Church Life, Ministry

So Let It Be Written. So Let It Be Done.

Ramses
"So Let It Be Written. So Let It Be Done."

At Small Church, the Chair of Trustees enjoyed intoning the words of Ramses, taken from "The Ten Commandments." Ramses had no issues of confidence or authority. He insisted on what he believed to be right and expected others to act upon his desires.

Moses went up the mountain and came down with a new set of Commandments for the people, ten rules that came not from an earthly ruler, but from God.

Communities of faith tend to develop their own sets of rules and commandments, whether or not they mean to do it. Sometimes the origin of a tradition can be forgotten completely. Sometimes the desire to keep things a certain way belongs only to a small group of people.

Today I heard two pastors describe very different ways of relating to change in the church. One made it clear that doing what God seemed to be calling the church to do mattered more than retaining members. He shared that six years ago, half the members left the church he serves.

It's okay, pastors, pick up your chins from wherever they fell.

Another colleague said that no matter what changes must be faced in the life of the church, he would not feel good about sacrificing a generation to achieve them.

I get both points of view.

As an Interim Pastor, my job lies in a different area. I am at the church not to issue commandments but to reflect reality, to share with the church leaders and membership what I observe about their lives together. I may even have to tell the people in a church what I think their Ten Commandments seem to be. They may or may not hear or believe me. And whatever results from their work in the time of pastoral transition will not happen with me.

Neighbor's donkey
Today I felt a little envious of my colleagues who described their settled churches, even though I reside in an uncomfortable wilderness between their conclusions.

And really, thou shalt not covet thy colleague's church, right?

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's
wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your
neighbor
. (Exodus 20:17, NRSV)

So let it be written. So let it be done.

Neighbor's Donkey from Flickr

5 thoughts on “So Let It Be Written. So Let It Be Done.”

  1. I guess my reaction to the guy who lost half his church would depend on where those people ended up.
    If they ended up in another church…well…it might have just been God’s plan for them. If they are unchurched now, I might think that is an awful big sacrifice. For what end?
    Church is complicated, isn’t it?

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  2. As someone whose congregation could have benefitted form your type of work and managed to worm their way out of it before I got here, I just want to say that even if you don;t see the seeds of your work, it is much appreciated.

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  3. I don’t put much stock in what pastors say at those meetings. Too much puffing up and territory announcing going on.
    One of the reasons the BE meant the world to me was hearing truth and real life discussed by pastors and church people.
    Am I off topic? arghh

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  4. I always tend to be suspicious of polarized extreme positions like those articulated by the other two pastors.
    The way you describe the purpose of your job interests me very much. I never really thought of interim pastor as being a distinct position in itself. It sounds almost like being a consultant. I’m sure you do bring great value to congregations, but then like Mary Poppins you move on to another position. that has to be taxing on you in many ways.

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  5. wow that is an awesome role you have there, like Ruth I recognise the almost consultative position embeded in the role you describe. I hope and pray that your words of wisdom are well recieved!!!
    I love the donkey btw…

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