Someone should do this…..

What is both wonderful and frustrating about being a pastor is that a lot of what is done is unquantifiable. Most of the time I am well aware of the fact that I am a “pastor” not only in the church but also, and perhaps more importantly in the community. What this ultimately means is that as a pastor, you wear a lot of hats–some of them better than others.

Whenever people ask how it is to be a pastor I usually say something along the lines that I’m a Jack-of-All-Trades and as such, I get a lot of enjoyment out of doing many different kinds of things.

However, my job also is “thereotically” to put myself out of a job. In between visiting people I should be training my deacons and elders to visit people, in between preaching I should be teaching others how to testify to the word, in between leading and organizing events I should be training/empowering others to lead and organize events.

On the one hand I love the teaching, on the other hand, I find that no matter how things go it is ultimately the pastor who (right or wrong) gets the praise or the blame. This means that whenever there is a suggestion of “Someone should do xxx” whether xxx is fixing the exhaust fans in the bathroom, creating a Farmer’s Market, improving the worship experience, or advertising the church itself (my church’s current cross to bear), that I automatically feel like “I” am the one who is responsible for all of these things.

I need to do x, y and z to keep the church going, I am responsible, I am human–sometimes I need to step back and remind myself that God is really in charge of things. Sometimes I need to take a day to be not just, pastor, mother and wife and be just a Katy. A simple human who God is making into the best possible version of myself.

In the meantime Someone should work more theologically on developing a better understanding in the congregation and on the street in general of who the pastor is and how that works in relationship with the congregation and the world–who knows maybe that someone might even be me 😉

By the Grace of God….

Very few scriptures talk about how “STRONG” Jesus is, have you ever noticed this? God is oft described as Almighty but that is not really a literal translation of the text:

it is really God of many mounds, because mounds were the places of little-g-gods, and the fact that God rules all the mounds means our God is almighty. Please there is this whole breasts/milk/nourishment implication which we tend to not translate in the slightest (get it, mounds?)

However, although Jesus is touted as powerful, I never see the superhero strength (Jesus is the man, because he is so strong) more often his kindness, care, wisdom and healing are the attributes named. So Christ is presented as powerful and mighty, but not through strength but instead through grace and kindness.

Because what is grace anyway?

     Grace is seeing imperfections and practicing love.

See the imperfections, acknowledge them, and then make a move of love (not anyway, not in spite of)  just because, because Christ made such a move towards us first.

What does this mean in day-to-day life? It means human dignity, it means seeing and acknowledging each other, and it means strength through love

God and Paperwork

Have you ever found things bogging you down?

Sometimes, as a pastor of a small church, I find myself amazed by how much of my job is paperwork. Especially since most of it is created by myself. ACK! There’s the bulletin, my sermon outline (which I hate doing, because then I feel tied down to it), contracts (we also are landlords), meeting agenda, worker checklists, rules, regs, letters to tenants, letters to congregation members, newsletters, applications/registrations for all the junk I need to be at, grants, fundings, thankyous, checklists, calendars for myself, the congregation and the building use etc. Sometimes I think the only thing I don’t write down on a regular basis are my extemporaneous prayers.


In an age of holding people accountable, and in a denomination where if its not written down it isn’t real (otherwise known as Presbyterian), I find that needing to do millions of paperworks exasperating, and “not-the-ministry-I-want-to-be-doing.”

So I find myself asking two questions: Can we do with less with paperwork, or even bureacracy in general…(note how many of the “What my mom thinks I do” memes actually end in paperwork, the ministry one I saw was def. like that)Image

What would service look if we did less bureacracy?

How about session/board meetings? (Not to mention Presbytery/Judicatory)

How about the entire “Call” Process?

How can we hold onto responsibility but lose some paperwork? How can we move with the Spirit and say Yes even as we follow protocol? What would this church look like??

I guess it would be faster, but it would also have to be more flexible. A greater trust would have to be had in staff (many of my paperworks are follow ups), out loud discussion would be even more greatly depended on (no more surveys), Leadership would have to be tighter and communication of goals, objectives and the order of things would have to be clearer and more precise (i.e. no agendas for meetings).

Alternatively (and knowing that God promises to make all things new, including paperwork) How does God work through our processes?
Had to say a quick prayer about this question…how does God work through paperwork? It slows us down, makes us double check things, it helps us to ponder and gives us an excuse to work through the stuff in our office (“our” being the staff of the church) at our own pace….It also allows for clearer accountability and gives us a security blanket to try new things (a new form of worship goes much easier if its on paper)….

What do you think? I’m really curious to know how we can both limit our paperwork, and yet use our paperwork as a form of ministry.

Our Mission, should we choose to accept it

Hey, I have an Idea about mission

If we are the church in mission, maybe we should be sending out missionaries.

What if congregations sent “missionaries” out into the community representing the church…

We could take pairs of people and send them out to the neighborhood associations, the school plays, the art shows, the craft shows, the protests, anywhere that needs a volunteer. We could sent them out with t-shirts and have them experience the community as representatives of the church….

Luke 10: 1After this the Lord(D) appointed seventy-two[a] others(E) and sent them two by two(F) ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.(G) He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.(H)

Of course we would have to train these people, but just think, once a month we could have mission meetings and have people come back to report what they learned about the community in the last month.

Then we’d have to be out in the community!

“A Family Church”

What does it mean to be a family church?

It means that we are a church that welcomes families (come please, especially if there are a lot of you…) No, wait I’m pretty sure that’s not it…

What it means is that we are a family that happens to be a church. Sure we have our wacky cousins, and the siblings squabble a lot, but we are committed to meeting and talking on a regular basis, because we consider one another family..

That is what we are called to do!

Christ keeps urging us to love one another–in fact he argues that his joy is based on us loving each other (really? God didn’t create us to bicker?)…

“As the Father has loved me,(A) so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands,(B) you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.(C) 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you

…so if this is our command, than to be a “Christian Family” is to love one another as Christ loved us…in fact, in verse 15 Jesus calls us Philo–friends, or if you like brothers and sisters. We have become family with God and we all know its not nice to hit your siblings….

In an age where we talk so much about valuing “Christian Families” we seem to be much more focused on the DO NOTS than the DOs. And it strikes me as being nit-picky, it is easy for us to tear each other down, but a true friend knows how to build one another up…

And as a mother of 3 children, I tend to read the Parenting magazines, blogs and articles, but sometimes all the negatively leaves a sad taste in my mouth. Let’s stop harping on what I should worry about (I feel like I can worry just fine all by myself thank you) and think, plan and move towards what we SHOULD be doing instead.

So Christian Families, what should they do together?

Rule no. 1 Eat together, as often as possible. Science shows it helps with discipline, squabbling, eating disorder, and Eating is FUN. Its a great way to build relationships, (all you visitors who sneak out during coffee hour don’t think I don’t know what your afraid of, its that eating together means your accepting our hospitality, it means that we’ve reached you, and you don’t want to commit yet).

Rule no.2 When there is a fight going on, make a covenant to stop and pray whenever ANYONE requests it (and I mean immediately, so far every time I’ve requested prayer, people have wanted to argue more and then pray….see anything wrong with this?)…Pray together, because prayer refocuses us on love and God instead of letting the argument devolve into personal vendettas

Rule no. 3 Be gracious with time, whenever possible give families and congregations time to just be together–and don’t forget to get your party on. My professor Kenda Dean at Princeton Seminary said that we should “Party People into the Kingdom” and I wholeheartedly agree. We should give people time to celebrate and celebrate with them. This means that if we are part of corporations, churches and companies we should enjoy those commitments made to each other and God in spectacular ways ( where family is put before work, and support is the model.

Rule no. 4 If you are worried about someone else’s relationships, its time to work on your own. To gossip about someone else is easy, to stand in confession about what we are aren’t good at ourselves is difficult. This is why we have to constantly confess the Good and the Bad about ourselves, owning our true selves, taking responsibility for our entire beings, and then turning that Complete self (the good and the bad) over to God. This is what confession is all about, and as we are not without sin, we would do well not only to avoid casting the first stone, but even worrying about other people’s sins. Let them stand in confession with God, and instead focus on our own relationships (and I’ll give you a hint, what bothers us about other people are often things that remind of our own faults, or what we could be on our not-so-good days).

Rule No. 5 Setting boundaries is a good thing. If you’ve ever dealt with a child you know that part of loving someone is setting up rules so that everyone stays safe (no hitting, no crossing the street by yourself etc.)…There is a whole sermon in here about the rationale of the 10 commandments but I cannot possibly address that here. However, it is important to know your limits, and to set reasonable boundaries with those you love about what you can and cannot do with them. Set limits, stick to them, and then offer up the ways you are available to love. Setting boundaries and keeping them are a good way to maintain a relationship (setting no boundaries is a good way to burn out, and dropping someone because you are unable to set limits sets up hurt). You can love someone and not allow victimization, triangulation or some other form of hurt by setting up good boundaries…

Last Rule (which is really the principle of the Rules in clever disguise) Love without Labels (see you never would have guessed that this is just saying Love one Another in a new way). I have heard the sentiment hate the sin love the sinner and I understand where it is coming from, but to me it is a human attempt at graciousness. One where we love someone, but are constantly seeing their sin as a label on their forehead. I love so and so EVEN THOUGH they are a…There is no even thoughs for Christ. Christ doesn’t say love one another even though you drive each other crazy–Christ doesn’t love us Even Though we are human, Jesus loves us for and because of who we are. None of us are complete on our own, and it takes love to connect us to the people who complete us. (We are like puzzle pieces, trying to fill each other’s holes, so that, as Christ says, our joy can be complete)


If we followed this rules in our immediate family, and then did so with our congregation. What else can we do to be a Christian Family? How can we upbuild and maintain our relationships with one another???