Already I miss (a lot) the sermon writing, the children’s story, the liturgy planning, the hospital hand-holding. Instead I have spent the past two days sitting in meetings, making phone calls, and reading through files. Lots of files. Sometimes I file things myself and sometimes I examine a file someone prepared for me.
I work with a great staff. I sit with interesting people on the train and walk by other interesting people on the sidewalks for the jaunt from train station to the office. But I Am In The Office and not out and about (much.) But here’s the amazing ministry piece: all those files in all those stacks in my new office are about people. People who are called to serve in new ways. People who are waiting to be called. People who love the church and can’t wait to write the sermons and create the children’s stories and plan the liturgy and hold the hands of the sick and sad. I get to help make that happen. Cool.
And occasionally (like Wednesday) I get to talk with a pastor up close and personal instead of getting to know her via file folder.
One of the crucial aspects of 21st Century Church is the relationship and I believe this is why The Institutional Church is so frustrating for people. Human beings long for community. Our structures give them institutionalism. The processes and procedures kind of ruin it for people who simply crave spiritual nourishment and connections.
So how do we nurture Real Church in the throes of the administration in the ICU? Step one seems to be remembering that these files represent real people who just want to serve, preferably in the joy of a true calling from God.