Awake in church

Some are concerned for me because I embarrassed myself by falling asleep during the sermon in church on Sunday morning.  When I  told my health care practitioner about this she did not give me a  pill. Instead she gave me simple advice.  She said a person as old as I am must spend more hours in bed and she gave me permission to drink coffee. 

So I slept longer on Saturday night and drank coffee on Sunday morning.  I stayed wide awake during the whole Sunday morning service and was inspired by a well thought out and well delivered sermon on the biblical and Anabaptist view of the relationship of the church and state.

We were kept in session for ten minutes after the benediction to receive a proposal from the church chair and the lead pastor on behalf of the church board.  The proposal is for the church to employ an administrative pastor.  This will relieve the lead pastor of attending to much detail so he can give more attention to preaching and teaching.The members will discuss this at the next members meeting.

This reminded me of past connections with a large, growing church. Soon after we became members, the pastor of the Bahia Vista Mennonite Church recruited my wife, Rhoda, to be an office secretary.  She protested that she was a slow typist, but that didn’t concern him.  He explained that he wanted someone who had experience as a pastor’s wife because she would likely know how a church is run, and she could keep confidences. 

Her first assignment, as I recall, was to be a receptionist. Soon the pastor wanted her to be directly accountable to him and  to relieve him of certain administrative responsibilities.  Though she never had the title and was never ordained, she did the work of an administrative pastor. After the pastor who recruited her left BVM, she continued to have significant administrative roles in the church  until she retired.

There is more history for me to recall. Later, the church had a pastor who knew from the beginning that he had little administrative gift.  The church board of which Rhoda was a part knew that to be true.  The board saw the administrative gift in another member of the pastoral team and asked him to draw up a job description for a pastoral minister for them to take to the members for their approval.

The bylaws required that this innovation have the approval of a super majority of the members. Unfortunately, a vocal minority denied this proposal.  In my mind. the minority was too powerful, and robbed the BVM Church of effective, visionary leadership which threw the leadership and the church into turmoil.   

I have not had enough time with CMC to be able to know it well, but I trust that this proposal for a pastor-administrator will be given serious consideration, and will be approved.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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