The Quixotic Pastor

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Interesting Things Afoot

After last Thursday's monthly call with my regional Elder [a Bishop-like person whom I will call Red] in response to my wailing and gnashing of teeth, my lamenting in sackcloth and ashes, I was invited to participate in a group of pastors of small MCC churches who are interested in transforming their churches' ministries and making them healthier and happier. It is a kind of church replanting or transplanting process, involving much of the same material our denomination has developed for the planting of new churches, but adapted to fulfill the needs of small or struggling churches. It starts for instance with a feasability study [which allows the entire congregation of an already existing church to begin asking such questions as "why are we here", "what do we have to offer and to whom shall we offer it?"] and leads into developing healthy patterns of communication [i.e. direct dealing instead of gossip/triangulation], distributes the tasks of ministry to leaders other than the pastor and so forth. Each pastor is also mentored by another pastor who has successfully grown a small, struggling church and turned it around.

My denomination does have a church revitalization process, but it is tremendously backlogged, so this represents Red working "out of the box" a bit in order to meet the needs of churches within our region. Our region does have the largest number of small churches of any of the seven regions scattered across the entire world and she takes our struggles to heart, but is challenged by many of the same things any of us pastors are, just on a larger scale.

I'm excited, although it will require a tremendous amount of hard and focused work on my part as well as a willingness to change, and hard and focused work on the congregation's part as well as a willingness to take a hard look at themselves and risk changing all sorts of systems and behaviors.

The first task --present it to the first of one of my congregations and invite/persuade/convince them to engage willingly in the process. They don't know any of this yet --unless they're reading this.

New wine in new wineskins --egad! What next?

What's intriguing about all of this is to read that many of the RGBP's long established denominations and churches are struggling with the same things. I am particularly intrigued by the latest series of postings on Quotidian Grace's blog as well as many of your responses. And I realize there are many emerging churches and emerging church pastors who are a part of this ring ... it would be helpful to spend time at your blogs too.

I also looked at the partially completed MCC Worship Resources for Lent 2007 and I like 'em. They have great potential.

In the meantime, DH just offered to do a six-week self-esteem [short term therapy] at the church that needs it most which will fit in very well with the worship theme in the MCC materials for the first Sunday. She's been after me to do it at one church in particular for months ... maybe even a year.

Of course, this has all been accomplished by sitting at my desk, making phone calls, researching web sites, pausing and reflecting --someone might be tempted to say I haven't been working. But I have.

Wooooeeeee! I am excited ... and I haven't even mentioned the Lavender Menace yet.


  • At 1:15 PM , Blogger revabi said...

    So glad Red is working outside the box. Too many "Higher Ups" have given up on the smaller churches.

    Is the NCD by chance?

    Hope it works and helps.


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