I was asked recently to speak to a smallish, bedroom-community congregation about what ministers are looking for when considering a new call. The answer is complex, and often has to do with circumstances over which the congregation has no control—cost of living, cultural opportunities, athletic facilities—but I believe that virtually all candidates for ministry are hoping to serve a healthy congregation.
Some of the congregations I interact with are growing, but most are in decline. Membership, attendance, energy, enthusiasm, and financial support shrink slowly over time. Some of these declining congregations—the ones who think they can’t be a church without their building, for example, or who want to keep doing exactly what they’ve always done but hope that someone else will step up to take over the work—leave me praying for a quick end. But others—the easygoing ones that are adaptable, kind to each other, and generous with their neighbors—are a delight.
We’re all familiar with the universal symbol for “pause.” It’s those two parallel lines we tap when we want the music or the video to stop playing. But there are also times when individuals and organizations need to hit pause and take time to consider what comes next.
When all the actors understand their responsibilities and respect their boundaries, both the staff and the congregation are more likely to enjoy a healthy staff environment.
In a month, I will retire after eleven years as a non-profit executive. Now that it is finally happening, I’m forced to make up the rules as I go.
Most supervisors must supervise people whose work they could not do. One key to success is a well-written job description.
I am as enmeshed in our current state of polarization as it’s possible for anyone to be. But those of us who are leaders cannot stay here.