Good News!

Sunday, Sunday – For the last month or so, I’ve been preaching in Columbia District churches which always gives me great hope for our future as a denomination. We have some great ministries! Today is a little different in terms of what happend today. I’m not preaching anywhere, but I have already been to a New Member’s Class at one of our churches and stopped by the office to get ready for my next two stops: one with a SPRC in a conflicted church, and another with a prospective Senior Pastor and Prospective Associate.

We had Cabinet Meetings for 3 long days last week and it looks like we are going to have very few moves this year. With the economy there seems to be an incentive for people to try to work together without making a pastoral change. I have high hope that this will encourage people to actually work through their issues without a “critical mass” causing an explosion. As a Cabinet we will have the opportunity to give each appointment more attention and effort. Rather than the economy causing bad news, this is an opportunity to get it done right whether a clergyperson moves or not.
Tomorrow is Monday, Monday and I start meeting with clergy 3 hours each doing whatever they want to do. This is a breath of fresh air to my spirit and I hope to their’s as well. This is going to be a good year in the United Methodist Church! May it be, Lord; May it be!

Too Christian to Tell the Truth

>High anxiety and the tyranny of the urgent is what I’m feeling because I have just opened all of the Advisory Response Forms about potential pastoral moves. Clergy exist for churches, not the other way around, but I want what is best for both. Sometimes I feel the adage as truth: “If I could buy someone for what they’re worth, and sell them for what they think they’re worth, I’d be a millionaire.” Some of us clergy have unrealistic expectations about the appointments or churches that we deserve. This lack of realistic expectations sets us up to be disappointed or disappointing.

Part of the problem is we’re “Christian,” which means we don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. Pastors tell SPRC’s that the DS is making them move. Some even tell their families that it’s my fault. Then there’s the lack of truth-telling that SPRC’s do. They don’t really want to tell their pastor what they think, and they end up giving an innocuous non-helpful hail-fellow-well-met do-nothing evaluation without “speaking the truth in love” about what makes us clergy more effective in that given context.

I’m doing SPRC training this weekend, and I’m going to lay it on thick about SPRC’s doing their job so I can do mine for their church’s sake and the clergy’s sake. It is going to be an interesting year to say the least. Pray for wisdom, grace, clarity, and truth on everyone’s part. It’s all about Jesus and growing the Kingdom, not a “protect the fishbowl” for the churches or a “take care of each other” mentality for clergy. It’s about effective Kingdom-building.