May 07, 2006
Difficult but not Impossible
It is an awesome responsibility to be a pastor. In fact, it is downright difficult to be effective today as a pastor. There are so many expectations and they change depending on where you are serving.
Sometimes churches do not send clear messages as to what they desire in a pastor. A good example of that is when churches say, "We need a leader." This is often interpreted by the pastor to mean that congregants are willing to surrender their thoughts and ideas for her or his ideas or thoughts. That is not necessarily true. In a book from the Harvard Business Review entitled "On Finding and Keeping the Best People," the authors lift up the idea of a self-reliant worker that I believe can add to this conversation. This is what they say: "Self-reliant workers stand ready to reinvent themselves in order to keep pace with change."
If there is one thing we know today about "doing church," it is that church is not the same today as it was 40, 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. So, it is impossible for pastors who refuse to retool or as Harvard Business Review says, "reinvent" themselves to be effective as the conditions in which we live continue to change and the people change as well that we are called to serve and appeal to. One style of leadership is not enough. We must be adaptive not only as we move from church to church but as we face different situations within the same church.
"It is difficult to be effective today as a pastor" is the second sentence I wrote in this posting. Notice I did not say it was impossible, I only said it is difficult. It calls for more commitment, more openness to new ideas, more flexibility, more study, and above all a closer walk with God.
May 02, 2006
In recent days there has been much attention given to the plight of the people of the Darfur region of Southern Sudan. I rejoice that we are beginning to shed some light on one of the greatest displays of humanity's inhumanity to humanity.
In this bloody war that has turned into genocide are millions of children who suffer, die, go to war too early, are abused physically, sexually, and emotionally, while many others are left to starve to death. The Holston Annual Conference has sought to join our voice with the many voices calling upon the powers of this world to come to the rescue of people who also were created in the image and likeness of God. We are involved through our Sudan Action Team. A three member team from our conference has just returned from that region and will provide us with information and possible strategies we may employ as we seek to be "neighbor" to those who have been robbed, beaten, and left for dead alongside the Jericho Road.
In the coming days, weeks, months and years we will seek to keep the communication lines open to the people of Holston so that we may share with you opportunities to make a difference in a place where some recent generations have never known peace but have experienced a hate-filled country. Some will hear this call and believing this to be too much of a challenge will seek to justify their inaction. But let's be reminded that we are able to do exceedingly abundant things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know we can and I am convinced we will.