Friday, February 25, 2011

Your Pastor Is Not A Manager

This one seems to be one of the primary misunderstandings within the dying mainline churches.

Yeah, you've got a building, and the roof leaks and the HVAC system works slightly less than half of the time.  You've got a preschool that you started up ten years ago to "bring in the families," and though it hasn't done that, it's a lucrative sideline with multiple staff.  You've got a church secretary who's been there through four different pastors and knows exactly how everything needs to be done, and a choir director who holds grudges, and a bright-eyed young seminary intern eager to teach liberation theology to a restive class of seventh graders.

These things and these people need to be managed.

But organizational management is not the primary function of a pastor.  The calling to ministry isn't a calling to maintain infrastructure and fuss over budgets and organize staff meetings.  A good pastor is aware of those things, and handles those things with grace and balance, true.    If your pastor is incompetent at managing people and things and time, things will not go well.   It's a good skillset to be looking for in any human being.

It just isn't the central component of the calling.  The basic functioning of a congregation's organizational systems is, at least in my neck of the Reformed tradition woods, something that is more broadly distributed among lay leadership.   Finances and personnel and building maintenance should be handled by people who have developed those gifts in their vocations.