Changing Pastors

Most of you know the story of how I had heard about Shalom Church, so stopped by one Saturday when there happened to be a Yard Sale in progress, to pick up some literature from the Narthex and try to determine what kind of church this was. You may not have heard about the first Church Growth Workshop that I attended in Ellensburg, after becoming active in the Outreach Commission, at which our Pastor introducing the participants from Shalom, said, “And this is Joyce Heintz, our new Outreach Chairperson. We got her at a Yard Sale.”

We’ve all been to Sales where some of the very “good buys” were marked, “AS IS”, and the merchandise immediately became suspect, and was thus scrutinized carefully for flaws. It occurs to me that during this transition time in our church, there may be a lesson in all this. (Ex-preachers’ kids find a moral in everything!). I believe that what endeared our Pastor to us was his ability to accept us “As Is.” He loved us with our doubts, questions, argumentativeness, and flaws (we preferred to call it uniqueness), and never felt we had to clean up our act when the preacher entered the room.

Perhaps just as important, He let us see his As Isness. I recall an incident, at a luau in Hawaii, when the M.C. instructed us all to stand and kiss the person across the table from us. As my Pastor leaned over to me, he knocked his glass over, scattering ice-cubes and spilling the drink all over the table….and my new dress. Immediately he quipped, “I always was a klutz when it came to girls”, and he laughed at himself. (Of course, he wasn’t the one in the wet MuMu!) He was always open enough to share with us his limits and uncertainties and struggles, too. He allowed us to know him.

I believe this example should be our present challenge, both in our relationships with one another during this not-easy transition time, and in the future relationship with our new Pastor. This is a time that due to the necessity to work together just to keep things going, our bonds can be strengthened. And as we look toward a time of welcoming our new leader, we will do well to remember that he or she will come to us with some “As Isness” too… and to recognize that those very qualities of humanness may well be the most endearing part of all.