At the foundation of Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church is relationship-building

By Jen Jensen

The post-resurrection appearance of Jesus on the Emmaus Road in Luke’s gospel is powerful because it reminds us that Jesus’ presence is as important as his sermons and stories.

Jesus was present as the two men he met on the road confessed what was weighing deep within each of them. Not only did they share with one another, Jesus walked alongside them hoping to sense where they were on their journey. Jesus reminded them that their story was not yet complete, that God’s plan was unfolding before them. His reassurance was simple and profound, so much so they invited him to stay. Around the fellowship of the table that evening–in a place of mutual discovery and exploration–Jesus revealed himself. Following events that left them questioning nearly everything, they found themselves in a space of genuine care and companionship with Jesus himself. It was there they knew their journey was valued and that, without a doubt, God’s plan would continue to unfold. With renewed faith for their journey, the two shared the hope and joy of the evening with their companions.

Continuing the work of Jesus, the Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church program exists in the Church of the Brethren to walk with, listen to, and advocate for part-time, multi-vocational, and not-paid-to-scale pastors. The program empowers them to live and lead well by enriching their journey through intentional relationships and thoughtful wisdom sharing.

A survey of Church of the Brethren district executives in 2018 found that at least 75 percent of pastors serving congregations were part-time, multi-vocational, or not-paid-to-scale. In 2019, a subsequent study of Church of the Brethren part-time and multi-vocational pastors found that chief among their needs were support and resources, as well as opportunities to connect and learn. Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church is directly addressing those needs by providing intentional relationships and thoughtful wisdom sharing, while pastors retain agency to pick and choose the type of support they need depending on their schedule, their season of ministry, and their hopes for thriving in ministry.

At the foundation of Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church is relationship-building. “Circuit riders” are the heart of the program, providing clergy peer relationships that are mutually beneficial. Also offered this year are opportunities for spiritual direction and clergy coaching. Small group connections include webinars, book studies, and open group spiritual support that provides interactive participation on topics relevant to pastors’ work and well-being.

Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church believes wholeheartedly that ministry leaders need the gift to connect with peers who provide tangible grace, engage in intentional opportunities for rest and renewal of call, and time to rediscover their deeply held purpose.

Find a list of opportunities available through Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church at www.brethren.org/ministryoffice/part-time-pastor or by contacting program manager Jen Jensen, at jjensen@brethren.org. You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram at @ptpftcbrethren.

— Jen Jensen is program manager for Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church, a program within the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry.

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