In the Meantime,
I should tell you about my work week, the stuff that happens between Sundays.
This one is busier than usual but we hold a (virtual) staff meeting every Monday, followed by a worship planning meeting. This week I also met with the chair of the LDC on Monday to bring me up to date on the process of recruiting folks for leadership roles this coming year. By 4 pm I was home and online at a virtual minister’s retreat that has two hour meetings every morning through Friday this week, along with three afternoon meetings.
Tuesday I had a morning retreat session, and then I mocked up the Order of Worship which then got sent to Katie and Marci and Blake and the assigned Worship Associate. Wednesday and Thursday were the afternoon retreat meetings. Friday is retreat time and sermon time. Saturday I will be at the VUU campus to collect your flowers for Sunday’s service. Altogether I have 24 hours of scheduled meetings this week.
There are monthly meetings like the Board, the Worship Associates, Connections Circle Leaders, Lay Pastoral Care Associates, and the local Interfaith Clergy Group, but also a search committee for my Michigan Urban League which is choosing a new leader.
Between those meetings I meet with our Administrator Lora Gustafson, spend time with Faith Formation Director Marci Beaudoin, I write my message for the week and the other portions of worship, this weekly column, and answer email of course. I’ve got plenty to do.
And it is tempting to think that doing all this is what matters. It is not. They are just means to what matters. Forgetting that is what brings on cynicism and burnout. “For God so loved the world, that he did not create committees,” sometimes comes to mind. Even I know, though, that the means affect the ends.
Which brings me to my point. VUU is among the better places I have known when it comes to keeping ‘eyes on the prize.’ After forty years of board meetings, yours is far and away the best board culture I have known. They are kind, they are committed, they care about each other and the institution. For many years I dreaded board meetings, fearing rancor between members, turf wars, hand wringing contests, and pile-ons. None of that has happened here. Sure, credit goes to these folks in particular – Deeanne, Debi, Mary, Kevin, Pam, Linda and Elizabeth – but I see it in those other meetings as well. You should be proud of your leadership. But let me go one step further. Join them. If asked, say yes, because you will be rewarded with both ‘work that is real’ as Marge Piercy wrote, and friends who will stick. – FW-