Rev. Ian Evison, Congregational Services Director, Central Midwest District; Lead Staff, MidAmerica Region
One question we on staff get about regionalization is — more or less — "Will we still see you?"
The very short answer is "yes, of course." We staff are not moving anywhere as part of this process. We all on staff take great joy in all the relationships we have developed with congregational leaders and we look forward to continue to deepen and broaden these relationships. Our hope, in fact, when we no longer are maintaining three district administrative structures, is that we will have more time and resources available to work with the congregations. This will include both time and resources to be face-to-face with you. There is no substitute for that. At the same time, we do plan to work increasingly across old borders and by electronic means. Keep in mind here that so far the most frequent reason for mixing up old divisions of who works with whom has been the request of congregations for a new perspective or a different personality. And frequently the largest driver for doing more work electronically is that congregations find it difficult to gather leaders for the long working sessions that might have been possible earlier. Even when we do work face-to-face we find that the congregations prefer shorter meetings. What was an all day session becomes a morning followed by lunch together. Follow-up is increasingly electronic. Our staff will have more periods when they focus on special projects—like perhaps having a staff person spend a few weeks revamping our system for supporting you through transitions in professional leadership. During such special projects, that the person might be temporarily unavailable. Yet, overall, we all look forward to making new connections. We are grateful to those of you who have reached out to us to do that across old district boundaries. We also do plan to continue to learn together how to use the plethora of emerging technologies of connection and communication.