Seeking the wisdom/experience of this group. In discerning my next call - as first-time rector - I'm considering two very different places. One, is a church with incredible potential, but a real fixer upper. It's a risk, but in the neighborhood in which I've lived for a decade. (I've been serving as associate at a growing and thriving church across town all these years.) It will be a tremendous amount of work, faith, and trust that God's love will shine through and this place will climb out of its decline.The second option is a stable, steady, healthy church with many similarities to my current ministry context. It's a decent size with stable finances and lacking a lot of potential to grow in any significant way due to demographics and location.IF I were to take a risk and be successful and lucky in turning around the declining church, it would be fabulous. BUT, if it didn't happen, I would fail as a middle-aged woman in our church.The second option is the safe choice.In my experience, I have seen lots of men recover from failures like that, but women's careers seem to sputter out or die.What thoughts, advice, suggestions do you have as I enter deeply into discernment with both of these congregations?
2. Here are some more specific suggestions:
*a fair, honest and accurate assessment of where the congregation is in their life cycle*an articulation of what it was that brought them to this point, including any congregational conflicts with themselves or former rectors/bishops - ask specifically about theological conflicts, or crisis like abuse or boundary violations or destruction of property through fire, flood or other natural disasters.*the challenges they presently face with realistic, measurable, achievable goals*the skill sets you possess to address their needs.*the resources you’ll need for the skills you - and, they - don’t have
*who is responsible for what - bishop, diocesan liaison, priest, congregation.*a realistic, attainable budget. Don't hesitate to ask for the last 5 years of Parochial Reports. If the church or diocese don't have them, you can get them online through 815.