After doing my unplanned series of love letters – which were all inspired either by your requests or my own personal experiences – I’ve heard quite a few people tell me that they hope (their transitional pastor/their head of staff/their associate pastor/their 60-something pastor/their 30-something pastor/their former pastor/their current pastor) read a certain post.
I wish we could be lovingly honest with each other to the point that we didn’t need to surreptitiously and anonymously place a printout of a blog post on somebody’s desk. (“Hmm. Where did this article come from?“)
I love the Church of Jesus Christ. I love watching the Holy Spirit make shifts that we never imagined or expected. I love watching stuck congregations become unstuck. I love watching an authentic call unfold. I love observing leaders build a different kind of Church.
But friends, we have got to hold each other accountable when our efforts are lacking or when we are damaging the Church rather than bolstering the Church. True fact: some of us believe we are strong leaders when we are not. Please re-read this.
A couple of things based on your thoughts shared with me privately over the past week:
- It does the Church no favors when Presbyteries (and other mid-councils responsible for preparing candidates for professional ministry) continue to move seminarians forward when it’s clear that they do not have the EQ to be successful pastors. Humans can learn Emotional Intelligence, but we have to want to do it.
- Much of the practical training for pastors and the certification training for transitional pastors is sorely dated. Just because we have a seminary degree and/or transitional ministry training doesn’t mean we learned how to serve the 21st Century Church. I’m receiving a lot of feedback from people who have taken transitional ministry training. Basic feedback: Please stop using dated tools. Please stop teaching what might have worked 10 years ago. Or 25 years ago. (For the record, this training is excellent.)
- Do not be afraid. Many of us are afraid to retire with too little money. Many of us are nowhere near retirement, but we fear losing the only kind of job we know how to do. Many of us are afraid to move away from our families. Many of us are afraid to take a leap into new territory professionally. People – we call ourselves children of God and followers of Jesus. What does scripture say about being afraid? Why don’t we listen to the angels?
Maybe there will be a future “love letter” or two. And in the meantime, let’s be the Church together seeking what expands the reign of God.
Painting is David and Nathan by Swiss artist Angelika Kauffman (1741–1807.) Source.