Friday, October 3, 2008

Not My Normal Week

This morning, I was reading a particular blog that I check in on regularly, and the author of this blog was dealing with the question of, "What does the normal week look like for the pastor of a 50-100 member Reformed church?"  This is a man who is much more seasoned in the ministry that I am and who has far more interactions with other ministers than I do, so I don't doubt that what he writes is pretty accurate.  But as I read this particular post, it made me realize how blessed I am in my particular church.  He wrote much more than this, but here are just a few snippets of what he had to say about a pastor's normal week...

Monday:  Crisis brewing with elder

Tuesday:  Meeting with very unhappy elder; works on church website

Wednesday:  Work on bulletin

Thursday:  Do tax forms for 501 c 3 status; long lunch with disgruntled elder; call church grounds committee to urge them to do yardwork

Saturday:  Phone call from one member who is unhappy with another member; mowed the grass at church because the grounds committee didn't show up; member calls wanting a more "contemporary" service

Sunday:  Set up for church; set up for communion; pianist didn't show up; emergency meeting with elders over the one elder who is really unhappy

I look at these and realize how blessed I am:  

(1) My elders and I have a great working relationship; there is always harmony and charity in our discussions (even when we don't agree with one another, which is rare); we are on the same page regarding the ministry of the church; our meetings are always enjoyable with lots of laughs (but with seriousness when it is called for).

(2) I don't really have much to do with the church website.  There is a very gifted member of our church who has set that up and who maintains it.  Another one of our members makes sure that the sermons get on there each week.

(3) I don't put the bulletins together.  We have a member who has volunteered her time to do that.

(4) The deacons of our church handle such things as filing papers for tax status.  I wouldn't know the first thing about doing that and am thankful that we have people who are taking care of those kinds of matters.

(5) While we do not have our own building, one of our members is the point person in any dealings with the school that we rent on Sundays.

(6) While we are certainly not the perfect church, our people, I believe, have a tremendous amount of unity.  I'm not aware of any interpersonal relationships where one member has it out for another.  And if that were to happen, I'm sure that they would follow Matthew 18 and go directly to that person.

(7) I'm thankful that our members are not constantly pushing their agendas about new ideas for the worship service.  They entrust the oversight of the worship service to the elders, which is where it belongs.

(8) While I am part of a rotation of men who set up the church each week, I am not involved in that every single week (perhaps once every 8 weeks).  In addition, all of the members pitch in Sunday night when everything needs to be taken down.  Also, we have a couple in our church who handles the setting up of communion.

(9) We have been blessed with 2 extremely capable pianists, and I have never, for one minute, worried about their reliability.

This Monday (October 6) will serve as the 6-year anniversary of our church.  What began as 45 people planting a confessionally Reformed church in a city where none existed, the Lord has seen fit to grow to 145 people.  We are very blessed and I, as the pastor, am very blessed to have elders who take the responsibility of shepherding the people, freeing me to prepare sermons, meet with prospective members, teach my catechism class, and do the things that ministers are called to do.  I am also very blessed to have members who are very active and involved in the life of the church (as is evident from the 9 points I have listed above).  At the same time, we need to pray for those men who can really relate to that "normal" week.  I can just imagine the huge burden that places on a man and the tremendous stress that places on him and his family.  And as history tells us, when a pastor has to be involved in all these other things, what usually suffers is (1) His family and, (2) His pulpit.


Anonymous said...

We ARE blessed!

Joyce said...

As a member in this church, I must say how very thankful I am for all the things you mentioned, PLUS the faithful preaching of God's Word twice each Lord's Day.

It's my opinion also that this congregation loves their pastor and elders and one another, and that we are learning to love those outside of the church more, too.

Thank you for being our faithful pastor. :)

amy said...

I know the analogy breaks down but here is what comes to my mind as I read this.
If many children in a family are unwilling to do their part, serve, give and love. If many children in a family are rebellious, we would all look (and rightly) at the parents and question the example that is being set. Conversely, when most or all children in a family are happy to give, love and serve and are not rebellious than we are confident that the example and teaching of the parents is a sound one.

Thank you Pastor Kevin for your sound example to us. Your good teaching that is faithful to the Word!

P.S. I didn't know you had been maintaining the blog! For some reason my bloglines was not updating your posts! I am happy to have righted this!