A Year in the Life of TCM: Learnings, Surprises, Challenges, Joys and Hopes

Just over a year has passed since Rev. Brigit Stevens began as executive conference minister of the Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota Conferences UCC and the experiment of a shared staffing model for the Tri-Conference Ministries began. Here’s Rev. Stevens’ reflection on the past year of transition, learning and experimentation:

What have you learned in this past year?

I am continuing to learn the many great assets, skills, interests, experiences, and wisdom of the leaders of our church and how to network and resource those for our shared ministry. I feel responsible to work hard and do a great many things. And sometimes, I forget that one of my jobs is to give work that comes my way over to others. This isn’t a new lesson for me, and I suspect I’ll get to keep working on it for my lifetime.

What has surprised you?

The intricacies and volume of details for each conference has been surprising. The nuances of how each Board of Directors works, plans for each and all of us to participate in General Synod, and the assumptions about what a conference staff “normally” does are examples of the layers of details the whole staff are learning and tending to.

What has been the greatest challenge?

Time! We have great big hopes and plans and everything requires more time than any of us would like.

What has been the greatest joy?

The good people of our church! I am beginning to get to know a wide variety of amazing people throughout our conferences. I know I’m biased, but I’m convinced that we have some of the best church folks in the UCC among us. What a gift that I get to work with so many of them!

What is your hope moving forward?

My deepest hope is that we will discern together the vision God has for us and our role within God’s church in this particular time and place. More practically, that we’ll figure out our niche in this world, where our talents and resources meet the world’s needs most accurately, and boldly follow Jesus’ lead into those places.