Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Entering a new church paradigm

Not "new church" as in a new church start...but a new paradigm for me, at least.  St. Mark, where I currently serve, is by far the largest congregation I've ever had any kind of leadership role in, and I'm discovering that some of my assumptions about what I expect of myself as a pastor are never going to be true here.

Take, for example, knowing every single person in the congregation by name when I see them.  I had the sudden realization that even after we have a new directory, there's still going to be a huge chance that I won't be able to hold 300 names and faces together, especially if we begin to add more and more people.  

That's a complete shift for me, and it reminds me of what I knew when I first came to this church:  that I could not be central to everything that was happening there--that I had to train and lift up leadership among the laity because they had to be intimately involved.  

The whole thing is a shift simply because it involves me letting go of control, and I've got to figure out how to do that without also giving up pastoral authority and leadership.  To me it's one of the most difficult tasks as a pastor, and I think learning to do it will be my challenge in the next few months.

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