How does the pastor make an accounting of her work to her congregation? While some might see this as just one more administrative obligation to be gotten out of the way, our questioner this week sees it as a true leadership opportunity. She would like some help in thinking through how better to shape this report. Here is her question:
In my denomination, I make a pastor's report monthly to our church governing board. I've heard many after being a member of this group prior to seminary. It always seems a bit like "justifying" the time spent during the last month. I have divided up my report in areas: church, pastoral care, community, administration, presbytery, and self care. Essentially much of the report does not change from month to month...the worship prep...sermon prep...newsletter...monthly ministerial meeting...etc. Of course, Advent and Lent planning occur at appropriate times and there are months when pastoral care issues are above normal (note: I do not list people or number of calls made).
I do give a verbal report and the last two months have expanded it to begin including some of the new ideas on church from Phyllis Tickle and Carol Howard Merritt.
Any ideas on how to not make this seem like a "report card"? I would love to begin to shift this into something much more constructive and life-giving (for all).
Thanks for your wisdom.
I find that lay folks really don't have a clue to what we do and the kinds of energies we use. Most folks see time as the primary coin of the realm since it is for them in the secular world. At the same time it falls on us to understand our vocation well enough to explain it to them.
When I could describe a service taking the same amount of energy as teaching a day of school--or that writing a sermon took as much energy as running 10 K race , they began to understand. And when they recognized that funeral planning took whatever energy it took it began to understood.
If you chart a typical day for them, most of them will get the idea that you are doing your job. There will always be those who think that they are your boss. Try your hardest to help them realize that God is your boss--that you answer to God first and they may begin to understand you work with different standards. At the same time you can't be a slacker, they have to trust you will be there when they need you. The longer you are there, the less it will be a problem.
And Ruth, who blogs at Sunday's Coming!, writes:
I wonder whether there’s some way to make this more about the work of the church and less about you and your time?
I once tried dividing up a group’s agenda according to the 5 marks of mission ( tell, teach, tend, treasure & transform: see http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/mission/fivemarks.cfm for more detail) : so that it was clearer that what we were doing was not just ‘stuff’ but was part of our desire to join in with God’s mission.
Is there some way of doing something like that? If you talk about the mission of the church you will of course talk about what you have been doing, but the focus is less on your time and more on God’s work.
What about others of you? Have you found constructive ways to make your report less like a report card and more vision-setting and missional? Please do share in the comments.
We are low on questions in the queue, so if you've been pondering a problem or a question that you'd like the matriarchs to address, now would be a great time to send it in. Email us at askthematriarch[at]gmail[dot]com.