...are the ones that make the biggest difference


Doing church

I am approaching the end of my 3rd month as a youth pastor - my first professional ministry experience. I had done some volunteering before, in various capacities, but was never in on the larger planning & vision for a ministry, so this is a first.

A little background: My church is seeker-sensitive, with a pretty forward leaning Sunday service (for this area, at least), somewhat in line with the Willowcreek model. We do not have a mid-week service since it has not worked well in the past. We're in an area that is experiencing significant population growth which is leading towards more professionalization, which is leading towards families getting busier & busier, so there is little time for extra activities during the week. We have a small groups ministry, but it is loosely organized. The main emphasis on personal growth seems to focus on "getting involved" and serving in some ministry, ie, being a greeter, helping with childcare, visitation, etc.

My wife and I knew when we came out here that we had some problems with the way we've seen church done in the past. She's a pastor's kid, so she has a lot more experience in that regard. I think it is safe to say that so far, we have not been entirely happy with the way things are going here. First, and this is something that affects me more directly, the staff is not very close. I'm not sure what exactly I expected before coming, but I definitely anticipated a higher level of comraderie & cohesion. Don't get me wrong - we all get along perfectly well and there is no inter-staff tension, power struggles, etc - but I feel that our relationships tend to be merely professional. Our staff meetings remind me almost of a military briefing; a brief overview of what we're doing for the week and that's it. I could basically go the entire week without talking to another pastor or otherwise being involved in anything outside my sphere of responsibility - and we only have 4 pastors on staff! I don't know if this is something that is common among a lot of churches, though from what I've seen & read, I expect that it is. Like I said, I don't have a lot of experience so maybe I'm way off base, but it just feels wrong. Part of it is caused by the fact that we have so many different things going on - different ministries, different projects, a church plant - and that we put so much focus & energy into the Sunday service since its all we've got. That's probably one advantage of a liturgically based service - you don't use up (I won't say waste - I don't have enough perspective yet for that) so much time on planning just for those few hours and have more time open to do a lot of other things.

More later...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And so the sense of community you're wondering about isn't even happening within the staff at your church? I think that answers your question about whether a formulaic group situation can create that sense of belonging in a community; it cannot. I think that only when people are working toward a common goal do they join together to form a community...does your staff have a focused goal, or is it top-down? "Groups" are an attempt to bring members together who might not be together in any other situation...so may not find a common goal to bond them. mcs