Can We Go Now? (Yes, but be careful)

By Rev. Steve Zimmerman

While serving as an interim pastor the past two years, this role has given me many opportunities. I have had the privilege getting the church to think of new ways of doing things so that they may be open to the new pastor when they come to serve. Another objective of mine is to get some new voices from church members to broaden the conversation of how to do church. My goal has always been to remind them that it is their church, and they have a bright future together even in this transition time.

But when the pandemic came last year, our world got turned upside down! Decisions that were made in the old traditional way through such methods as committees gave way to “Pastor Steve, what do you think we need to do?” For a few weeks, I must confess, that was about the only way we could have done church. The temptation of going alone at the top was strong with the orders handled down to church members to follow my lead. But as the year dragged on, I was careful to still get buy-in from the groups. You see they needed pastoral guidance but not a spiritual dictator.

Now I am not saying that Church was not due for an overhaul in how we have done things for years upon years. We just need to be mindful, though, not to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. A healthy balance between minister and laity is still needed now in our post-pandemic, post-modern era as it was in the “old days”.

As we slowly distance ourselves from the pandemic’s effects, don’t let the rush of the immediate cure to solve your church problems think that it will be effective in the new order of church ministry. The adage is still true – “When you are one step ahead of the people, you are still their leader. When you are three steps ahead of them, you become a martyr!”

Minister well!

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