From the Interim Pastor’s Desk – April 2015

True or False?

  • Keeping peace in the congregation is the number one goal of a good church leader.
  • Those who have the longest history in the congregation are the least likely to accept change.
  • An effective church leader is tolerant, rather than confrontational.
  • Groups begin to change only when they first have fully grasped the reality of how they function.
  • A congregation’s best hope, after a disruptive event is to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
  • A congregation’s sense of balance can be disturbed more by the reaction of members to an event, than by the event itself.
  • Nowhere in the Bible is tranquility preferred to truth or harmony to justice.
  • People would rather construct a coherent argument to support their viewpoint rather than to explore other points of view.
  • Good leaders should settle emotional matters between members instead of helping to design a new outcome.
  • Most congregations regain their losses within two years.
  • Some church problems respond to a quick fix, others require long-term systemic change.

I’m not going to answer these questions for you here. They are based on, or quoted from, a book that we are all challenged to read: Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times, by Peter L. Steinke. You can order a book through me, or get one for yourself by ordering the paperback or electronic version from any major book seller: Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Google Play; or iTunes.

Our Good Shepherd transition team will begin its work shortly after Easter, and will share its work broadly with the congregation. Questions of leadership will be a large part of their work. I encourage you to test yourselves on the questions above. There are no easy answers to some of them. They are intended to provoke thought and discussion. Feel free to discuss them, or other examples from the book, with me or anyone else in the congregation. The names of transition team members will be made public soon. They will be people who will be open to discussing some of these thoughts with you.

One hope and expectation that I have is that we will begin to see leadership as something that is much more broadly representative than the pastoral staff, lay staff, or elected leaders. It may be best to think of each member as a leader, according to his or her gifts and responsibilities. Do have a happy Holy Week and Easter! I look forward to a change of seasons and the renewal of spring and summer activities.

Peace to You in the Risen Lord,

Pastor John