The first issue of The Brief this past summer noted 24 ways in which CRCNA ministries have shifted in the past six years, leaning into a posture of blessing congregational ministry (see The Six Year Pivot To Bless Congregations).
This very significant shift honors the church order’s declaration (art. 75.b.) that we are called to “assist those churches needing support to fulfill their mission.” During the duration of the Connections I project (2016 to 2019), Colin Watson coined the phrase “Connections Mindset” to name the posture that we aspire to.
Our current Connections (II) team defines this mindset as follows:
A Connections Mindset blesses congregations by encouraging them to embody their calling and mission more fully through active listening, holy curiosity, imagining with them their God-led future, and serving as a strategizing partner.
Our little team is committed to inviting all CRCNA staff to embody the Connections Mindset, to see it lived out in every interaction between congregations and CRC ministries as well as between the ministries themselves.
The Connections project believes living out this mindset encompasses these four shifts:
Listening to congregations as if we’re sitting around the table as a family.
Always thinking “Who else could contribute to this conversation for the benefit of this congregation?”
Finding, developing, sharing, and collaborating on resources that might be of help to this congregation.
Respecting the specific context, identity, and vision of each local congregation.
The Connections Mindset is still a fairly new way of thinking for us, but the shift is well underway. After all, the need to connect is a basic human need. It helps us grow, learn, and live out our calling. As a denomination this mindset is key to walking alongside our congregations, and so assisting their capacity to thrive in their mission.
In what ways is your ministry embodying the Connections Mindset?