Thursday, July 21, 2011

For Such a Time As This?

If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this. Esther 4:13-14 (The Message)

I'm struggling with my role at BTUMC, and what God is calling me to do there.

Months ago, I promised myself and God that I would never willingly undermine or jeopardize Mac's pastoral authority. I am very aware that I am on his territory, so to speak, and I want to respect that. Thus far, I have experienced Mac as a very permission-giving pastor. He let me preach in January (without even knowing much about me), and once we joined BTUMC, he put me on the Church Council, which is the governing board for the congregation. We have it set up so that everyone on Church Council is also on the Finance Committee, so I'm on both, too.

I've gotten increasingly involved as a result...first there was the Finance Chair asking me to begin the Endowment Committee/Fund, then there was the capital campaign...and I'm also occasionally serving as the liturgist at the 8:15 service (every three months or so) and occasionally preaching at the Wednesday night service (again, every two or three months). I will probably be leading a small group this fall. With the exception of my January preaching gig and the healing service that I did while he was out of town, Mac has not asked me to specifically do anything; he has just essentially made room for me to utilize my gifts, and the rest has happened as a result of either my initiative or that of someone else.

Mac's exact words to me last December (when he told me that he had put me on the Church Council) was, "you can be as involved or not as you want. It's up to you." And so, I've gotten fairly involved, with his blessing, and I have seen no evidence that my current level of involvement bothers him. So, keep all that background information in mind, OK?

As I've mentioned before, BT is in a major major financial crunch. There's a lot of anxiety, a lot of fear, and a lot of differing opinions, including a difference of opinions between Mac and some of the key leaders. As usual, this situation did not happen overnight, and has been several years in the making. Part of it is about stewardship, but that's not everything. It's also about vision, and whether or not people have "bought into"/agree with the vision that Mac and the leaders have discerned.

Here's the thing: while I don't have any short-term solutions, I do have opinions about the root cause of the lack of giving. And I have opinions on what our first steps should be to address that root cause. A lot of my opinions fall in the vision/spirituality area. I haven't shared these opinions with anyone because I'm wondering if I should, if my doing so would threaten Mac's pastoral authority, or if God is calling me to speak a prophetic word to BT.

I believe that I am here at BT, at this time in my life and in the life of the congregation for a reason. I have been praying for the congregation and for Mac for months, and feel that my prayers have made a difference. However, I have this niggling feeling from God that I need to use my voice...but I want to do so in a way that will not come back to bite Mac or jeopardize my relationship with him. As far as I'm concerned, the whole congregation can come at me with tar and feathers, but I don't want to do anything to hurt or anger Mac.

And yes, I probably will call Mac in the next few days and talk to him about this...but I wanted to hear your opinions, too. What do you think?


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Terri said...

Talk to Mac. Trust his voice. It is seldom useful to micromanage the leadership, which is what the financial comitte chair is suggesting, and therefore potentially giving them the impression that they are incompetent or untrustworthy worthy. It is usually better to make room for leaders to rise to the occasiion and do the right thing. U giving them support and space.