Comings and Goings

We are coming up 10 years at the same church shortly (if you don’t count getting voted out after the first 6 months… but that’s another story) and it’s review time.

A lot happens in 10 years and a lot changes between the age of 45 and 55 – more than I could have imagined.

In a sense QBC was our first real tilt at leading an established church community. We had a couple of years at Lesmurdie Baptist when I moved from the youth pastor to team leader role, but we were only 14 months in when the sense of calling to plant a church threw things up in the air. So we didn’t really settle into a familiar and established mode of operation there. And Upstream was a missionary team – a whole different animal to your garden variety Baptist church. So this has been a fairly new experience and one that we have kinda grown with and learnt on the job.

The beauty of doing something like this in your mid 40s is that you know who you are and what you can bring. You also know who you aren’t and when you don’t expect to be all things to all people you don’t wear yourself out. You still disappoint people who hold a more GP view of what a pastor is, but part of getting older is being ok with disappointing people.

At this stage we have no plans to move on anywhere. For that matter there are no other ‘offers’ on the table. But even if there were it would take a crowbar and dynamite to move us from where we live in Yanchep. I haven’t ever felt a sense of being so deeply rooted in a place as I have here. I think I’ll leave here in a box – but hopefully not too soon.

Right now my own reflections find me hovering between ‘these will be your best years of leadership‘ and ‘get out of the way so younger people can step up.’ I don’t think that’s necessarily an either / or scenario, but I’m both wary of giving up aspects of leadership that I should retain, while also conscious that for others to keep moving I have to create space.

If the next 10 years are to be fruitful though it will be as we help those around us continue to develop and as we become less conspicuous. In most professional roles to be in your mid 50’s is to have reached a use by date – however with ministry its not so simple. In fact in ministry there is stuff that you can ‘bring’ in your 50’s that you couldn’t in your 40’s and I suspect it will be the same with the 60’s and 70’s.

I realise that to some it sounds absurd to consider leading two churches on a two day / week paid role, while running a business in the other 3 days, but it works for us and has done for some time. It means some stuff doesn’t get done – or it takes longer to get done – which can be frustrating, but the gain is that I am not locked in ‘church world’, but rather get to live in business / tradie world for at least half my time. I have no aspirations to re-enter a full time paid role, although there are times when the ‘stuff to do’ just outweighs the hours in the week.

When people ask me what I do around church its 3 simple things – lead, preach, meet with blokes (as well as some essential admin, social media and communication tasks). It means I don’t do other stuff – and it either gets picked up by other people – or doesn’t get done. Lately the amount of bureaucratic red tape we have had to wade thru has just about brought me undone – quite literally.  I have actually considered pulling out of paid pastoring because of the admin and red tape that dogs us all. But then I figure I will just do the same stuff anyway and won’t be able to avoid it.

So – for now it seems we will continue on in a similar role but with a view to helping others step up more into core leadership tasks and who knows maybe in another 5-10 years we will be in a place where we can consider church planting yet again 🙂

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