Preparing for transition

by Gay Brunt Miller

Gay Brunt Miller
Gay Brunt Miller

As I prepare to transition from my fifteen-year tenure with Franconia Conference, I find myself living in rather unusual space. These have been perhaps my 15 most productive years in life, at least thus far. I’ve been blessed to many times experience my call to ministry here as being “for such a time as this.”

It’s been a time of helping to discern and follow God’s vision for Franconia Mennonite Conference—trying to live into it, to live it out, and to encourage others to live it out, too. Franconia Conference’s own commitment to the Great Commission, before the term “missional” eventually blossomed into the mission statement of “Equipping leaders to empower others to embrace God’s mission” enhanced by incorporating strategic values of being missional, formational, and intercultural.

I’ve been part of more hours of meetings—locally, regionally, and nationally—than I ever could or would want to count. I’ve helped to plan and execute a myriad of gatherings, both large and small. I’ve been the keeper of the bylaws and the author of untold numbers of minutes. I’ve treasured many friendships formed across the conference and across the national church. I’ve learned so much. I’ve been at times both profoundly frustrated and profoundly blessed.

After full emersion and engagement in a vision and with a people, how does one begin to get things in order, to transition to the next leader and the next generation to steward into the future?

Times change. Values shift. New generations of leaders need to shape what God asks them to carry out, for the sake of God’s reign here on earth. Who is God preparing to grasp the baton from me? What will Franconia Conference and Mennonite Church USA look like in the future? What kind of leadership will be needed for the next leg of this race of life?

In this time of transition, I am seeking to be available as needed but to hold direction and outcomes even more lightly than in the past, knowing that I will not be here to carry out plans that are being laid. I’m seeking to stand in a place of “holy indifference”—a place where I trust that God’s purposes will be worked out through those whom God is calling. And I’m trusting that all things will work together for good…for me and for all those of you who love God and who are called according to God’s purposes (Romans 8:28). May it be so.

Gay Brunt Miller has served Franconia Mennonite Conference for 15 years, in various capacities. She will be leaving her position in April.