Specialized Interim Minister
Second Reformed Church of Rotterdam, NY
(Cobblestone Church)
Rotterdam, NY
01/2009 – 12/2009

  • I did not seek to renew this contract after 12 months. I came to see that I did not have the tools I needed to adequately prepare this congregation to find and adopt changes needed to avoid closure in the coming years.
  • Visited all the members of the congregation in the first 6 months letting people discuss their perspectives on the past 20 years of the ministry and grieve the past.
  • Developed in the congregation a true sense of the financial difficulties they faced (many were in denial) and the urgency for developing a more effective ministry approach.
  • Encouraged the Consistory to consider whether it would be wiser to call a full-time pastor in an effort to renew the congregation (risking running out of funds) or seek either a part-time pastor or pulpit supply to stretch out the funds while they seek to renew the congregation’s ministry. The Consistory ultimately (after I left) chose to seek a part-time minister and at this writing is expanding the funds in their endowment with the savings.
  • Walked the congregation through 3 Town Hall Meetings, disclosing the realities of the previous 50 years of ministry, discovering the real ministry heart of the congregation and developing with them a mission concept (“a belonging church”), and sought to measure the church’s commitment to that concept. In the end, the congregation showed a desire to focus on present care-taking ministries (through efforts such as the annual rummage sales).
  • Discovered and revealed “loss” of a $100 bill from the offering plate and sought unsuccessfully to uncover the “cause”, leading to a more consistent following of proper counting procedures where two people were present at each counting.
  • Realized that much of the congregation lacked a commitment to any vision and expected to passively wait for growth to appear or be created by an incoming pastor, and so I held a 4th Town Hall Meeting to address the issues of adopting the vision and testing the ability for the congregation to actively embrace friendship-evangelism styles.
  • Worked with my wife to create a workshop series on “Befriending and Inviting” to equip members/attendees to draw outsiders into their lives (friendship evangelism) and into the congregation. We co-taught this course beginning in October.
  • Came to realize my need for additional training to deal with emotionally fused congregations unable to change.