I don’t hate children’s sermons, but I do agree that they are more for adult
and would love to include children in the entire service instead
I don’t hate children’s sermons, but I do agree that they are more for adult
and would love to include children in the entire service instead
I have been an LOL person before it was cool, before LOL was conceived (almost) I was living it out. If you have ever been to one of my services, be warned, LOL will happen. In fact I am very likely to LOL at myself (and if you don’t know what LOL please google it immediately)
Now here is the interesting thing, my willingness to laugh has gotten me into a lot of trouble. (For why I laugh please read https://katyandtheword.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/pastor-with-a-sense-of-humor/)
a. People think I’m an airhead (I think this has to do with me being female). People assume because I laugh, I don’t care, when actually its the opposite. I laugh because I do care. I tend to take life very seriously. And when I say seriously, I don’t mean in a holier-than-thou or everything-is-sacred kind of way I mean the, life-is-God’s-gift, We-only-get-one-shot-at-it, so I pay attention way! I pay attention, so I don’t miss the happy moments. I pay attention because I have found that laughter is rare, and humor is a hard commodity to find. I pay attention because it is SO important to find Joy in life, and I don’t want any ounces of it that I can catch to slip through my fingers.
b. People think I devalue God, ministry, etc. by laughing. Last I check the Book of Order (the Presbyterian Constitution) says W-1.1000 i.e. the very, very, very first thing said about worship is “Christian worship joyfully ascribes all praise and honor, glory and power to the triune God.” We are supposed to have fun, I don’t know why we forget that (p.s. when is having fun not holy?)
Plus-we are currently striving under Openness to be more open to joy (bet you didn’t even know that). In F-1.0404, our first Openness statement is “a new openness to the sovereign activity of God in the Church and in the world, to a more radical obedience to Christ, and to a more joyous celebration in worship and work;”
What does this mean? It means the more obedience we find, the closer we are to God, the more joyous our celebration has become. My most recent example of this is the Farmer’s Market, which most of us find “fun.” This doesn’t mean we aren’t working, to the contrary, it means we are doing the right kind of work.
Which brings me to the third problem I often encounter.
3. People think I don’t work hard enough. I seriously think because I enjoy my job, people think I’m not “working.” I have tried to give more voice to the work I am doing, but I have found it difficult to do this without gogguzomen (grumbling, muttering, complaining in Greek–I love that word, doesn’t it sound just like what it means?). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbhnRuJBHLs Anyway, so if I don’t complain like the rest of the world, I must not be doing my job properly, but in actuality I am obsessed with my job. I am, in truth a workaholic, and it takes a lot for me to put down the reins and take the days/hours/minutes off that I need. However, it is hard for people to see this, because I love my job. I truly love my job. I love that when I do well I can laugh, I love that when I make mistakes I can laugh at myself, and I love how God turns everything upsidedown on me, so what I thought I was doing completely changes (rather like a King in a manger, Salvation on the cross, Great Epistles written by a tax collector), when these surprises come I like to laugh. It doesn’t mean I am taking things lightly. It just means that I am game for God’s jokes. I am ready to be surprised, I am ready to be happy, and I’m ready to find happiness, even in what seems like mistakes at the time. It doesn’t mean that I don’t internalize those mistakes, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty, or work on them. What it means is that I am able to find the humor in things. I am able to understand that I don’t understand. I see the mystery in God’s face, and I laugh.
So I admit it. In the face of a faltering denomination tearing apart on issues of acceptance no less (talk about the ultimate irony!!!), despite a disappointing GA where the Youth/Younger people were ignored (even as people wondered how to get young people into the church), in a place where Vice Moderators are threatened and feel the need to step down (http://www.pcusa.org/news/2012/7/4/mccabe-resigns-vice-moderator-220th-ga/). Times seem to be tough. However, I refuse to give in. It is easier to pick-a-little and talk-a-little than to find the good. It is easier to dwell on the bad, and it is human to try to rip things apart rather than to laugh and move on together. So in light of all this….I’m going to continue to be a LOL pastor.
Once when I was working as a Children’s Coordinator the pastor told me that I really needed to try to look bored more often….
This was a great point in fact, because I love to be busy (I guess I’m in a good profession for that).
The Pastor then told me the story of Jesus at the well. He told me to think about not only Jesus’ ministry of presence but also his ministry of waiting. There he was, waiting at the well, for someone who needed water to come….and thus a friendship was born.
4Now he had to go through Samaria.So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the townto buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”–John 4:
Hearing from the moderator today, he noted that he is making a point to be present (either himself or the vice moderator) at the committee meetings…a strong choice for presence, and one that echoed the hard questions given to him on the floor.
It took four votes to elect our moderator (the youth/seminary advisory board loved him). There seemed to be some dispute because he is abiding by the letter of the law regarding gay marriage, meanwhile his running mate signed a marriage license in her state during their campaign.His response to this was that he wasn’t going to put aside 10 years of friendship over a difference of opinion. i.e. part of being friends means being present for one another–choosing to be present even when our choices differ.
During the Hymn Sing at GA we sang “Go to the World” the final verse is
“Go into the world! Go as the ones I send, for I am with you ’til the age shall end, When all the hosts of glory cry Amen!”
What a friend we have in Jesus, who promises to be present no matter what we do.
So here I am, present at GA. On the one hand I’m not “Doing” much, I have little to no agenda about the meetings, and have not been commissioned, chosen or asked to do anything.
On the other hand, I am here, I am present. I am witnessing the work we are doing, praying for all of us who are doing it, and keeping my eyes and ears open for the Holy Spirit. I have waited, hoped, and possibly even made some new friends
2 weeks in, and our Farmer’s Market is going fairly well. It is also very time intensive! Here we are in the middle of summer, and our stats stand as follows
Grand Opening over 200
Rainy, Rainy 2nd week 65
Overall, I think that we are doing pretty well–however as we begin this ministry of farming and marketing, I am trying to tease out the theology behind the market.
Why are we selling vegetables? What space does it provide the community? Should I be doing more “religious” looking stuff? Are we touching people–doe we get the word out? How is our advertising anyway? Do we have enough farmers (a lot of our vendors sell things other than vegetables)? What is growing out of this seed that is being planted (get it)?
You can tell there are a lot of questions….and yet, its exciting. It’s exciting to do something new, to see the church pull together, to actually have people want to come into our humble parking lot (which is apparently a lot less scary than the church building itself)…
So we’ll see what develops, in the meantime, I’m enjoying the adventure…..
“I’ll warrant you’ll make plenty in it,” said Marilla. “I never saw your beat for making mistakes, Anne.”
“Yes, and well I know it,” admitted Anne mournfully. “But have you ever noticed one encouraging thing about me, Marilla? I never make the same mistake twice.”
“I don’t know as that’s much benefit when you’re always making new ones.”
“Oh, don’t you see, Marilla? There must be a limit to the mistakes one person can make, and when I get to the end of them, then I’ll be through with them. That’s a very comforting thought.”
I can still remember having a very “adult” conversation with my parents. It was one in which I must have been about 10, and my parents were telling me that I wasn’t perfect, and that I was going to have to live with myself. My response to this (because I knew no one could be perfect) was “I don’t want to be perfect, I just don’t want to make any mistakes!”
As Christians we have this ongoing struggle with perfection. On the one hand we want to be perfect, on the other part of being Christian (at least for me ) is admitting that we aren’t perfect. It is contending with our brokenness, and giving it up to God to be healed.
However, even though we know this about ourselves, I think that Christians often feel the mistaken need to pro-ject perfection. We want to look or at least seem perfect to everyone else. It’s as if our perfection reflects upon the perfection of God. If we aren’t perfect, then God isn’t perfect. If we don’t have all the answers, then God doesn’t have all the answers.
Instead of pointing towards God’s for answers, we rely upon ourselves or the “church” (i.e. that human conglomeration that we too often see as being the church) to be perfect/have the answers.
That’s where pastors mess up too right? Pastors feel that they have to be perfect, and instead of being open about their faith and their brokenness and talking about where they meet, Pastors try to be perfect, hide their mistakes/failings (which often leads to a whole nasty secret double life). Too often pastors skip their own confessions–of both faith and doubt, and then the quagmire’s come
So we are back to the perfection and mistakes. It is important to strive towards perfection, but to also rely on God on the source of all perfection. And even when I think that I know my way to God, it is important not to project that as the only way to God.
Too often, I think that Church is shown as a place for “perfect” people or (worse) people who think they are perfect. Too often Church is seen as the place where all of our answers are provided. After all, church is not the place to give standardized tests–God answers each of us personally and individually….
When, in actuality. God is a mystery, the church doesn’t know how everything works (Trinity, anyone? Or how about that Virgin Birth thing?) The church should be the A number 1 place to go when you AREN’T Perfect, it should be THE place to go when you have questions, and it should be the surrenduring of your mistakes and imperfections to God so that God is the one we are relying on to “project the right image” not humanity or the church in itself…..
We all say that the church is the people, that being said, my church spends more than half of its budget on the building. On the one hand, no one objects to the money that is needed to heat, repair and maintain our building. On the other, I’m rather uncomfortable with this use of our money.
If the church is about people, then we really shouldn’t be spending so much on the building. Having committed now to put forward 10% of the offerings we receive towards mission, I find this commitment both inspiring and sad. Are we really only putting 10% of our money in the community? Are we really going to worry about every dime we spend, or can we figure if we have the money that means that God wants us to do it.
I don’t know if I believe in balanced budgets or buildings. I do believe in fulfill our responsibilities though (i.e. paying contracts, keeping buildings safe, not overspending and blaming our lack of money on God or each other). I know that’s probably an auxi moron but there we go. I am also aware that my church provides important community space, but I also am aware that we are in the Landlord business–and I really don’t feel like this is the kind of ministry I wish to be doing….
Here’s what I do think.
I think we should be CHURCH BUILDING not just a church building. I think the church needs to be located at the center of the community, and if the people don’t come to us, we should follow Jesus’s example and go to where the people are.
So what should we do? Sell the building? Become nomads? Be more creative with our uses of space? Where are we the most church? How can we hit the streets more? I am especially struggling with this as many churches are closing and many church buildings are empty or for sale–and what really gets me is the community, those who live near the church and yet never attend it, sees this loss as sad. What is it with the associations we have with “the Church” as opposed or in conjunction with “the Church Building”
I am still struggling to find the answers to these questions. Anyone else have thoughts?????
Pastors only work one day a week, and it’s a half day, Right????
I think my new thing is to ask for an budget for weekly exercise. I find it hard to find the time, energy and money to exercise. Yet if I sign up for a class I inevitably attend, enjoy it and ultimately get sick less, which is a win on all fronts…oh yeah, and to continue to ask for more staff–I always think we need more staff, because I am feeling overworked
In fact, I find in general that anytime I overwork, I get sick. It’s just the way my body works. Not eating or sleeping regularly? There’s no getting away with that….I just get sick, get an enforced day off, and am not happy while I’m at it.
So that’s it, eat, sleep, and hopefully exercise. Contrary to popular belief pastors do not work only half a day, its more of a on-call-and-thinking-about-your-job-24/7-type-of-career. When we say that we are called, we really mean it!
Maybe the confusion comes from the following facts
1) I love my job
2) I truly care about all those in my ministry
3)I have work-a-holic tendencies.
Add it all up and it means that when I’m working, I don’t always look to be hard at work. It is hard to separate my “work” self from my “home” self (maybe because they are almost the same thing), and I have trouble setting time aside for myself.
Take last week, Monday I worked all morning fielding phone calls for the Farmer’s Market Grand Opening, that afternoon and evening I prepped more stuff for the opening and wrote the bulletin. Tues Morning I ran our Mugs and Hugs Playgroup, immediately after lunch I came back to help to set up then I stayed until 6pm for the market. That night I worked on a bulletin for a funeral.
Wednesday I spent the morning home with the family (normally my open door office hrs), that afternoon I spent with a family for their visiting hrs at the funeral home. That night I finished the bulletin for the funeral.
Thursday I conducted a funeral and burial (at the graveyard), accompanied the family for lunch, that night I packed for a trip
Friday I travelled up to Silver Bay for a retreat of Presbytery (the governing board) and slept over. Sat I returned early due to babysitting difficulties (after the 2nd sitter called out with the stomach flu I gave up), Sat night I prepped for worship/Sunday School.
Sunday=Adult Sunday School and Agape Worship.
Then there’s all the things I wanted to do: prepare more stuff for the farmer’s market, pick up signs from the shop, plot out my scripture passages for the next month, visit all the shut ins (this is esp. due because I’ve been sick), visit some of our community connections, foster relationships, pray more, oh and rest up since I’m on meds for laryngitis (remember how I said I get sick when I don’t take care of myself…well point made God), this doesn’t even include any of the personal stuff I wanted to do…
How do I resolve this? I think I need to set stronger boundaries, but I also need to train my congregation to take better care of me. I am the most likely to take care of myself if someone else reminds me to do so. My husband helps with this, but I still have a long ways to go to doing it “right”. Someday I’ll get the Jubilee right, in the meantime, I’ll strive to keep a better schedule…..l
How many of you have been married by an online licensed minister? I know of a couple who got married by a justice of the peace and then had a friend of theirs to officiate a fake wedding–but the guest thought he was real clergy (the friend thought everyone knew he was only the MC). I sometimes get asked whether I mind that people don’t come to church to get married anymore. Or if I minded the online certificates of ministry.
In light of this fact I recently got asked to do a member’s funeral. The family is not a church going one, and my guess is that the lady (who died of Alzheimer’s) connection to the church was a loose one, but I have a philosophy about funerals. Always say yes or refer to another minister. I’m sure there is a rare exception to this rule, but funerals are one of the few times that pastoral care is most requested/wanted/sought after.
So after giving up my day off, meeting with the family, writing a complete service, standing with the family for half of the visiting hrs, conducting a funeral, burial and being present for the refreshments– I collected my $125 (which amounted to at most $6 an hr for all the work I did) and knew that I had done good work. By the end of the three day marathon I felt I really knew the lady and her family pretty well, and they had a better understanding of me, what church can be, and most importantly God.
So back to the question, do I envy that people can get weddings online, not really. It makes me sad sometimes, because when I do a wedding, I really work at it, I meet with the couple multiple times, I try to give them resources and helps not only for now but for the future, I pray for that couple and try to make the service a testament to both their and God’s love, and no internet license can do that….
ps I have yet to see a cartoon about a wedding or funeral where the pastor is female….
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 😉
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
Write with Heart
Thoughts on Life and Faith
Won't You Be Our Neighbor
a ministry for transition
Love is the answer - now what's your question?
Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation
ROBERT LAMBERT JONES III
Seeing the Sacred in the Everyday
thinking outloud online
Knittin' and Preachin'
Meditations on faith and art
Ordinary Living in the Lectionary