September 2022 Newsletter

August Kick Off Event: Initial Themes from the 2022-2023 Cohort

Director, Dr. Trisha Wheelock

Pastors convened in August for the 4th annual Moses Project Kick Off event. Luther Memorial Church, located on Grand View University's campus, provided the meeting space. This year we welcomed 20 new rural pastors from South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan for three days of worship, reflection, and collegiality. Grand View's new President, Dr. Rachelle Keck, even dropped in to welcome pastors.

 

As part of their programming, Moses Pastors participate in an initial interview with a Grand View faculty evaluator. These interviews are used for research and evaluation purposes. Here are the initial themes from the 2022 cohort:

  • Keeping up with synod expectations (am I doing enough? Am I ever doing enough? Am I doing the right things?)

  • Recharging after COVID, which has left some participants exhausted and depleted, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Some are not sure they can continue in ministry.

  • Managing difficult congregants (including congregational bullying and just plain meanness)

  • Perception of how women should act (as pastors, communicators, etc)

  • Understanding rural communities when didn’t grow up that way and/or are seen as an outsider

  • Managing dynamics of politically and socially conservative congregations

 

This information helps us with programming and foci for the year. Relationships, managing expectations, setting appropriate boundaries, and taking time to rest and refresh remain important for the well being of rural pastors.