This article by Thom Schutz resonated with me. As pastors, how do we becomed agents of change?
I was a long-term pastor of an urban church for over 28 years. Through the years we worked through numerous changes in positive, creative and forward thinking ways. Through the years we evolved from being a corporate-type church with a membership over 400 into a program-type church in the mid-90’s. By the time I departed this ministry, because of health issues, this church of under 100 members was clearly a pastoral-type church still holding on to remnants of what the church used to be as a larger church.
This small urban congregation with limited resources in a large and expensive building was going to have to face some serious questions about the future. I reached the point of not being able to right person to lead the church through the transformational questions that would have to be asked about the future.
I wonder: when faced with the reality that the church might die, did I become paralyzed? I know one thing for sure: I no longer had the health or energy to lead the congregation in asking the difficult questions that would have to be asked about the future. I honestly fear I was killing myself! I resigned the end of 2013 for health reasons.
Back to the article on change: Consider #6:
Keep mission in mind. Evaluate possible changes on the basis of your true mission, rather than on lesser priorities. For example, are you more interested in reaching your community, or in satisfying members’ desires for nostalgia?
While, through the years I was honest with the congregation in talking through the implications of change, I was also paralized not wanting to let go of all in the church had been able to accomplish while on my watch. I never lost hope that this coongregation could continue to figure out ways to serve the people in the communtiy for many years to come. I just know I reached the point of not being the pastor to help them address important questions about the future.
I wonder if there are pastoral collagues experiencing the same thing?