Friday, August 11, 2006

School of Congregational Development, part II

We have returned form the adventure that is the School of Congregational Development. More and more the lesson seems to be-have a plan. The challenge to that is when each pastor has his or her own plan, and it is tailored to his or her preferences. When that happens and the church has input the mesh gets to be quite the mix, and one has to hope when the Cabinet makes the next appointment to the local church the pastor has the ability to enter into that mix. The scary thing about most of the plans is that they are pastor driven models, and the conrgegation rarely takes responsibility, though they may follow through on the expectations of the pastor. My goal is to teach a church to teach its pastor each time a new appointment is made, especially since they have to be teaching each other along the way. I want an apprentice for each job in the church.

The second adventure of SCD was housing. Once again we had housing problems. It saves the pocketbook - this time we got three days removed from our five day bill.

When we arrived the room smelled pretty rank. So we went out the next day and bought some candles to aerate the room during our stay.

On Saturday the sink began to back up, which was surprising since the room above us had just had the sink snaked, and one would think the snaking would have removed the clog. The snaking itself was quite loud and disturbed naptime to no end.

The disturbance of naptime would not have been so bad, except that the neighbor next door played his TV so loudly during the night it shook the walls with the bass. Finally after 5 calls to the front desk attendant and the off-site phone service and no response I went next door, disturbed the guy with the "don not disturb" tag in his door who was disturbing us with his TV at 4AM and he turned the TV wayyyy down-maybe even off.

I then reported the sink clog to the front desk the next morning, and they assured me a plumber would be in that day to fix it (Sunday)...he had just left on Saturday when I reported the sink to the front desk. And surprisingly, nothing we got a night comped.

The sink backed up more with this nasty black stuff, and we were offered a new room, which might have been a good idea, with the crazy loud next door neighbor, no kitchenette sink due to the back-up and an elevator that did not work, but alas we decided the work involved to move rooms was not entirely worth it.

So Monday we complained again about the sink, asked about the elevator and the crazy next door neighbor. The sink would be taken care of that day, the elevator tech had already spent two days working on the elevator and there was now a series of parts on order. Nothing could be done about the neighbor, unless we had an immediate complaint about the noise.

Tuesday morning the manager came in and we told her again of all three problems with our room, I think we might also have had a note in the system about the horrid smell of the room when we arrived, since I had to beg the front desk manager for housekeeping supplies to do the airfreshening when we arrived. The fornt desk attendant was chained to the front desk and could not go to a room to do the work, and housekeeping had all gone home.

Needless to say it was more of an adventure, which seems to lighten the load on the pocketbook and that isn't all bad.

I promise the SCD was about more than bad hotel rooms, but for now that is what is really on my mind...that and the funeral and wedding tomorrow...which I need to go prep for now.



At September 18, 2006, Blogger Taylor Burton-Edwards said...


I applaud your instinct to work at building a congregational vision and congregational ownership for ministry where you are. Given our itinerant system, this is absolutely essential to sustainability-- if we're not going to keep sending pastors in who think they have to reinvent the wheel everytime, and congregations who come to expect this as the norm. That just contributes to a whole lot of "starting" and not a whole lot of long term or sustainable growth or accomplishments.

So yes, the pastor must have a clear vision-- but it cannot be just the pastor. It must be a vision that a pastor and congregation develop together, one that primarily reflects the congregation's own discernment about its calling, gifts, and passion for ministry WITH its current pastor. The strong center of this vision needs to be theirs, and its open horizon is how that connects with the pastor, other leadership, and its missional setting.

Peace in Christ,

Taylor Burton-Edwards
Director of Worship Resources
General Board of Discipleship


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