Monday, April 27, 2009

Over-view and Follow-through

Five and a half years ago, we said farewell to a long-term and well-liked pastor at our church. While we looked for a new pastor, we had the part-time services of an interim pastor. Then the new pastor arrived and we were impressed with quality of the Sunday morning services and the sermon. There were lots of creative ideas. But it soon became apparent that the every-day functions of the parish were being neglected. The new pastor spent 30 hours a week on the sermon and only six hours a week in the office. When we offered to help with mundane tasks like compiling an email list, we heard, "I'll take care of it." But we soon learned that when we heard that phrase, nothing further would happen.

We have a functional and capable congregation, and we independently carried on with most of the important activities. But things were slowly going downhill. The new pastor was asked to resign, and we once again had the services of an interim, a retired pastor who was experienced and energetic, but only worked half-time.

Then though an unexpected turn of events, our old pastor returned. At first he seemed tense and tired. But now, after nine months, he's up to speed, relaxed and happy, and so is the rest of the congregation.

I've thought a lot about the qualities we want in a pastor. The spiritual and theological functions are, of course, primary. But administrative abilities are also very important. The congregation now benefits from a leader who can delegate but who also knows what's going on, and a person who gently but persistently keeps everyone moving toward a goal.

Over-view and follow-through.


There's one more quality that I've recently come to appreciate: constant tweaking. The Pastor is never satisfied to keep things the way they are; he is continually evaluating, molding, and reshaping the way we do things.

The best analogy for this style of leadership is that of a Master Gardener who can make a grand landscape plan, but who can also make sure everything is growing well, is watered, free of pests and weeds. And when a plant doesn't thrive or when it reaches the end of its life-span, it's replaced with something that will do better in that spot. As trees mature and light and shade patterns change, the whole plan is reevaluated and restructured to fit the current situation.

Over-view, follow-though, and tweaking.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A congregation is also responsible for the quality of its pastor. There is a symbiotic relationship that exists between a particular pastor and a particular congregation. Both can bring out the worst, or in this case, the best in each other.

You are lucky to have each other.

11:22 PM  

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