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.
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.