Thursday, July 29, 2010

Talking to my bishop on the phone....

Bishops have long hours. I think I once saw a study done on working habits of clergy from just over a decade ago, and whereas regular parish clergy work 50-70 hours a week on average, bishops work around 100-110. Not an enviable job, really, and I can understand why so few individuals are called to that ministry from viewing the time committment alone.

All the more a blessing when I am able to have some time to talk to my pastor and to have his counsel and advice from time to time!

Yesterday was just such a moment. I am working through a period of discernment as a leader in parish ministry, and I hoed for some input from his, his experience and his direction. He was able to call me while enroute from one meeting to another, and we were able to talk.

The take-away from my conversation with him was a reminder that in the Kingdom of God our job as leaders is to work hard not to provide answers, but good and godly questions...and then watch and wait with the people of God for the response. We can't hurry the Spirit, and while God is more than happy to hear our opinion in how things should work out in our lives, the Divine Will is the aspiration and true center of our being. Letting go of my own agendas, my own anxieties and my own desires is hard enough. On top of that, to be called to lead others in that way is a double-down challenge!

Still, if we are going to have any authenticity as leaders of the church, that is just the path set before us-to settle in to discernment and wait on God's good time to reveal the path forward; to seek and embrace ALL the tools and support we can to address the tasks set before us; and, finally to render it all up God as a thank-offering.

In all things, the bishop reminded me, keep praying and asking questions of God, myself and my leadership. That defines a faithful servant-leader...sort of a more theologically grounded version of Ed Koch's famous "How'm I doing?" during his time as mayor of New York City. Continual check in with God, with God's people and in the way of the Holy Spirit is my goal and aim. May God grant me the serenity to seek that out, and the grace and strength to offer it up, when the time is right.....

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