WARNING: Contents Under Pressure

1 Comment » Written on January 18th, 2013     
Filed under: Better Together, Leadership, Local Church
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Today’s post is written by Jo Anne Taylor, Music and Worship Pastor at Bethlehem Covenant Church, Minneapolis, MN.

We have barely made it through Christmas, but planning for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter is already underway. Meanwhile, there’s a plumbing leak (that no one can locate) pouring water into the child care center downstairs, the photocopier we bought less than a year ago is inoperable again, and there aren’t enough volunteers to fill all the volunteer assignments for this weekend. The flu outbreak has us rethinking the way we greet one another. No one can find the projector for the contemporary worship, and no one can remember if the person who was supposed to run it was ever actually asked to do so. A member of the congregation becomes ill after arriving at church, and the ambulance arrives minutes before worship is to begin, blocking the entrance to the building.

Just a typical Sunday at XYZ Covenant Church in Your Town, USA, right? One emergency after another interrupts our plans. The pressure becomes intense for pastors and congregational leaders who find themselves bouncing from one crisis to the next, barely catching a breath in between.

The pressure builds as we are faced not only with problems we could avoid if we planned better, but real catastrophes like death and sickness and job loss and power outages and other events beyond our control. We become so accustomed to operating in “crisis mode” that we forget this might not be what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Abide in me.”

Our English word “crisis” comes from the Greek word that means “judgment” or “decision.” A true crisis is a turning point, a moment of decision. The decisions we make may be life-or-death, or they may have less dire consequences. Some decisions must be made on the spur of the moment, while others can be pondered and made at leisure. How we react to these crises tells the world a great deal about our faith and our willingness to practice what we preach: that God loves us, that we belong to Him, and grace abounds.

Does your church have a plan for dealing with unavoidable emergencies when they arise? How do your leaders and pastors avoid the burnout that so often accompanies living in crisis mode? What can you do to support your church’s leaders through the stress that comes with a true crisis?

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