October 9, 2019 at 12:51 pm #3627officeKeymaster
Noticings…October 9, 2019
I sat with a group of ministers yesterday and listened. It was holy ground. Our purpose was to gather for conversation around ways to offer support, learning, and advocacy for ministers in the new structure our denomination has adopted. As a Church we worked hard on getting that new structure up and running, striving to make the new ways function as quickly as possible. It was, and is, a daunting task. There is so much to do and so much to consider that inevitably something would end up put off until later. Curiously, the thing that got put off was the support of ministers within our new structure.
Perhaps it’s because there’s a sense that ministers are the ones in charge of their churches and have all the power, so they don’t need much support. Anyone who has ever been part of a church governing body knows that is simply not true. Perhaps we put it off because ministers are generally very good at putting on a brave face and continuing to serve even when things may be going awry. Perhaps it’s because we’d all rather not have to confront issues of conflict, or abuse, or just plain meanness. Of course, it’s likely a combination of all those things and several more. Church is messy.
Ministers often feel the weight of the church on their shoulders; feeling the anxiety of church members worrying about the state of their community of faith, and feeling the expectation on the minister to ‘fix’ it. That is a recipe for disaster. I heard stories of joy and stories of pain. I heard stories of tremendous support in the midst of struggle, and stories of feeling abandoned and isolated. Everyone in the room either knew someone or was someone who had been through a terrible time and needed support. It was sobering. It was holy ground. But through all the stories there was a sense of profound hope – hope that with intention and attention things could be different.
So now that the new structure is taking root there is time and energy to pour into creating systems of support for ministers. Church will always be messy. Our task is to wade into the messiness and find ways to journey together through it. We did that during that conversation. We didn’t solve any problems, but we gathered, we listened, we cared, we comforted, we commiserated, we were convicted, and we left committed to moving forward with finding tangible, practical means of supporting ministers. I have been incredibly lucky to have had very supportive congregations in all the churches I’ve served. Sadly, that seems to be the exception. Church is messy. How we journey together through the messiness will make all the difference.
Oh, and by the way, October is ‘Clergy Appreciation Month’. (Just sayin’.)
And now, friends, we ask you to honour those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience.
Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!
[1 Thessalonians 5:13-14 (MSG)]
Thanksgiving Worship ~ Oct. 13th @ 10:30 amCome and celebrate Thanksgiving with us. Worship starts at 10:30 am. You don’t want to miss this special day! Nursery, Joyful Noise and JAM will be available for children and youth of all ages.
Songs For Sunday NightThere will be no Sunday Night Worship on the 13th due Thanksgiving, but we’ll be back on the 20th!
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