Ministry Supervision is a tool that helps pastors reflect on their ministry, in depth, through a monthly, pastor-initiated, self-review exercise that can helpfully complement other components of minisTerial formation. The supervisee normally sets the agenda, and the supervisor acts as a ‘wise listener’ in a conversation about skill, capacity and questions raised by the minister’s daily work. Issues discussed might include difficulties in relationships with parishioners or colleagues, sad or vexing pastoral situations, boundary concerns, and self-care . Supervision is mandatory for ministers in most denominations.
Good supervision includes the following elements:
• It takes place in a safe and supportive environment where the supervisor gives their full attention.
• There is space for a minister to reflect on what they do and how and why they do it.
• It is usually the supervisee’s responsibility is to bring issues they feel need consideration.
• Supervisees are encouraged to find other ways of looking at things, to discover and explore options, to make their own decisions and acknowledge their own strengths and successes.
• The supervisor does not give lots of advice, take over responsibility for ministry work, or communicate with the church leadership.
CAIRA supervision operates within a supportive, safe and confidential relationship in which pastors, ministers and youth workers can reflect on their ministry and professional growth. CAIRA NZ is a robust locally-developed paradigm of pastoral supervision that has met a real need in faith communities. Supervisors have all participated in a two-year, 100 hours formational course and must undertake on-going professional development that enables them to reflect on their work with supervisees. They must be in good standing with their denomination and be supervised themselves.
One of the reasons CAIRA was developed was to enable clergy and lay people, especially those in remote areas, to access affordable supervision. CAIRA supervisors work on the principle of a sliding fee scale, and this is renegotiated from time to time according to circumstances.
Rev Viv is a registered pastoral supervisor with CAIRA NZ.
And changing social patterns means pastors can feel demoralised and depleted.
One answer for pastors is personal and professional development.
Churches in mission will not only find that collaboration is key to effective governance and management, it is also appealing to people in the wider community with whom we are called to connect.
How can thinking about the future be assessed and developed?
"Being a pastor - the worst of all jobs, and the best of all callings."
(John Newton, C18 Anglican priest)
That's because the interface between the individual and the denomination is also a critical dimension.