Monday, May 25, 2009

To lead and to care

Often finding a balance in ministry is a challenge.  Any pastor can tell you that.  If they deny it, either they're lying, or they're Jesus...but I think even Jesus had to try and find the balance.  So, basically, if they deny it, they're lying.  

Anyway, lately I've been struggling to offer pastoral care and to lead the congregation.  With a congregation of 150 it makes sense for me to do regular visitation.  I do have a retired minister who is a part of the congregation who is a tremendous blessing and visits our homebound regularly.  But even still, I generally visit anyone who is hospitalized or in a rehab center and have tried to make it at least once (in the last 10 months) to see each of our homebound.  

But lately I have felt more of a strain in doing visitation.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy visitation.  Pastoral care is one of my strengths and it's easy and natural for me.  The rub is that there is also a lot of other work to be done.  There are leaders to be trained, studies to be done, administration to do, and of course the weekly sermon that always gets less time than I would like.  And as I look ahead to growing our congregation, pastoral care will not be as do-able.  

With a congregation of 150, the expectation is not just that I will visit anyone and everyone in the hospital, but also that I will be at every church event and program.  But if we think ahead to a congregation of 300 or 500 or more, there is no way I could do such a thing.  

So, the question becomes how do I care for my congregation (the size it is) in ways that are appropriate and necessary while at the same time not creating bad habits and standards that won't hold up in the future?  (for the record, I do not have an answer yet, so if you have input or wisdom, feel free to chime in).  

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