Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Accomplishments in Present Call

That's the heading of one of the sections of the Personal Information Form that Presbyterian Pastors have to fill out when they are seeking a new call.

In my present call I am closing a tiny, struggling urban church. This congregation has been teetering on the brink of viability for the last twenty years and finally ran out of money, energy and time.

How, exactly, am I supposed to spin that into an "accomplishment" that will make Pastor Nominating Committees stand up and yell "Hallelujah! Just who we're looking for!" Maybe the Roves and Carvilles of this world could do it, but I'm having a hard time spinning this particular straw into gold.

Ideas anyone???


Gord said...

NO answers but a big question:
WHat does success mean in the church? Is it possible that allowing/helping/permitting them to realize that after struggling fo 20 years it was time to say goodbye is, in a different way, a success?

Too often I think we see success solely in terms of growth of numbers and money.

reverendmother said...

Let's see... you helped shepherd them through a very difficult discerrnment process, and are obviously skilled in pastoral care and grief issues.

It speaks of your abilities as a leader, truly. If people are willing to follow you into the true unknown like this is, is there anywhere you wouldn't be able to lead a congregation?

Reminds me of Maria Harris's thing about "living, dying, and rising" as the rhythm of Christ's life (Acts 2:something) and our life as a community of faith. Fact is, we don't want to face the dying, but we can't have resurrection without it.

Kathryn said...

You have helped them to prepare for a "good death" as a congregation. Letting go is the hardest thing for people, but you've enabled them to do this. That's got to be a worthwhile accomplishment...we're not into the same management goals as the rest of the world, are we?
Blessings on you as you fill out that form...

ambiance-five said...

Heartfelt 20 year commitment to a struggling congregation whom the Lord has now freed to seek other avenues of His leading.

St. Casserole said...

You don't need spin. Tell them about the process of closing a church. I don't mean the presbytery steps but what it means to the people you serve.
I get choked everytime I read about what you are going through.
Have you considered speaking to conferences about your experiences with closing a church? Or writing about it? Many of your blog entries are ready for a book right now.

PPB said...

I second St Cassy.
Speak the truth in love. Your pastoral care skills will go the length.

LutheranChik said...

What they said.;-)

This is just me, but if I were a Grand Wazoo in the church bureaucracy (not an official job title in the ELCA, BTW;-)), I might think that someone who had just helped close a church might be a good person to help with a mission startup.