Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Plan

Every time a pastor makes a change from church to church it seems one of the key questions that interview teams ask is "What is your vision for this church?"

I can't say as I blame them for asking such questions for this is what a couple of generations of pastors and church hierarchies have taught them to ask.

I tend to break that trend by turning the question on its head and asking the church what its vision for the future is. Most of the time these days I seem to get blank stares, or a generic, "We want young people, as our folks are just too old and tired to do the work. We need someone to come in and take our place."

That's a truth we need to hear as clergy, but we need to then enable to people to name a vision that will help that to become a reality. As such I have a plan.

Here's the plan:
1) Visit with the people. Get to know who they are, where they come from, their hurts and their joys. Hear them out. (This doesn't just mean church people, but it is where my stated focus remains. I tend to do some scouting while out and about in the community too)
2) Find out about the community, and share that information back to the church people. Find out about spiritual gifts, the assets of the church, the needs of the community and do some community mapping with the people of the church.
3) Bring the people back together naming the gifts and graces of the church, the hopes of the people, and the needs of the church and community. Use roundtables, church meetings, coffee breaks, sermons and any other tool imaginable to surface a vision for the future.
4) Establish the steps to seeing the vision to completion.
5) Start walking the steps necessary.

Now, it may be that some basic needs for ministry need to be addressed before moving in this way. There may be church needs, like better equipment, or background checks to make sure things are safe and usable. There may need to be concerns for the health and welfare of immediate church members, the church (as in the case of a major disaster), or the pastor and family taken care of before moving on. Once these things are at least stable, then get moving. And right now, that is what I am doing...starting down the list to get to the steps to see a church walking with purpose once again.



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