by John Lepper, Coordinator
One year ago I was making plans for my first sabbatical as coordinator of Kentucky Baptist Fellowship. The purpose of the sabbatical was to find rest and refreshment and be renewed in body and mind. In addition to taking a January intensive class on Systems Theory as it relates to congregational leadership, I set a goal of writing a resource to help lay leaders during pastoral transitions.
The book was essentially completed during the twelve week sabbatical. Coincidentally, toward the end of the sabbatical, Baptists Today initiated a book-publishing arm called Nurturing Faith. A contract was signed and the book was released during the CBF annual meeting in June.
Building Bridges During the Interim: A Workbook for Congregational Leaders is being used by Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregations in Kentucky and beyond. Printed in a workbook format, the target audience is congregational leaders. Many resources are available for search committees and for interim ministers. Few, if any, resources are available for congregational leaders, so this new resource fills that gap.
The workbook is providing help to congregations beyond our KBF/CBF family. For example, last weekend, I led a workshop on this book at the Christian Church In Kentucky (Disciples of Christ) Regional Assembly. Leaders of other denominations have reported that the book useful.
Next week I will use the Building Bridges workbook as the basis of a workshop for deacons and spouses of First Baptist Church, Morehead. Don Mantooth is retiring as pastor of FBC, Morehead in December after serving that congregation for 30 years. I will help the lay leaders of this congregation answer the question, "My pastor is retiring! Now what?"
But whether the pastor has served thirty years or thirty months, pastoral transitions can be filled with anxiety, ambiguity and confusion. Building Bridges During the Interim helps congregational leaders navigate the transition by being less anxious and more hopeful and intentional.
One of my responsibilities as KBF coordinator is to consult with churches in various ways during an interim period. This book provides a needed and useful tool in such consultation.
A free copy of this resource is available to a KBF congregation when their pastor resigns. Digital and print copies are available for purchase at the following sources:
NurturingFaith: http://www.nurturingfaith.net/, Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.