Thursday, August 26, 2010

September Newsletter Article

In my effort to post more often, here is my newsletter article for the September edition of the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Parish Messenger.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Earlier today (Wednesday, August 25) I received an email from the office of the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ. This email is a 2 times a week newsletter that discusses current events, celebrations, opportunities, etc. of Minnesota UCC churches. Usually the main article is by Conference Minister Rev. Dr. Karen Sellers Smith. However, the last few issues have been discussing the call process UCC churches go through when they need a new minister. The first question and the first paragraph of the answer caught my attention today.

Q: You said that Search Committees shouldn't look for the "Perfect Pastor" but for the perfect fit - what does that mean?
A: Congregations are often looking for someone who can do it all and has no flaws... but none of us is good at everything and all of us have flaws! A good minster usually excels at three to five things, and that's really about how much a productive pastor can accomplish at one time. For example, a congregation might want someone who preaches, plans good worship, leads in the wider church, is a crack administrator, and is great with young people, and is growing the church... whoops! That's six - and we can pretty realistically predict that at least one of the six would consistently become a low priority - and pastoral care isn't even on the list! (COMMAntary, August 25, 2010)

“None of us is good at everything and all of us have flaws!” That line really hit home because lately I have been thinking about one of my weaknesses in ministry.

First, let me start off by saying that I know that I have those three to five strong areas in ministry that I really love doing: preaching, leading worship, teaching, administrating (keeping records, filing reports, etc.), and leading funerals and weddings (ministering to families at times of mourning and celebration).

The flaw I see in my ministry is typically called “visitation”. In my ten years of ministry, I have never successfully devised a plan to improve my visitations. Don’t get me wrong – I love to visit and I really feel good after spending time with someone. I just find it hard to do the visits.

There is an order to the types of visits that I do, from the most likely to the least likely: people in hospitals (when I know of them), nursing home, assisted living, home-bound, and everyone else. If you are someone who feels I haven’t visited enough, I apologize. The best remedy is to do one of two things: 1) pick up the phone and call me or 2) tell someone who sees me regularly at church or at meetings that you would like me to visit. Maxine R. called me fairly often and Elda K. told her brother. Both ways work for me and either way, I will come for a visit. Your help in this matter will help me keep on track in an area of my ministry that I know is weak.

Peace in Christ,

Pastor Gary

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