23 March 2009

Lenten Journal: One Body, Many Gifts

I think I realized what was going on with me over the last week.  In proceeding with the daily devotions as I had been doing, I was essentially trying to create a short sermon out of whole cloth.  




It's like running a marathon every day.  No one can do it.  Well, no one except Dean Kazarnes, and he's just effing crazy.  

I can't do that.  So I won't.  I'll still be reading the daily lectionary - that's been a helpful practice I've let slide over the past few months.  But from here on out I'll only reflect on the scriptures if I have something worth sharing without busting my hump for two hours every night getting it right.  With two girls under the age of three in the house, I can't be spending that much time on the lappy; I need sleep.

But I will keep a Lenten journal, along the lines of what Milton is doing over at Don't Eat Alone.  What I see that's worth sharing, I'll share, even if it has nothing in particular to do with the appointed scripture for the day.

Tonight I spent a few hours meeting with the Lutheran Campus Ministry Board.  This is the group of students and community members charged with oversight and vision for Lutheran Campus Ministry.  We have been trying to move more and more purposefully from a "reporting" board to a "ministry board" that actually carries out tasks rather than just rubber-stamping whatever I happen to send down the chute.  Tonight I think I saw the first steps toward that re-definition taking place, when no one had anything to report for any of our ministry teams.  

Kind of a curious way to see progress, but it makes sense if you think about it.  In many congregations and campus ministries, the pastor is the convener, director and definer of every group and ministry that falls under the congregation's purview.  "The Decider," if you will.  I've been trying to do that for over a year now, with very little success involving anyone beyond the people I've asked directly.  In the process of trying to make things happen myself, I've shortchanged other things:  sermons, reading, continuing education, time for reflection, prayer, and a number of other responsibilities and ministries that belong to me alone.  Everything has suffered because I've been trying to do everything.  And that needs to change.

What I saw tonight tells me it can change.  I watched our very capable Board President move the meeting along briskly, refocusing the group when we moved off topic and keeping us on task.  And as I watched her do this, I realized that others have these gifts, too; and they should be encouraged to put them to good use.  Without delegation of ministry items, we are going to fall apart, and quickly, too.

I've known this intellectually for a long time, of course, but I think that knowledge embedded itself in me tonight.  I am NOT a trustworthy scheduler or a reliable convener and director of ministries.  I can't get bogged down in the nuts-and-bolts of everything that happens under the umbrella of campus ministry, because it will drive me to distraction and the ministry I provide will be like the Platte River in my beloved Nebraska - a mile wide and an inch deep.  

I'm an aesthete at heart; a poet; an artist; a creative worship leader who wants to observe, reflect and creatively report on what God is up to in the world.  But to minister well in these areas, I need to help others do ministry, even if it means things falling through the cracks because I didn't do it myself.  The only way artists can work is when there are electricians to keep the lights on and accountants to handle the money - and as you've probably heard, artists are notoriously prone to bad management.  I don't want that to happen here.  So it's time to find ways to spread the ministry among others before I spread myself too thin.

The good news?  There are incredibly gifted people here, talented, driven folks who blow me away with what they can do.  I've seen it in our speakers for worship this Lent, and I'm looking forward to setting more of our student community "under the yoke" and stepping back to watch them do incredible things.  An aesthete is one who seeks beauty - I need to seek the beauty of capable people for a while, so that our entire ministry can grow as a result.  

1 comment:

  1. "artists are notoriously prone to bad management"... uh yeah we are!

    good for you... to grow and bend. i've enjoyed the devos this lent. as your friend i'm glad you gave up trying to be superman... cuz it makes the rest of us look like slackers... and more seriously, it isn't healthy. glad you're trusting your gifts and seeking theirs!