other. Leadership had become ineffective. People were leaving the church. Before a new priest would be appointed, the parish had to find a way forward.

Action: FaithCARE met with both groups independently, then brought them together for a facilitated conversation. The group’s agreement included: the parish offers a service of healing and reconciliation to acknowledge the hurt people had suffered through the experience; more opportunities for those who wished to talk about the impact of the situation on them. FaithCARE also provided a series of workshops to help restore relationships and consider a restorative approach to congregational life.

Impact: A number of relationships were restored. People started to come back to church. Leadership regained its confidence. A new priest was appointed. While some people were still upset the priest had been let go, they were able to move on. Parishioners found ways to start to renew life at the church.

FaithCARE Stories:

Switching things up

If you, your leadership team and/or your congregation aren’t having the most important conversation because of conflict, or you don’t know where to start, Fordelm can work with you through NCD, FaithCARE or both.