2/18/2007 09:22:00 pm

You're Not as Big as You Think You Are

Posted by Unknown |

I was sitting in Staff Meeting today and we were getting told by one of the Wardens about the process for appointing a new minister. Basically what happens is the 5 nominators who were elected by the church, go and meet with 5 nominators from the diocese. The people from our church are meeting with the Parish Council in a few weeks, and I think they're working closely with the Wardens.

Anyway, the Warden told us, that the nominators would probably want to talk to us staff members too. At least talk to the Assistant Minister.

It was around then that I started wondering "How important are we in this process?" Basically, the Anglican system is set up so the the Senior Minister has almost all the power. He can delegate that power if he wants, and he does, to the Wardens, to the Parish Council, to the Staff, but in the end the buck stops with him.

When a Senior Minister leaves all the power reverts back to the Wardens. At least responsibility goes to them and the people in town (Bishops and stuff). In Anglican law, as far as I can tell (though I haven't done much research) the Staff aren't really factored in at all.

So I'm sitting there in Staff meeting wondering how important I am and it occurs to me that actually I'm not. All this power going to the people of the church, not the employees of the church, puts us in our place. We're not really the ones running the show. Maybe in the day to day, we run things, but in the end I am just a servant of the people. I'm employed by the people, I'm payed by the people, I work for the people.

At first, when I realised this I was a little bit miffed. In the old days it probably wouldn't have bothered me at all. But the past few months I've been groomed as "Senior Staff"*. I've been told I'm a leader in the Church. The Senior Minister, the Assistant Minister and I, we were the Big Three.

But now the Big One is going and I'm not so big anymore.

I thought some more though, and this is the appropriate arrangement. I am just a servant of the Church, and of this Church in particular. I maybe a leader, but only with the authority given to me by the people who are not employed by the church. The youth ministry, it's not my ministry, it's the church's. The new minster, he may be my boss, but he's much more the Church's minster. If I'm consulted, that's nice. But it's not my right, and it's not a requirement.

I guess this just means that I should be thankful for the input I get and the rest of the time I can get on with serving the church.

*Let me just say I'm not sure why anyone would ever consider me mature or important enough to be called "Senior" but hey, you take the title you're given.