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Resources e-letter 21:4 - August 2021

This issue has news of two new sets of Training Notes: TN133, Planning the next step, and TN134, Integrate your newcomers. There are also details of some major revisions to other resources on the website.
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NEW: Planning the next step

We are not good at what is known as ‘succession planning’. The most obvious application is planning for a Minister vacancy, but these notes take a broader look at the subject and also cover what happens when:

  • a church office-holder or team leader resigns;
  • a paid staff member announces they are leaving;
  • a church project or event comes to an end.

The notes consider ten ideas for action now covering advice such as:

  • Get planning onto the church agenda.
  • Maintain updated handover papers.
  • Insist on limited term appointments (for volunteers).
  • Overlap appointments if you can.

But there are also five listed dangers to avoid: power seekers in the vacancy, inappropriate timing, the assumption that like replaces like, when the person leaving then stays around, and the specific difficulties when a founder leaves.

Training Notes TN133, Planning the next step, are now available without charge from the Training Notes index page of this website.

NEW: Integrate your newcomers

Many churches confess that, even if great at an initial welcome, they are pretty haphazard at the next stage on. Hence these new notes which suggest a possible process with a flexible plan so that you can cater for the needs of different people.

Three case studies illustrate the principles suggested: Alastair, Ann and family are looking for a new church, Becky is a single mum from your Toddlers Group, and Cyril is a widower in his 70s fleeing from a church where a new Minister is changing everything.

What is needed is a ‘care plan’ tailored to each person. This should take into account:

  • who they are, uniquely made in God’s image;
  • their starting point – where they are just now;
  • where they need to get to.

You then devise a ‘route’ and determine the ‘speed’ of travel.

A number of possible stages in the process are listed.  These are followed by ten principles to follow such as:

  • Adjust your follow-up route to fit the person.
  • Run newcomer events or groups.
  • Have the process well organised but people-centred.
  • It’s more important they join the Church rather than your church.

Training Notes TN134, Integrate your newcomers, are now available without charge from the Training Notes index page of this website.

Major revisions to existing resources

‘Training Notes’ are quick reads of no more than 2,000 words, often in list format. ‘Articles’ take a more detailed look at their topic. The following items have had major revisions made at their recent two-year updates.

Training Notes TN75: Writing for the media
These notes encourage churches to see if they can get their local newspaper to introduce a Christian (or at least faith) comment column, gives advice on how to write for such a feature, and provides worked examples from one such column.

The examples were getting dated so in June these notes had a major revision with fresh examples and updated advice.

Training Notes TN4: Advice for all church administrators
This material has been extended this July to show that its application is to anyone involved in any kind of administrative service in a church, paid or voluntary. The idea is to make the topic of church administration fascinating rather than predictable.

Training Notes TN6: The Minister’s role in larger churches
This now has a new section on the danger of giving in to people’s expectations, showing that they want their Minister to be available to them (as the one go-to person for all church matters).

All the 193 items in the Resources section of the website are checked and updated every two years. These three have recently been given more major revisions.

Please ensure all these materials are widely promoted in your church. Thanks for your interest in my website. May God guide you and others in our uncertain, Covid world.