One is in regards to visiting with people within our church community. The truth is... I just don't know how to do it. Or I don't do it well. I called two people this week - two elderly women, to be specific - and both of them gave me the brush off when I asked if I could stop by for a visit. And these are two people who I think actually like me and have been a regular part of the church community. I've had this happen on other occasions too, and, to be honest, I don't even know how to react. I mean, who doesn't want their pastor to come visit them? I always thought that's what pastors were supposed to do. I've also had occasions where after I visit someone, then they don't come around church much anymore. So the only conclusion I can come to is that I suck at visiting with people. Or else people just don't like me. It really does give me a bit of a complex sometimes.
Now, to be fair, I think some people tend to think that if the pastor wants to come visit them then they must have done something wrong or they think I'm only coming to ask them to do something. That's how things are in a program-driven paradigm. But as we try to switch to more of a people-development culture I think we need to change things.
What I would really like to do is get in the habit of visiting with the people and asking what I/we can do to help them in their spiritual journey. I would like to basically ask four questions:
(1) Where do you see God at work in your life right now?
(2) What would you like to see God do in your life over the next 6-12 months?
(3) How can I, or the church, help?
(4) How can I pray for you?
The thing is... I have no idea how to go about setting this up. I think before I get to the point of asking people questions of that depth I first need to have a better relationship with them. Which means I need to be able to visit with them period. And, again, I have no idea how to go about doing this if people don't want to talk to me. It's something that will take time.
I had a professor once who pastored a church and he had a sign-up sheet where people would sign up and once a week he and his wife would go to a different persons house for supper. I've thought about that, but I would be afraid no one would sign up to have us over; plus I'm kind of a picky eater (I'm sure I could deal with it). It also seems rather... programmed; and I really don't know how that would go over. So... I am at a total loss. Really. I'm thinking of just standing before the congregation and saying, "I would really like to visit with all of you in your home or mine, but I just don't know how to go about it. Can anyone help?" But I don't want to be a pity case. So if you have any suggestions...
Or, maybe it would be more realistic to not expect everyone to talk to me. Maybe somehow establish a culture where anyone everyone were able to do this. You know, not everyone would have to talk to me, but everyone just talked among their friends about these sorts of things. That would be great.
Or lately we've been thinking about having supper groups, and just having one question for each night. Not that all the conversation would be about that, but hopefully to just start some conversations down a better path than running down politicians or discussing the weather. I don't know...
The other thing I've been thinking about is a project coordinator. During our Sunday night discussions the son-in-law actually triggered this. I think small churches often think they need to add staff in the areas of a youth pastor or worship leader or something like that. I think what we need more is a project coordinator. Someone to organize service projects for our church and to help us carry them out. It could be anything from putting together a list of places to volunteer, to setting up a day of serving somewhere, to organizing a short-term mission trip even.
This is one more area where I really suck, and this wouldn't even need to be a paid staff member. But I think this could be a big help in the church.
So... that's what I've been thinking about mostly. That and whether it does any good for me to send everyone birthday cards. I actually CAN do that, and I kind of even like to, but I don't know that it really matters. That's probably what I'm best at: doing things that don't really matter much. ;)
Anyway, peace out; and in.