The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has deep roots in Texas- particularly in the fertile farm and ranchland along the historic Trinity and Brazos Rivers. The Trinity Brazos Area today includes more than 50 congregations from Mineral Wells to Arlington and from Iowa Park to Copperas Cove. We are blessed to share ministry with each other! We know that when our time and talents come together to serve our neighbors, the church gives glory to God.
We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As a part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord's Table as God has welcomed us.
New Model of Ministry
Greetings! We are pleased to announce that Rev. Christy Drechsel has been called as the Minister of Nurture, and Rev. Dr. Christine K. Chenoweth has been called as the Minister of Connection. Below, you can read more about Christy and Christine. But first, there are some highlights about this new model of area ministry that the TBA leadership wants to communicate clearly.
Since we're entering a new and exciting era of ministry in the Trinity-Brazos Area, we'll be working hard to communicate well and often. Part of that will include consistently conveying new ways of being church together. Over the last 4-5 years, there was only one year in which we had a full-time TBA Area Minister; the rest of the time, we were between Area Ministers or had a half-time Area Minister. We considered calling another half-time AreaMinister, but discerned that such a model isn't what is healthiest for the minister or for the area.
The TBA leadership wants a vibrant, connected area with staff who feel supported and not always on the edge of burnout. These desires led us to this new approach: two equally-yoked part-time ministers who oversee different portfolios and collaborate together. Here are the job descriptions for each position:
Minister of Connection -- Rev. Dr. Christine K. Chenoweth
Christine will connect congregations and clergy across the TBA with each other to strengthen our sense of community. This is more of a "macro" ministry -- seeing the big picture of ministry in the TBA as carried out by local congregations, collaborative efforts, and constituency groups. She will administrate Search and Call; fulfill the administrative office with special focus on communication; work with the Area Committee on Ministry in identifying new ministerial candidates; and participate in area constituency groups.
Minister of Nurture -- Rev. Christy Drechsel
Christy will nurture individuals into and through the fulfillment of their vocation, providing pastoral care and counsel. This is more of a "micro" ministry -- meeting the particular needs of persons, groups, and congregations in the TBA with appropriate and specific programming. She will attend to youth camp and conference ministry, collaborating with the Youth and Children's Ministry Network, Disciples Crossing, and the Tri-Area Board; plan worship and retreat opportunities for adult groups; communicate with area shepherds to keep apprised of congregational and clergy needs; and provide conflict resolution assistance and training.
Together, Christine and Christy will provide special events depending on identified needs (like professional development, elder training, spiritual retreats, etc.); report to the TBA Board, Administrative Council, and Executive Committee; be involved with the Regional Area Minister Team; and work with congregations that desire future visioning for discovery of new possibilities.
Having two part-time area ministers means that some things are going to change. For this new model to work well, it is essential that we all begin to shift our expectations of what Area Ministers do, where they are, and how they function. Here are some of the most important pieces to keep in mind:
- We will have staff dedicated to carrying out key aspects of Area ministry. We will get programs off the ground through collaborative work and efficient oversight. We're excited about the possibilities!
- Our Area Ministers will maintain healthy boundaries. They can't be everything to everyone. Their part-time status is intentional. For one thing, we couldn't afford full-time Area staff. But also, we want them to focus on collaboration with lay and clergy leaders -- enhancing connections and increasing involvement by delegating and facilitating ministries.
- Programming will happen in places all over the Area, and not just in the Fort Worth/Tarrant County area. While the Area Ministers will plan and help coordinate these programs, they may not attend each session.
- Area Ministers will focus on high-quality interactions rather than on a certain quota of visits/facetime at every Area or congregational event. Relationships and presence are still incredibly important! However, as they help connect TBA congregations, more people can and will represent the TBA to one another.
- They will be employing technology in some helpful ways, bridging the geographical distances and making the most of everyone's time.
Especially in this early phase of our transition, it may be confusing to know who to contact when you or your congregation needs to reach out for any reason. So, when you have a question to ask, a need to be met, an idea to share, or a hand to help, you can call (817) 831-4442 or e-mail (email@example.com) the TBA office. Nathaniel Cook, our wonderful Area Ministry Assistant, will direct you to the Area Minister who is best suited to address your situation.
Remember -- we're in this together. Please help communicate these shifts to your congregations. Please pray for Christy and Alicia, for the TBA volunteer leadership, and for the Trinity-Brazos Area as a whole. God is doing a new thing here! Ministries will open up, relationships will strengthen, friendships will begin, and mission will be clarified and carried out. Let's see where the Spirit takes us together.