Expectations. Whether we set new goals or resolutions for a new year or at some other juncture, when we make a decision to pursue a goal or start a new project there comes a time to assess our progress. If we find ourselves on a different trail, is it because we missed the signpost or because we learned an alternate route was more scenic?
For the Lead Minister each day’s walk is different, and on some of those paths Rev. Mark Ward encounters crowds, and others are nearly solitary routes. In the process of figuring out how to review his work, we have come to realize that, just as some of us know in our own job descriptions, much of what the Lead Minister does in our—or any large—congregation is largely unseen. Mark is visible while leading worship and preaching, and many of us personally know his role in pastoral care, although few realize how much time he devotes every week to this. He spends much time behind the scenes preparing for each worship service to make it “beautifully crafted into a meaningful whole,” as services were described at one of our listening meetings.
Other of his ministerial roles are delineated in the Letter of Call and include working with the Board, being responsible for all congregational committees, and providing staff leadership and evaluation. In addition to participating in Social Justice events, he attends national and regional ministerial gatherings and meetings. One of our expectations, shared by Mark, is that he has space on his schedule for professional and personal growth.
The Board and Congregation are considering our visions for our future and what ministries we can do well together. The ministerial review process should ensure clear mutual communication of congregational and ministerial goals.
As the UUCA Board of Trustees, we set our expectations for the Lead Minister in the Executive role through the Ends and Limitations, aspects of which are monitored monthly by the Board as a whole.
A Ministerial Review Task Force was appointed last year to recommend a model for annual review of the Lead Minister’s ministerial roles.
The Task Force concluded that “developing this review process underscored… the size and complexity of the lead minister role in a large congregation” and recommended a cyclical rotation of focus on ministerial roles outlined in the Letter of Call:
Year A: Shared Leadership, Services to Board and committees, and relationship to staff
Year B: Pulpit and Worship services, and services to persons
Year C: Community activities
The Board accepted the Task Force’s report with gratitude to Melissa Davis, Chair, and members, Shel Altschul, Wendy Seligmann, and Dale Wachowiak.
Lead Minister Review Task Force will be a standing task force reporting to the Board and comprised of six members of the Congregation: two appointed by the Lead Minister and four by the Board, at least two of whom will be Trustees. Members will serve staggered three year terms.