Supt. Jeff Ford will be making his way around doing church visits, although they are much more involved and intentional than just a “visit.” Several pastors have asked what to expect from scheduled visits. The purpose for these visits is to add value to our pastors, leaders, and congregations in pursuing their mission with Jesus. There are three parts to these church visits: Seeing, Listening, and Envisioning.
I want to “see” the church in action. So, the visits will center around the Sunday worship experience. I will not be preaching, but seeing what goes on in a typical Sunday gathering, by those who always do it. I’ll also see the context of the ministry – facilities, people, and surrounding community. The congregation will “see” as well. They will see that we care and want to help them stay on mission with Jesus. Probably most importantly, they will know that they are “seen.” We see you.
A big part of my role will be “listening” and hearing. I will listen to pastors – whether you’re in the lead, or on the staff. I’ll listen to how you are doing as you balance your life and soul. I’ll listen to your plans, dreams, vision. We’ll celebrate victories and I’ll listen to your challenges, struggles, and needs. Part of my time will be spent with church leaders. When we meet together, I’ll have questions – lots of questions – so I can learn about your church. I’ll hear about the mission Jesus has given you and how you are carrying it out.
There are two parts of envisioning. During my meeting with the church leadership team, I’ll begin catching the vision you have for your church. I’ll celebrate with you the fruitfulness of this ministry. But also, our time together will include discovering difficult challenges this church is facing and sticking points keeping it from moving forward. I’ll offer some observations from a Mission Insite demographic report, and we’ll consider how those could enhance your approach in your context. I’ll promote mission advancement as we consider the Free Methodist Vision Framework, looking specifically at the defined mission measures. Your leadership team will start identifying the next breakthrough needed at your church to be fully engaged in the mission of Jesus. Together, we’ll begin developing a strategy to see that come to light.
I am relying heavily on Lead Pastors to determine the best way for all this to happen, in your context. In most cases, it can all be accomplished on a big, busy Sunday. In other cases, where there are multiple staff, or complicated issues, a Saturday or Monday might be needed. I’ll work with each situation, in advance, to make it the most helpful and productive as possible. As always, contact me – directly – with questions or concerns. A conversation ahead of time could make our time more productive.
Two weeks before your scheduled visit, you will be asked to fill out a Church Visit Information Form. Please do that immediately so we can communicate about any specific concerns. Here’s a link to that form, if you want to get a jump on it, or are curious what will be asked. (I need to receive it back NO LATER than 5 days before my visit.)
Supt. Jeff Ford