One of the perks of being a pastor is getting to hang out with and relate to all of you. I certainly am looking forward to more and more opportunities to do so. It is especially fun in a congregation like FLC that is made up of people of different ages, viagra life experiences, case faith stories, vocations, cultural backgrounds and, of course, personalities and passions.
The work of getting to know each other the past eight months has been exciting as well as a bit daunting for all of us. It takes work and it takes courage– putting on our best, putting ourselves out there, risking saying too much or too little, or worse, the wrong thing entirely. We all want to please one another. We want to listen to each other and to be open to our differing feelings and opinions.
We might be struggling to ask for help when needed—you may, I may. It can be hard to be vulnerable when we are still learning to trust each other.
On the other hand, it is interesting and fun to learn more about each other, to figure each other out. We are all learning about each other, and about FLC as it is and as it has been when we share stories and experiences (and our children).
Most importantly we get to participate in a real church family life in which we all share our deep love for Jesus Christ. We get to demonstrate, unstintingly, this love in the care and compassion we share for one another and the community around us.
As a pastor (and as a sometime pastor’s kid) I have always valued and appreciated close friendships with parishioners. It makes sense that we become friends with one another. To not be close would mean we were not being loving or compassionate, or not letting others love and care for us.
At the same time there are differences that distinguish the pastor-parishioner friendship. As your pastors we are your leaders. My job and my work is not just to work with you, but to make sure that we are functioning, that we focus on our mission. I get to use my particular education, skills and experience to preach, teach, plan and lead worship, to care for you as a shepherd. There are boundaries set in that relationship that are important to how we function as pastors.
This month our family will be moving into the beautiful new parsonage that FLC has been working on for a long time. On March 15 we will all get the chance to celebrate together with a tour of both houses and a blessing. After we move, our own family will be physically closer to the church building and this will have many advantages including ease of access, and opportunities for casual socializing and for hospitality. I expect challenges will come up as well, including the difficulty of separating work time from home time and others that we will learn about.
The new parsonage is a sign of our relationship of closeness and trust, of our family bonds, of your care for us. It is also a reminder, a traditional reminder, of the formal specialness of the relationship between pastors and the people they serve.
As we explore our relationship, I thank you all for all your love and support. I am very happy to be one of your pastors.