Thursday, February 21, 2008

Beyond Day to Day: Visioning

Lately I've been struggling with what I expect is a typical pastoral dilemma. There are so many things I think about us doing together as a congregation long term, so many visions I have, so many things that float through my mind as possibilities for our direction together. We struggle with lots of typical issues, but we also have lots of potential for growth, discipleship, social change, etc...

But, when it comes down to it, I spend so much of my week just taking care of the 'regular business' of being a pastor. Writing a sermon. Preparing for the worship service. Leading the worship service. Meetings. Sunday School. Seasonal plans. Meetings. Statistical tables. Visitation. Meetings. District/Conference obligations. Planning baptisms, weddings, funerals. Even occasionally reading a great book about things I'd like to be doing in my congregation.

How do you move beyond the things that just have to get done every week to carve out time for thinking on a grander scheme? I relate to my brother's recent post about the plans we make with our time and what we actually end up doing, except without the cute kid to make my lack of action seem quite so valuable.

How do you make time for going beyond the day to day life of the church? Do you think it is necessary to have a 'bigger picture' plan in ministry? Maybe if what I was involved in doing day to day seemed more like really being in ministry, really responding to God's call on my life, and less, sometimes, like checking boxes of things to do that aren't essentially of critical importance, maybe then I would think living day to day was all we needed to do. After all, I'm pretty sure Jesus said something about not worrying about tomorrow so much.

On the other hand (and there is always the other hand, isn't there?) - this Lent we've been using songs from the musical The Lion King each week to talk about Jesus' journey to the cross. Up this week? "Hakuna Matata." "No worries." I find myself writing a sermon that contrasts the motto "hakuna matata" with a woman ready to receive living water. The characters in The Lion King use their claim of "no worries" to run away from responsibility. Jesus tells us in this passage, though, that true life-sustaining food is found in "do[ing] the will of [God] who sent me and [completing God's] work." Not worrying doesn't mean not doing either.

How do we find balance? How do you handle the day to day necessities of ministry (which, to clarify, can be extremely rewarding in themselves) with your hopes for the future?

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