Sunday, October 05, 2008

What I Am Learning ...

I am in Houston Texas this weekend, at a conference for pastors who are serving large membership churches for the first time. We are meeting at Memorial Drive UMC, where two of the pastors are leading us through conversations about vision, staff, money, administration, and that kind of stuff.

On my mind a lot is this statement: You are not a pastor any more; you are a leader.

The point being made was that the person-to-person interaction with the congregation is going to be greatly lessened in a large membership church. Rather, more time would be spent in discernment and articulation of the congregation's vision, and nurturing the spiritual health of the staff and other leaders so that they in turn can engage that person-to-person ineraction.

Okay. But I don't know if that means I'm not a pastor anymore. I don't want to be not a pastor anymore. I want to be a pastor in a different congregation, and subsequently change my approach to pastoring. But I'm still going to be a pastor. I think the statement was intended as a rhetorical device to make a larger point, but it kind of ruffled my feathers a bit.

On my mind a lot is this statement, too: When trust is up, speed is up and costs are down. When trust is down, speed is down and costs are up.

Bingo! Almost worth the price of admission in and of itself, this statement is what needs to come from me back to Campbell over the next few months. Trust is very low right now, as is evident in a variety of ways. And guess what? It also takes us a lot of time to get anything done, and it also is very financially tenuous right about now.

And so to become more flexible and to cut our expenses, we have to raise the trust level all around. Which means that I have to model that trust (going to Houston for the weekend and inviting Melissa to take the pulpit) in everything I say and do. It gives me a focus that I think we can latch on to - TRUST. It will come slowly, as all change does in large congregations, but we have to get there.

I have a lot of other thoughts on my mind as a result of this conference, and we still have a day and a half to go! But I have to split now and get over there for worship. More later...


Brad said...

-i have to model trust in everything I say and do-

Sounds like you're still pastoring to me.

Go Tigers and Avengers!


Anonymous said...

Our church needs Pastors and leaders. Notice the plural. Since we are a large congregation, it would be impossible for one or two people to do it all. I like our Pastors and our leaders and I think if our Pastors and leaders like each other then we might be on the track. Campbell UMC is truly blessed!

Martin said...

So if you're now a Leader instead of a Pastor.... can you go back? I mean, can you get other people "on board" and "train" them to be leaders, so you can then pastor? Or are they separate, but equal? Or does the old axiom kick in -- about Leaders are born, not made? Or... so many questions.. Is Joel Osteen a Leader? Or Pastor? Or is that being generous in either case? Hmmmm....