This is the 7th part in a very long series that runs on Fridays for organists about constructive ways to deal with issues between you and your church. I'm off on what appears to be a four-week tangent in which I brag about our staff members, but I promise this is the last time I do that for a while. Next week we get to the issues themselves.
When they're not trying to blow up or burn down the church* to make a point about miracles to the children of the church, Faith's two new pastors do a bang up job.
They're enthusiastic, hard working, and even listen well. Sometimes, I'm sure, they get an earful from members of the congregation. It can't be easy dealing with that many people in a position of leadership. And we are a pretty easy going congregation, relatively speaking.
And, like the other folks I've mentioned in past weeks, they are very supportive of their organist, and everyone else.
Actually, most of the pastors I've worked with have been supportive, and not too controlling about what their organist plays for the morning offertory, or how he plays the hymns, or what instruments he uses when--perhaps they've all learned, the easy way or the hard way, that as long as someone is doing their job with devotion and passion it is just as well to leave them to do it as they wish without much interference. This is not, of course, the same thing as having no collaboration or input, but then, most pastors have noticed that what I choose to play is usually tied to the sermon and the hymns, and I imagine that since they realize they are getting support from me, it is natural to return it. Just a thought.
It is also a reflection of a management style. In a church our size, not enormous, but with around 400 worshipers a Sunday, and an unusually large number of people involved in ministries and missions around the church, a collaborative spirit helps set the tone for a place in which many people are able to use their gifts and ideas to make things happen. You'd have to be here to experience it all, and fortunately, when the new pastors arrived in July, they spent a good deal of time listening to what made this church run rather than diving in to fix things that were not broken. However, the time comes when a new leader leads, and having been here for several months, Shane and Sheryl and putting their stamp on the church as well.
Sheryl, our lead pastor, regularly preaches the two largest services, with their different styles and worship spaces. This helps to unify a church that has sometimes threatened to pull apart. Our associate, Shane, preaches the two other services, though occasionally they will switch services for a weekend or preach all the services when the other is away. Frequently referencing each other in sermons so that one is constantly reminded we have a pastoral team rather than just two individuals, they also praise other worship leaders often and speak well of lay leaders in our congregation. And, of course, they go to lunch with the rest of the staff on Tuesdays after our meeting, which is, obviously, for the sole purpose of being able to go to lunch afterward and feel like we've earned it. I think a 90 minute meeting is worth some buffalo wings, don't you?
*I'm referring here to two "magic" tricks that had startling results, but, no harm was done and the incidents were pretty funny, as most of those things afterward!