In the early 90s for a couple of years I was an unpaid “Executive Pastor” of a denominational church. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not really a great committee member. I just find the whole process frustrating. I think I am a pretty good team player as long as everyone knows that I own the team!
My management style is directive. My favorite response to an idea or initiative I have conceived? Yes Sir!
You can imagine then how frustrated I was meeting with the paid pastoral staff of the church week after week as we were attempting to retool and relocate the congregation. None of the paid staff, except for the senior pastor, wanted to retool or move. They would rather die than change, and they would rather talk than work. As I spent hours every week attempting to move them, I imagined my blood pressure going higher and higher.
At the same time I was reading a book about paradigm shifts. You know, the kind that happen when a new technology surpasses an older technology. Electric lights surpass gas and oil lamps. Horseless carriages surpass horse-drawn carriages. The internet surpasses the broadcast networks. You get the idea, right?
As I drove away from one of the staff meetings, fuming and nearly foaming at the mouth, I heard a whisper from the Holy Spirit. “It’s okay, Charlie, the time of the paid staff pastor is coming to an end.” This idea was somehow comforting to me (He is the Comforter after all ). Of course, it takes time for new ways of doing things to rise above the old ways. This is the way it is with the “normal” way of doing church. But I am getting a glimpse of a “new” way and what I am seeing makes me very happy. I am praying that I get to see the great awakening that will come from it.
In one of those mind-numbing staff meetings one of the pastors said to me, “Charlie, you are just an iconoclast!” He didn’t mean it as a compliment and I didn’t really know what he meant. So I had to go look it up:
1. a breaker or destroyer of images, especially those set up for religious veneration.
2. a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition.
Okay, he had me. That’s what I have been doing my entire adult life, starting in high school and continuing to this day. I am always asking the Dr. Phil question, “How’s that working for you!” I am also approaching the mission of the church with the Cable Guy mantra, “Git ‘r done.” I have a fundamental assumption, we have to change what we are doing if we are going to get different results. And different results are what we need to fulfill the mission of Jesus.