Is Your Congregational Grief and Loss Model Adequate?

closure grief loss transition Sep 08, 2020

[The following is the transcript of this week’s video. It’s not word for word but a close representation of what Cam said in his video. This transcript is provided for those of you who are unable to watch the video or would prefer to read the message instead of listen to it].

Is your congregational grief and loss model adequate? I asked you that question, not only for those of you dealing with congregations in transition as you come to the season of closure, but because we have a much broader reality going on in our congregations because of what's going on in our culture because of the pandemic. and COVID realities and restrictions. There's been a lot of loss.

There's been a lot of things to be grieved in order for congregations to be able to move forward. What I have to say today might be relevant for a lot of situations. Now, I'm speaking mostly to people who are involved with churches in transition but as you rub shoulders and come in touch with...

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Is Your Grief and Loss Model Adequate?

grief loss transition Sep 01, 2020

Listen to the audio version here. 

[The following is the transcript of this week’s video. It’s not word for word but a close representation of what Cam said in his video. This transcript is provided for those of you who are unable to watch the video or would prefer to read the message instead of listen to it].

I have a question for you that I'd like you to think about for just for a few minutes.

Is your grief and loss model that you're working with adequate? There's been so many losses this last year. So many people that are dealing with transition, dealing with job loss, financial loss, loss of health. People have lost family members. There's been a great disturbance in the whole church community — going from the way things used to be to whatever the way things might look like in the future.

I want to suggest that your loss model and my loss model, if it looks like this (see image), might be inadequate. This model does have value and can help...

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Why Wait at Wisdom's Doorway?

[The following is the transcript of this week’s video. It’s not word for word but a close representation of what Cam said in his video. This transcript is provided for those of you who are unable to watch the video or would prefer to read the message instead of listen to it].

We are living in a time of transition. And I’m talking not only about the kind a congregation goes through during a pastoral change. As I've talked to people and looked around is that all of us are dealing with transition on multiple levels. We're dealing with it personally. We're dealing it with it in our families. We're dealing with it in our communities, in the congregations we work with with or without pastors.

And as I've wrestled with being a resilient leader — someone who can be there for people and provide guidance, insight, and wisdom, I've been looking for a way to stay strong on the inside so that my outside world can be effective and sustainable.

I have a...

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Leading During Times of Change

Uncategorized Jul 15, 2020

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!

— Proverbs 3:5-7 TM

These words can be wind in our sails and adrenaline in our spiritual veins during times of uncertainty and change. When life gets crazy and disruptive, we don’t have to be the one to figure it all out. God will lead us and all we have to do is simply follow him and look to him for the direction we need to live and lead.  

In these days, as we learn to lead ourselves, our families, churches in transition, and regions filled with congregations looking for guidance, we must tune into what God is saying and rely upon Him for the direction and wisdom we need.  

Four qualities of those who...

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When You Don't Know Where You're Going

Uncategorized Jul 15, 2020

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. 
I do not see the road ahead of me. 
I cannot know for certain where it will end. 
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am 
following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. 
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. 
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. 
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. 
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road 
though I know nothing about it. 
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem 
to be lost and in the shadow of death. 
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, 
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. 
— Thomas Merton (Thoughts in Solitude)

You may resonate with these words of Thomas Merton. The predictable has been replaced with the uncertain. We’ve been forced out of our comfort zone...

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The Marvelous Grace of Insecurity: Getting to Hopelessness

growth hope Apr 30, 2020

Note: This is a guest article by Transitional Leader and Author Len Hjalmarson* currently serving as a Transitional Pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Chilliwack BC. 

We live in a time of profound disorientation. Some have called this ‘the great unraveling.’ Institutions we relied on are failing us. Millions of people have experienced radical displacement through wars, famines and droughts. And now suddenly we find the economies of the world in free-fall. To add insult to injury, our normal support systems are barely able to cope, straining under the requirement of isolation.

For churches and church leaders, the experience is not different. Our relationships are what make us a body. Yet that glue itself is tested under the solvent of these unique conditions. How do leaders lead when we can’t gather? What can we do anyway? We are definitely not equipped to lead organizations under these conditions. We find ourselves having to adapt to these times while...

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Lord Show Us What You See!

opportunity perspective Mar 26, 2020

I am struck today, during this unprecedented worldwide Covid-19 situation of what God sees.  What is He saying to us during this unique period of isolation?  How do we take full advantage of this opportunity?

I have been drawn to the women at the well (John 4:4-42) - read it from her isolation perspective.  She is isolated on three levels.  First, as a Samaritan, she is isolated culturally from the Jewish community. The isolation is quite bitter and downgrading towards the Samaritans.

Secondly, she is isolated (ostracized) socially from other people in her community.  This is a result of her lifestyle choices of being with too many men.  She is at the well in the middle of the day because she is not culturally allowed to be with others in the morning.  All alone.

Thirdly, we come to understand she feels isolated from worshipping God at the temple

Yet she encounters Jesus in a powerful way in her isolation.  Jesus uses some very bold dialogue...

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The Power of a Little Quiet

learning uncertainty Mar 19, 2020

“Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him.” - Psalm 37:7

What do you do in times of uncertainty?  How do we lead when anxious people look to us for stability and a road map when we don’t have one? 

Times of uncertainty are certainly not new but when they come, we are called upon to act in such a way that provides help and hope for those depending on us. To do that, however, we have to get our inside world put right.  

For me, what has helped me get my inside world right is Psalm 37:7 and the promise found within. 

Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him.

These words are an anchor in the storm.  A beacon in the fog.  A rock amidst shifting sand. A place to lay down our weary lives.  

We quiet down before God not just as an escape from our duty but as a place to go in order to fulfill our duty. I (not unlike many of you) have had to deal with canceled events, lost opportunity, financial loss, health concerns,...

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Managing Transitions

growth transition Feb 14, 2020

“It isn't the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions.” — W. Bridges* 

Change is situational and transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation (according to W. Bridges). Unless transition occurs, change will not work. 

“There can be any number of changes, but unless there are transitions, nothing will be different when the dust clears.” — W. Bridges

We see this in our personal lives and in the congregations we serve. 

The three stages in transition

Transition begins with an ending, moves into the neutral zone, then enters into a new beginning phase.  

1. An ending 

Transition begins with an ending and a letting go. Israelite's were given the opportunity to let go of Egypt as the first step in their transitional journey to the Promised Land. Their ending involved a radical event and was the intervention strategy God used to launch them on their journey...

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