If you divided up the people in your congregation/organization, how many would
be on The Apron List and how many would be on The Bib List? The numbers could determine the level of exhaustion felt by your pastor.
- Lots of People Wearing Aprons = A Culture of Service
- Lots of People Wearing Bibs = A Culture of Being Served
This post is chock-full of old news. But it bears repeating.
All of us have to wear bibs occasionally: when we are babies, when we are sick, when we are eating lobster. But many of our congregations are filled with people who almost always wear the proverbial bib. This is regrettable.
Maybe we’ve made the mistake of teaching our people that church is an organization comprised mostly of victims, the needy, and the entitled. (Where is the resurrection if we are stuck in those narratives?)
Maybe we’ve become so pastor-centric that nobody knows how to do anything but the person with the seminary degree – and the pastor has failed to realize that this is not effective leadership.
Maybe we have people who have served faithfully for decades in particular positions, but it’s more about them (the power!) than a call to service (the dirty work!)
Leadership is the single best predictor for success in ministry. Pastors who know how to equip others for leadership will excel.
To be fair, many gifted pastors serve people who erroneously assume that it’s the pastor’s job to be the professional Christian. That’s what we pay her for.
In wealthy communities, where people are used to hiring out everything from their housekeeping to their lawn mowing to their dog walking, church staff are often considered spiritual vendors. We pay the pastor to marry, baptize and bury, to deliver pastoral care and a decent sermon. They work for us.
Adventures in missing the point.
In all kinds of communities, there is a different kind of assumption that it’s
The Pastors Job to do all the preaching, teaching, praying, visiting, and caring. This kind of thinking will not only close down your church fairly quickly, but it’s not even Biblical according to this simple job description.
Great communities are filled with more people who wear aprons. Maybe the aprons are real and maybe they are figurative. I’m thinking about the homebound lady who phones other homebound parishioners for a daily check-in. I’m thinking about the mom who helps another mom when one of the kids has a meltdown in Target. I’m thinking about the person who naturally walks the church guest down the hall to the nursery or the person who reflexively wipes off the tables after a spill.
I actually wrote about this three years ago. But now more than ever, we need leaders who know how to train others to lead – not as a grab for “power” but for an expression of gratitude.
Image is from Mad Men. Halloween hint: Don’t dress like a big baby for Halloween. It’s sad.