“Marks of a Faithful Regional Church” is an important document that all regions have adopted and reaffirmed over the years. These marks are excellent signposts for regional church life. In the coming months we will be lifting these up for own information and edification.
The Fifth Mark of a Faithful Regional Church instructs us that regions are charged with:
CARING FOR MINISTERS AND THE MINISTRY
The Region provides care for ministers and their families. The Region helps promote healthy relationships between congregations and their leaders. The Region assists clergy and congregations in the Search and Call process in order to match the needs of congregations with the particular gifts and graces of ministerial leaders.
The regional church stands in a wonderful place to provide care and nurture, as well as mutual accountability for the whole ministry of the whole church. Regions commission, ordain, grant standing and facilitate transition among the clergy. Regions also, and it is important that we do this, stand with ministers and families in times of transition, joy, chaos and even pain. A unique calling of the region is to present a whole ministry that is loved and equipped to the whole church. It is holy work.
I have been the recipient of care and nurture by the regional church. The love for me has been a very real sign of God’s good grace in the world. The regional church has helped me grow when I need to grow and loved me when I needed loved. My appreciation for this presence in my ministry has shaped me in infinite ways. I am grateful. See below a piece from my Credo. When it comes to the fifth mark, this I believe and seek to practice as a regional minister who loves ministers.
I believe that ministers (like all of the baptized) are signs of grace and deserve to know and receive that affirmation and love of the church, and I believe that an important calling upon this office is to present a whole ministry to the whole church. I believe that pastors are well served by having and knowing a loving pastor, and that congregations are well served by competence and presence when searching for a pastor or when divisive tension presents around the pastoral relationship. I believe that ministers and the ministry are too important to be left alone or lonely.
I believe in the important work of Caring for Ministers and the Ministry. It is a sign of regional faithfulness. I believe it!
To read the other articles in the continuing "Marks of a Faithful Regional Church" series, click the linked titles below. All 12 articles will be posted by the end of 2020.