We have confessed the harm we have done and continue to do to our siblings and have covenanted to faithfully keep our baptismal vow to follow Jesus Christ in resisting “evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”
I hate screwing up. In fact, I go to great and exhausting lengths to make sure that I don't. If I do, I don't want you to know about it. I wonder if that is true for you too?!? The problem is that if we put work out in the world today, more people than ever before can see it, engage it...and judge it. It's terrifying. But it comes with the territory. It's leadership.
Like many mainline churches, they have struggled to maintain their budget and membership over the years. They have had their fair share of conflict, people moving, the neighborhood transitioning. Right now they are in a season of growth and working with the Center for Progressive Renewal to design their strategic plan.
I want to know the people in our neighborhood. I want them to help design what happens at our church. I want the people in our neighborhood to connect what happens at our church with meeting or fulfilling a need in their lives. I want to model commitment in such a way that our ministry impact becomes synonymous with our ministry success and everyone who benefits is committed to our shared identity and sustaining our future, together.
Change is hard; brutal even. When done well, people are going to leave. When done poorly, people are going to leave. People ARE going to leave. But here's the thing: people are going to leave if you don't change. No one wants to eat stale bread. No one wants to be a part of something that feels so stagnant that movement isn't just uncommon, but nonexistent.
Pastoral ministry is particularly grueling for those of us driven by a sense of moral obligation serve (and save?) our congregations and communities. We feel a new pressure now that our national politics are in such chaos and turmoil. To top it off, we are dealing with aging buildings, committee structures that rarely work anymore and financial strain that can keep us up at night. So, here is the thing: you can keep trying to survive by DOING ALL THE THINGS. Or you can stop.