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Transition Team Report

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It looks unlikely that I will produce a blog post this week, which is ok, because the Transition Team’s report is complete and has been shared with the congregation, so I thought I’d post it here as well. It contains plenty to think about without me adding new stuff.

Here is a review of what led to the creation of this report. I (Pastor Pete) presented to the Team members, over a number of months, my observations made from visiting and interacting in the congregation. We discussed them as we went.

The Team members were then each asked to make their own list of 5 things they thought were most significant. Those lists were blended together into this report.

It was presented to council (including incoming members) at their last meeting, and it has been printed and shared with congregation members via their mailboxes. Council now has the responsibility of ‘owning’ these observations as valid, and then coming up with ways to address them.

The report, I realized after it had been presented to council, confuses some people because they might have been expecting something different. Some seem to have expected a more technical “How to fix the problem” report, or a more theological defining of the issues and their solutions. Neither of those are within the Team’s mandate, authority or ability. Council has the authority. What in fact the Team has produced, I realized, is a list of adaptive challenges for the council and entire congregation.

TransTeamFinalreportedit.docx

 

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July 2014 “where we are in the process” update

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As I put in my last few minutes before officially starting a two week vacation, it seems a good idea to create a post updating you on where we are in our Transition Process at this time.

Here is the description of that: http://wp.me/P3etrg-ge

 

 

Why pastors need strong healthy boundaries (will be a series of posts)

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“The pastor is called so serve God and his people, right?” the person said.

The pastor hesitantly responded with a “Yes.”

“Well then, when one of the people has a need, he should always be there to serve them, right?”

“No.”

At least that is my answer, and the answer of more and more pastors. We all will have our reasons…

Here is a link to the rest of part one of my fleshing this out: http://wp.me/P3etrg-gb

(the conversation above us a construct, not a quote)

 

How to distinguish between the truly concerned and the consistently anxious

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Some questions and statements have me trying to think this through. What clues do I, as a pastor or a person, go by in my interactions with others by which I discern if the person is concerned about something in a healthy way, or is one of ‘the anxious.’

Here are my thoughts: http://wp.me/P3etrg-gk

On Confessional identity being important, yet hard to accomplish

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My colleague and blog and internet buddy Paul VanderKlay, a CRC pastor in California and former missionary shared some thoughts I feel are worth sharing with you all:

http://paulvanderklay.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/why-the-church-must-have-a-solid-confessional-self-to-do-embody-gods-mission-to-the-world/

Communal Worship as celebration of spiritual growth

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I gave a brief description of aspects of this line of thought on Sunday evening, but here is a post that lays it out in written words. The idea is that too many people come to Sunday worship with their spiritual batteries too low for an effective recharge that can last a whole week. It is better that people come as wells of living water, not as dried up cisterns. How fair is it if the majority arrive dried out like that and then expect the worship leaders and pastors to ‘fill them to overflowing’? It is not.

Here is the post: http://wp.me/P3etrg-g6

The damage of congregations ‘firing’ pastors

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I am about to share a rather provocative blog piece. I share it because I think it is important for all congregations to know this reality of the other side of a difficult parting with a pastor. Ministers don’t readily talk about the pain of this if they have experienced it (I have), partly because it just sounds like complaining and sour grapes after the fact. In sharing this, I am not directly accusing Nobleford CRC of doing this or being a “clergy killer” (language used in the linked article), but I also cannot pretend that what is described in the article has nothing to do with what transpired here. It is simply something I believe you should know.

A pastor serves a congregation. Congregations are filled with people who each have their own list of things they expect a pastor to be like and a pastor to do. Those will not be the same for any two people. That means a LOT of expectations are placed on that one pastor. Yet we all agree that the Pastor’s main “boss” is God. Few would object to that, I think. Problem is, if there are 300 people in the congregation they tend to act like 200 bosses (because maybe 100 don’t care too much either way) of the pastor. They do that because they forget the principled statement we all agree to, and/or they believe they themselves are speaking ‘for’ God. When that process goes sideways, goes off the rails, we get the trainwrecks and pain the article speaks of. Being let go from a church is very very personal and very very public, in a way that does not apply to any other job, career or calling I can think of. It involves a person’s spiritual, emotional, psychological, personal self, really all of the person, and so is a shock and hardship at all levels. The article speaks of various aspects of this.

The start of a solution is for church leaders, especially Elders – as support and accountability for the pastor – to learn to ‘see’ how people try to inappropriately make themselves ‘the boss’ of the pastor (Elders sometimes do it too) in a way that displaces what God is calling the Pastor to do. Having seen how this works, they can then help work counter to that sin. Those who are heavily invested in having power over what the Pastor does as a leader have very very subtle and sneaky and nasty ways of disrupting things, so it is not easy to spot.

Anyway, here is the article: http://wp.me/P3etrg-fY

 

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