Growing by Half: Part-time Pastor, Full-time Church

A collaboration of the Maine Conference UCC and The BTS Center


Workshops will be held in Jewett Hall on the campus of Southern Maine Community College, on Saturday (April 21). With one exception, workshops will be presented twice during three workshop sessions: one before lunch, and two after lunch. Five workshops will be scheduled during each session, as indicated by the offering times for the workshop descriptions below.

Workshop seating will be limited, so please use the descriptions below (and offering times) to select a first and second choice for each session, which you will be asked to indicate on the registration page.

Please note: workshop assignments will be on a first-come, first-served basis. We will do our best to accommodate your choices.

Click here to learn more about the presenters for Convocation 2018.


Workshop 1 (Offered at 1:15pm and 2:45pm)

Re-imagining Vocation: Embracing What’s Distinct about a Part-time Call

Facilitator: Jeff MacDonald, part-time pastor and full-time journalist

Serving part-time in a congregation is not a matter of doing what full-time pastors do, yet on a smaller scale. Here we’ll explore how congregations need something different from their part-time pastors – and what challenges those different needs and expectations present to a pastor’s vocational identity. We’ll examine how entrenched, problematic assumptions about clergy roles can shift to make room for greater faithfulness, satisfaction and joy in today’s ministry. This workshop is particularly designed for clergy and other authorized or licensed lay leaders.

Workshop 2 (Offered at 10:45am and 1:15pm)

Evolving from a Community Gathered around a Minister to a Ministering Community

Facilitators: Nancy Wuttke, Shelie Richardson, and Kathy Hartman, leaders of Christ Episcopal Church (VT)

As the role and responsibilities of the clergy person shifts, so does the role of the congregational lay person. Expectations of the pastor need to be adjusted as does the view of ministry as a jointly shared office. In this workshop, participants will be supported in processes of self-reflection around expectations of the pastor and a critical assessment of the logic and necessity of those expectations. Be encouraged and inspired by the possibilities of your own transformed identities and reimagining your vocations as ministry-in-life.

Workshop 3 (Offered at 10:45am and 1:15pm)

Who Are We That We Could Hinder God?” Reading Acts for Spiritual Wisdom in Times of Change

Facilitator: Pamela Shellberg, Scholar-in-Residence, The BTS Center

Participants will view the threats to vocational and congregational identities (call and mission), posed by times of great change, through the stories of Paul, and of Peter and Cornelius. In mapping personal and communal stories to these narratives, the challenge and consolation of biblical wisdom will spiritually ground the wide-ranging discussions and discernments of this year’s convocation.

Workshop 4 (Offered at 1:15pm and 2:45pm)

Paths of the Part-time Pastorate Pilgrimage

Facilitator: AbbyLynn Haskell, one of two part-time pastors at Acton UCC

The part-time pastorate is a different pilgrimage that involves empowering and equipping fellow followers for the journey. Using finger labyrinths we will journey together to identify practical ministry applications that you can use immediately to nurture a culture that affirms callings, encourages risk, and inspires faith growth in sharing the practice and art of ministry.  As with all pilgrimages there is the invitation to be open to learning and discovering more about yourself and your ministry attitudes, thoughts and heart settings. Participants will gain insight and ideas for energizing, strengthening and releasing gifts for ministry within their congregation.

This workshop is designed to follow and build upon the “Who Are We That We Could Hinder God?” workshop. If possible please attend this biblical wisdom workshop first.  Congregational teams are encouraged to attend this workshop together.   

Workshop 5 (Offered at 1:15pm and 2:45pm)

Part-time Pastor: A Beautiful Constraint

Facilitator: Bob Grove-Markwood, Executive Director, The BTS Center

This workshop will consider a hopeful, creative approach to framing and addressing the challenges of part-time ministry in small churches (or any challenge for any size church). We will explore how the concepts articulated in the book, A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages (Morgan and Barden), can be useful for generating a transformative view of perceived limitations and as a vitalizing approach to a congregation’s ministries. Participants will, self-reflectively, begin to identify ways in which issues of mindset, method, or motivation might unnecessarily constrain what could otherwise be energized and energizing efforts to turn apparent limitations into opportunities for realizing your community’s boldest ambitions for vital ministries.

Workshop 6 (Offered at 10:45am and 2:45pm)

Asset Mapping

Facilitator: Deborah Blood, Conference Minister, Maine Conference UCC

Churches have numerous assets at their fingertips, but they don’t always recognize them as such. Nor do they think easily and often about how they might repurpose what they have. In this workshop, lay and clergy participants will take part in an asset mapping exercise intended to help them discover abundance in their specific settings. They’ll leave more aware of how asset mapping helps bring vitality to congregations with part-time clergy. Asset mapping will be a new addition to their ministry toolboxes.

Workshop 7 (Offered at 10:45am only)

Unleashing Entrepreneurism in Congregations with Part-time Clergy

Facilitators: Jeff MacDonald, Zach Kerzee, and Lauren Vignec – all pastors exploring links between entrepreneurism and part-time ministry

Shifting to a part-time ministry model opens doors to new ways of doing things, including entrepreneurial approaches to revitalizing congregational life. We’ll hear from pastors who’ve discovered the power of entrepreneurial ministries. In North Grafton, Mass., Zach Kerzee planted a United Methodist congregation that worships over dinner and sells bread at farmers’ markets to support its ministries. In East Tacoma, Wash., financial advisor and ELCA pastor Lauren Vignec pioneered a “dance church” ministry that brings dozens of teens and young adults together for street dance competitions, scripture readings & relevant preaching. Learn how they’re thriving in the context of new ministry models.

Workshop 8 (Offered at 10:45am and 2:45pm)

Spiritual Surprises

Facilitators: Susie Craig and Doug Dunlap, partners in The Small Church Story Project

Scaling back a pastorate to part-time or fewer clergy hours doesn’t have to be a loss for a congregation. Becoming less clergy-dependent can actually help lay people claim spiritual gifts and lead others in the walk of faith.  This workshop will generate heightened awareness of the spiritual blessings of mutual accompaniment that are uniquely found where ministry responsibilities are shared with a part-time pastor. Sharing stories about what these spiritual blessings look like in real-life settings will be the focus of this session. Participants can expect to be informed and inspired – and will get practice retelling their congregations’ stories in a positive light.