This week I became something I haven’t been in a long, long time.
A part-time pastor.
Since we started Evergreen, I’ve been full-time. I embraced the idea of bi-vocationalism if necessary to get the community off the ground, but always counted myself lucky that I was able to devote my energies full-time to our community.
So what’s changed?
Over the last couple of years some significant things have happened. One, i’ve developed a good side income that more than pays the bills with a minimal amount of energy. It’s truly been a blessing- and no, I won’t tell you my secrets
Two, I’ve emerged from a period of significant burn out, ready to pry my white knuckles off the wheel for awhile.
And three, I think that a lot of leaders talk about handing off the baton to others, but never get around to it until forced. I want to do it differently.
In all of this I’ve tried hard to listen to what God has been saying to me about where I’m at as a man, a husband and father and as a pastor. I’ve tried to discern between the path of least resistance and what’s actually spiritually forming even if uncomfortable. Lots of talks with my wife, with my spiritual director and others..
When I came back from sabbatical this last summer I told the elders I wanted to begin making myself less “essential” in the grand scheme of things. Too much was resting on my shoulders and the weight (or more precisely, how I handled the weight) was doing me in. I told them it was my plan to begin to significantly hand off things over a nine month period.
Half way through, we are well on the way. I’m now down to 3/4 time at Evergreen, more and more Dustin is ably stepping into the places I’m stepping out of, the Elders and picking up more and more… it’s a good thing all the way around.
It’s interesting that around the Ecclesia network in general, I see more and more church planters stepping back and handing off to a next generation of leadership. I think it’s a good ethos we have going here.
Sometimes leadership is about doing and some times it’s about not (or no longer) doing. And sometimes it’s not so much about starting things as it is about creatively stepping back and seeing what happens.