Friday, August 29, 2008

Channeling the Questing Parson ...

... and She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

"Pastor, we need to have a heart-to-heart talk," said Aggie, the pianist for Sunday morning worship. "You may have noticed that Elmer and I were not in church on Sunday. That's because we were out looking for a new church. I don't like the changes you've made in the morning service. I don't like playing those new songs like "This is the Day" and "His Name is Wonderful." I don't like that you've asked us to learn new songs like "In Times Like These." We never sing the old songs out of the new hymnal anymore.

"And I certainly don't like your preaching. You make the Scriptures too modern and you certainly don't interpret Scripture like Jesus would have. Besides that, you get out from behind the pulpit and move around the congregation. Pastor Wilbur never did that! He stayed put.

"And to tell us that since Children's Church program has been let go because the teacher has done it for years and wants a break, you want folks to donate school totes and coloring books and crayons! Let them kids sit up and pay attention! Better yet, work to find another Children's Church teacher. Those kids are too distracting to stay in church and they bother the older members anyway.

"And don't get me started about using that newfangled screen and hanging movie projector. Everyone needs to learn how to read the music and that can't happen when the words are the only things on the screen!"

"I like being up on that podium with the organist and you and the Worship Leader, but I'm not going to put up with these changes. Elmer may be your Lay Leader, but he doesn't like any of it either. I think we'll be looking for another church."

Pastor Net leaned back in her chair and quickly asked herself, "What would the Questing Parson do?" And it came to her.

"Well, Aggie," said Pastor Net, "I'm not going to stand in your way if you and Elmer feel called to find another church. Might I suggest a small, dying church whose congregation has never wanted to change. Since they will be few in number, they would appreciate your gift of music because they cannot afford a paid pianist. And they will tell you how thankful they are to have and just how wonderful you are. Since they'll be older, they'll want to sing all the old songs at the slower tempo you're so fond of playing. And since they know they're dying, they will not want to be joyful, but will be sad, serious and somber. After all, they're going be meeting Jesus sooner than later.

"Better yet, you and Elmer can give them palliative care until they close the church. And when the last one's gone, you can move on to another church with like-minded folks who don't want to change because they're only in it for themselves and content to live in the past."

Aggie puffed herself up like a frazzled goose and spun around on her heel and out the door.

Grayhaired Secretary leaned back in her desk chair, looked into Pastor Net's office and pumped her fist up and down in the air.

(I was praying about how I could remove Elmer from his LL position. He has a small, narrow mind and it IS all about him and Aggie. He's killed or been run out of every Sunday School Class he's been involved in because he hogs the conversation or turns it to himself. And I didn't have the heart to tell Aggie her services would be curtailed because we're starting a Worship Team with the blessing of the Organist!)


Tom Jackson said...

Are you doing any proactive grapevine management? This sounds good from your viewpoint, but an entirely different version will probably start making the rounds soon.

net said...

Yeah. I have the blessings of the Church Council and 2/3rds of the congregation.

A bunch of Elmer and Aggie's friends became disgruntled a year ago and left the church. They all headed over to my Hubby's church across town - which IS an older congregation and IS dying ("We just got our stained glass windows repaired! Come see our stained glass windows!" They have no children, no young adults, no middle agers, no life, no spirit (Poor Hubby!)

Elmer has hinted several times that he thinks the two churches should merge. Aggie, on the other hand, said she knows why the DS sent a clergy couple to Small Town - and that's to merge the two churches.

Elmer is abrasive and is very confrontational because he thinks his way of doing things is right and the best way. My first Church Council meeting, he chewed out the Treasurer because he didn't think the financial report was detailed enough (It was just fine and very understandable). For this new Young Adult Class he is trying to start, he is using the old Seredipity materials from the 70s, saying, "It worked then; it should work now." I tried to explin to him that that is not always the case, but he argued with me and later blamed me for not coming up with a "better" idea.

It's a tough position to be in, for sure. But I'm being as proactive as I can be.

Back to School Blogger said...

Oh my! While I was reading this post I thought I was reading a drama designed around the goings on of my former church. I attend 'Little Methodist Church Dieing in the Growing Town' for about 5 years. Whenever anyone introduced new ideas, modern ideas, or just ideas in general, old and young members alike started screaming 'We've never done it like that before' or 'We don't like that'. A half year ago the church split - The stubborn dieing half stayed and waited for their next victim...errrr, I mean, student pastor and the other half left with the pastor and started a new church. I'm not saying it is 'Perfect New Little Church in the Growing Town', but ideas are welcomed!

Much Hope and Love to Pastor Net!

Singing Owl said...

Blessings in disguise, I'll warrant. :-)