Thursday, February 28, 2008
As of Saturday I will have been at New Church (I really must come up with a blog name for it) five months. In many ways, things are going very, very well. By which I mean, They like me! They really like me! So, ok, that's out of the way.
But I am experiencing a bit of what the former moderator of the session described as a kind of malaise, or low level depression... not in myself, but in the session. I don't think there's a lot of trust inherent in that body. They seem to feel that they've been burned (this is all on intuition, mind you, and not at all on evidence). I know that there were certain tensions with the former pastor (and that's pretty normal). But I know that in very specific ways my behavior in the church is quite different, in ways that should be helpful, I think.
I went into a recent meeting armed with the knowledge that at least one member of the session doesn't like the leadership development I do with them (a passage of scripture, some questions for reflection, a passage from our constitution). I know this because I enlisted a bunch of members of the congregation to get feedback for me on "How's it going." Then, in the course of the leadership development that night (organized around the theme, if you were coming into this community today to found a church, what particular needs in the community would you be seeking to respond to?), I learned something startling about one session member. This individual is not sure church is worth it, is not sure she/he would step into a church again except for the need of the spouse to be involved.
I left somewhat stumped. what do I do with this information, exactly? Do I give it time, assuming it is part of a normal cycle of faith growing-pains? (The person said he/she has experienced a kind of cycle of engagement and distance in the past.) And if this is the session... granted, just one person out of nine. But still...
That said, this person is an articulate, highly intelligent, very funny (in an entirely underplayed way) addition to any church gathering, leadership or not. This may be simply be fatigue and burnout. Time and trust may win the day.
Add to all this: 18 people at the Lenten series last night. Down from 35 the first week. Ouch.
So I guess I got me the "I-got-a-call-but-turns-out-I-have-to-work-with-real-human-beings" blues.