The TiM program connected me with extremely useful resources even before starting my first appointment, but especially in those first few key months of the appointment when you are establishing your leadership identity and getting to know the congregation, the context, and the conference.
The introductory TiM retreat in June was particularly helpful for preparing to serve, since it was a sort of orientation to pastoral ministry but it occurred a couple months prior to the Great Plains’ Right Start Orientation. At that first retreat, we (TiM pastors) received a wide range of insight from several speakers – everything from how to adjust to rural ministry contexts, to developing personal and professional rhythms and authentically practicing spiritual disciplines as a pastor.
Also, the relationship between us young pastors and our mentors was nurtured and strengthened through icebreakers and discussion prompts provided by the TiM program. Having that guided and deepened mentorship with an experienced, enthusiastic pastor sharpens me as a young, beginning minister like nothing else and helps bridge the gap between theology and praxis that is sometimes felt after attending Seminary. My mentor listens as I process through challenges, offers wise counsel, prays with me, and shares her ministry journey and stories.
On top of all that, I easily had access right away to TiM committees within both churches that I serve, which are made up of people who each offer incredible congregational background, perspective, and tips on a monthly basis. Both committees not only give me feedback and advice for how to grow, they also ask great questions and lovingly encourage me. Those committee meetings are a gift that I likely would not have outside the TiM program and were irreplaceable while transitioning!