Sunday, May 15, 2005

Jumping Into The Deep End

Braeden's been taking swim lessons from Jamie's School of Fish (shameless plug: Jamie's a neat lady, plus a former staff wife from NewLife works there, plus they've done an incredible job of teaching Braeden to swim). And one of the things that he's proudest of is when he jumps into the deep end of the pool and swims the length of it. (OK, he has help: Mr. Devon & Miss Jamie act like 'way stations' on their trip across - but still, he's not quite 4, and I'm his dad, and so... impressive!)

Watching him do this the last few weeks (I've been filling in for Shari as The Parent Who Goes To Swim Lessons while she has been recovering from the C-section) has reminded me a lot of my "professional" life.

At NewLife Community Church, we're about to jump into the "deep end" in a number of areas. What makes the "deep end" scarier is that it's the first time for me to jump into these areas, as well:

  • we've just hired a summer youth minister
  • we're clicking right along in the process of calling a full-time worship & youth pastor
  • we're planning a $250,000-$300,000 capital campaign for the fall

Any one of these would be a big deal - stuff them all into one year AND add in the birth of Collin Blake (and his subsequent health issues), and you've got The Deep Dish Pizza Pie of Overwhelmingness baking in the oven we call my brain.

Now, those of you who've known me a while know that I do have some experience:

  • being a youth minister (13 years part- and full-time)
  • working with worship leaders (hi, Robert, Stephen, Paul & Mark)

Which, as it goes, is good. But I've never supervised a youth minister... I was always on the other side of the desk, so to speak. I enter this summer praying that I can remember what is was like to be "the staff person"... that I can give direction without stifling creativity or imposing my personal (and seriously dated) view of "good" youth ministry on Jenn Shumaker. (You can pray for Jenn... heck, you can pray for me, too. I'm sure not going to stop you.)

As for working with worship leaders, I'd showed over time that I have alternated between way too much direction (my Chinese water torture of Robert to make the church @ hickory hollow's music cool yesterday if not before) and way too little (evidenced by the summer of 2001, where Stephen had to carry things pretty much by himself.) As well, all the paid staff members I've supervised (3 worship leaders & 2 associate pastors) were part-time... in one case (hi, Chris!) VERY part-time. I've never had the privilege/responsibility of being the senior pastor on a staff with a full-time person.

Moreover, the "hiring process" we used at
tc@hh ("process"... giggle, snort) was not a full-blown ministry search. Heck, it was barely a process. (To our credit, we were hiring/calling part-time worship leaders.) So this whole "search team" deal is brand new territory for me. (Thankfully, some of the search team have been on other search teams - including the one that called me to NewLife!)

As for pastoring a church through a capital campaign, I need to have a "C" tattooed on my forehead for "clueless". My nearly 8 years in the pastorate have included no major fundraising... and the only campaign I was involved in as a staff member occurred mostly before I came on staff. (And then blew up when our pastor resigned due to an adulterous affair - but that's a story for another post. And, yes, I realize I've been promising a lot of 'historical' posts - I'll get to 'em eventually.)

Anyway, I'm jumping off into the deep end. Which, of course, is exactly where God wants me to be... in a place where I have to trust Him more than my knowledge or experience.


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