Over at A Church for Starving Artists there is a thought-provoking post on what things church's should toss out any and all institutions that:
- Have outlasted their effectiveness (or their original purpose has been achieved)
- Don't work anymore
- Prevent real growth
The potential things to cut listed are:
- Sunday School
- Coffee Hour
- The Women's Groups
- Vacation Bible School
The idea at the blog is not that these things should be cut, but that in churches where they are no longer working in the ways listed above, that they should be dropped and new and more effective ways of being the Body of Christ should be adopted. The Wall of Pastors
Another one listed is the Wall of Former Pastors (pictured at right from the above linked post). I agree with this one wholeheartedly because they are never complemented by pictures of lay people who gave lots of time and energy toward being the Body of Christ in that place and so enshrine professional clergy in a way foreign to the Gospel.
I am glad that my name isn't on the sign at King of Peace and I hope my picture will never hang in any buildings there as what I have done at King of Peace has only been effective to the degree that lots of other folks did lots of other work. Why should I get credit for the grounds with all the clean ups by June, RJ and AJ or the hard work done by Mike and Al. Why should I get credit for King of Peace being welcoming when Gil and others are the one who really do this in a way that matters, and Kenn keeps the building functioning. Why should our worship style be credited to me when it has been the work of Linda, Freddie, Enree, Bill, Debbie, and Carol too. Why should I get credit for money given to the community when its been raised by Sandy, Karen, Diane, Georgia, June, Sande, Rhonda and more? Why should I get credit for our fellowship when Kelly, Joe, Celeste, Mary Kay and others have done so much? Why should I get credit for what King of Peace offers for kids when it is built on what Suzanne got started Austin and Kristen kept going and Tammy added to wonderfully with leading the kids singing and Amber and Geoff and Melissa continue in many ways? None of this would keep functioning without all the vestry members who spent time on the temporal stuff and Neil kept the finances straight with financial work also done by Colby, Bob, Martha and Chuck. What about our community reputation made possible by Gillian and The Preschool staff kept running by JoAnn and others or the Scouting work done by Robin and Gina and Elaine? Nothing could capture the amount of time and energy and money that Victoria and Griffin have personally put into King of Peace in so many ways they defy listing. And even in listing these names I have not scratched the surface of those who are King of Peace or covered the ways in which those listed above could have been double, triple and quadruple listed.
I hate listing anyone, because to be fair the list of names could go on and on (could their be a list that doesn't include families long gone like the Wests, Grosses, Helbergs and so many others who moved or other staff like John, Jay, Grace and Sarena?). I know that I have left out people who have done as much or more as those listed. This is the point. Even a long list doesn't capture the people who are the Body of Christ in this place.
The wall of pastors hides more than it reveals about the leadership of a congregation and how that church serves its community. For while I am willing to take credit for my part in getting King of Peace going, it was never done alone and the effectiveness of the things we do (the measure offered above of what to toss and what to keep) has more to do with teamwork than with anything I did by myself. Capturing this time in the life of King of Peace with a single photo of a single person might well be sin for it is surely falling short of the mark set by God.Wrap Up and Questions
So this post has two topics: 1) Toss out the things a church is doing that are no longer effective and look for other ways to accomplish those goals, or find new goals, and 2) Lifting up clergy hides the vital work done by the rest of the ministers of a congregation, all the great lay people who serve their churches and communities with no pay and little recognition.
For further provocation (in a good sense) look at the post that got me thinking and the good comments below ot: A Church for Starving Artists: 10 Things to Toss
What do you think? What would you toss out and how can we better lift up the many people who make the congregation effective and vital instead of just lifting up priests and pastors?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor