Monday, 23 March 2009

crumbling church


Getting ready to start my sabbatical is one of those experiences, which focuses attention on one of the tensions I live with. I’m a last minute preparer by nature and there comes a point when you’re trying to get things in a position to leave when you get that sneaky feeling there’s more last minute things left than there are last minutes! One of the things I hope to restore more to the centre of my life over the next few months is a more helpfully creative tension between the short-term & longer term plans I live with – it’s that every seven years attempt to change the habit of a life-time! This time around I’m taking my sabbatical in three chunks – roughly a month a time in April, July and November. Pros and cons with this, so we’ll see how it goes.

There is obviously a great deal about who I am as an individual in my approach to getting things done (or not!) and this can be extremely unhelpful to those around me if not balanced out in some ways. We all know this, but it always fascinates me when observing personality writ large in a church – how churches and other groups take on board personality types to the point they become embedded in them as DNA and effectively set the pattern well beyond the original shapers have left. For example, last week I was in a church meeting, which needs to remain nameless! Here we have a church, which is on the brink of potential closure, and I was present at the AGM for some crucial decisions. Before we got to the reason for my presence there, I listened to a list of jobs and responsibilities to be affirmed by the church meeting – I confess I didn’t count because only part way through did I realise what was going on. Here we have a church, which could easily cease to be in existence sometime soon, but they will go down with ‘leaders’ of various non-existent groups, missionary secretaries for this and that, people to look after xy & z – basically they still sound like a ‘real’ church.

Maintenance? Yes, big time. Missional? Mission who?

Anyway, in case anyone missed the football results:

Liverpool 5 v Aston Villa 0 & Fulham 2 v Man Utd 0 (thanks Danny) – maybe it’s not too little too late after all – certainly the title race is hotting up.

3 comments:

Catriona said...

I think I'd be interested to know just how long these leaders of defunct initiatives had been approved 'en bloc.' In my little church this practice also occurs but, seen from inside, it isn't always quite as cut-and-dried as it may first appear.

After three years I got one defunct title removed and this year another one. But it isn't that easy when the post holders have some genuine guilt over what they aren't doing and need permission, sometimes several times, to lay them down.

We also a whole heap of roles not filled - including HMF rep which, in an HMF funded church is poor, but the sea of blank expressions each year means we find other ways (approximately 'all in giving') to do it.

So, whilst I understand your frustration, and to a large degree share it, somewhere along the line we have to educate our churches to allow roles to die rather than feel compelled to fill them.

Having said all that, 'my' church is little, precarious and struggling but we are still doing mission with around 70 people a month... God isn't done with us yet!

Nigel Coles said...

Granted, it's not an easy one this. It'll need a longer term view of life to life the routine up onto another plane. If you were in WEBA I'd suggest some kind of review to at least try and ask 'why are we here'?

Nigel Coles said...

Granted, it's not an easy one this. It'll need a longer term view of life to life the routine up onto another plane. If you were in WEBA I'd suggest some kind of review to at least try and ask 'why are we here'?