Process or People?

Pastoring a church is something so other to me.  I have been in ministry for the better part of my life now.  Starting when I was 16 volunteering with Metro in Youngstown all the way till now, and I have to say that being the pastor of a church as opposed to being a staff member of a church is a whole lot of hard.

J and I have spent the past few years on long drives working through all sorts of stuff, one of the most important things that I have learned through my time as a staff pastor, is that J was given to me for a reason.  I lost sight of that, I must say it’s a good thing that I got a much needed shift in perspective before I started this journey. One of the things that we have done has been the whole if we are ever, or if I’m ever. Well now the ever has happened and while we don’t have any staff pastors yet, I am sure there will come a time that we will need to look at hiring others to come along side us.

One of the things that I am finding is it’s very easy to get caught up in the processes of pastoring.  There is so much to do, especially when you are tasked with bringing a church back from the brink of extinction.  I wish this was an over exaggeration, what I find is everyone involved in leadership in the church tends to have an eye for the processes that need to be put into place to make things happen.  It’s so easy to get stuck in the middle of the vision and implementation.  When we put together an action plan it usually involves steps, and lists, and goals, it needs to, that’s how it goes, but in the middle of all the processes that have to happen in the name of growth it’s really easy to forget that the whole point is the people that we are trying to reach.

I am in the middle of a challenge at our church, a fairly big one.  We must re-brand, we must launch into the neighborhood, we have to make the church more visually appealing and we need to revamp our services to appeal to the people in our neighborhood and in the 21 Century. I understand that there are people that will read this and get all uber spiritual on me.  They will say things like; “Just preach the word,” or “let God do the work that he wants,” or “remember who’s church it is Aaron.”  Yea all that sounds great but it’s not realistic, and no one really believes it, at least no one that I know. Truth be told God gave us brains, creativity and energy to be used.  He won’t fill up a church when the people leading it and the people attending it could care less about the cosmetics.  As much as we all say and know that programming is not the way to build a church, there has to be programming in the church.  Sometimes I think we use spirituality as a cop out, but I digress.  The real issue here is that it’s really easy to get so involved in these things that have to happen, and in making sure the cosmetic’s are taken care of that we forget we are doing these things for the people that are coming and that we want to come.

If we have a building and it gets used, if we have chairs and they get tipped on, or a floor and things get spilled on them.  If we have a presentation that we have worked on but it gets interrupted by kids, well that’s the people that’s the point.

When the plans and the processes get in the way of the people well that’s when things must change, that’s when we have to step back and see what the point of the whole thing is.  It’s a balance though.  I just am not sure how easy it is for anyone to maintain that ballance.

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