Monday, September 21, 2009

out of focus

It's amazing sometimes, the way that ministry can be viewed so differently by different people. I meet regularly with a newly formed pastor-parish relations team, a team created to help there be better communications between myself and the people in the pews, so to speak. Supposedly it is to avoid triangulation and to pass on difficulties that people don't feel they can voice in person. So, if you've already figured out that it has become a "pick on the pastor" team, you'd be right. So far, I've been told all the things I'm doing wrong, and not a single word of what I do well (and I'm sure there must be something I'm doing well!)
But what it comes out of is differing views of what a pastor should be doing. This group feels that my ministry should be primarily inward focused--HUGE amounts of pastoral care and visitation. They had a single older gentleman pastor several years ago who focused ALL his attention on the church people. "So we've come to expect that level of care from our pastors. In other words, "because we've always done it that way." Not that I don't provide PC & V. Hospital visits, shut-in and nursing home visits, calls when folks are gone for a few weeks w/out notice, calls when we have new visitors, calls when the deacons share a need, etc. I'm there!
But questions like, "do you keep a log of visits and calls? do you turn it in to anyone?" um, no and no. Am I getting a grade on this? I got the impression that they literally wanted me to go down the directory list (maybe as often as once a month!) and call every person just to say "hi!" 'Course, I assume they also want me to continue to preach, teach, and outreach.
There's the kicker--time. I ain't got that much. I realize that they have never had a young pastor with a young family. Previous pastors who made phone calls at 7 or 8 at night didn't have kids to bathe and get in bed.
So really, what's going to happen is I'm going to have to hold a "come to Jesus meeting" with this committee and hash out where I need to focus my energy. Right now, it's outward--and good things are happening in this church! There is more energy, new members are coming to join us, people are excited about ministry again. So as I type that, I wonder if some of this visitation crap isn't somewhat about fear of change. Make the pastor care for us and maybe the new people will drift off or not come at all. Hmm, something to think about.

1 comment:

Sarah S-D said...

blech... i think you might be on to something at the end there. thanks for reminding me of some of what i don't miss...

blessings as you confront and thanks be to God for the health and vitality of the ministry.