Last month I said I wanted to use this Pastor’s Box (for a while) to give you updates on what I’ve been doing as the new head pastor of Bryn Athyn Church and to share with you a little of my philosophy or approach to ministry and pastoral work.
We’ve been in Bryn Athyn a month now and our family continues to get settled into our new home (more boxes unpacked, rooms getting painted, furnished, etc.) and into our new routines. I’ve had the opportunity to conduct two sets of worship services at the Cathedral during July and will do the same again this month with the addition of leading an informal service. At the end of July, my family took a weeklong vacation up north. I’ve now had 15 face-to-face meetings with individual staff members which has been fun and hugely beneficial in helping me appreciate the breadth and scope of Bryn Athyn Church programs and services.
Near the end of July, I also had the privilege of conducting the memorial service for Chuck Lindrooth. My love and support goes out to Fay and the Lindrooth families as they adjust to this big change in their lives. This month I switch to face-to-face meetings with Bryn Athyn Church School faculty and staff, which I very much look forward to doing, especially since school is just around the corner. I’ve also enjoyed connecting with church members either by impromptu chats around town or with scheduled visits over coffee or lunch. I got a behind the scenes tour of BATS to see how that operation works and I took a Cathedral tour “incognito” (pretending to be a visitor) which was hugely educational (thanks Pete Stevens) – what an incredible building we get to worship in!
When a pastor gets called to a congregation, he’s being called (primarily) to “pastor” his flock. What does that look like? Well, one early step is to figure out who the congregation is. That may sound like an odd thing to say but even in smaller congregations, it takes time for a pastor to discover who his flock is because there’s a long spectrum of folks connected to your congregation, from those closely and intimately engaged with your programs and services to those loosely and remotely engaged with your programs and services. A pastor needs to be able to familiarize himself with that terrain and comfortably navigate it with the goal of gathering the scattered back into the flock. Due to the size and complexity of a congregation like Bryn Athyn, especially when multiple worship opportunities are available each Sunday, it will obviously take me time to figure out how best to serve you but with the help of my staff and you, I hope to find ways to gather families, young and old, back into worshipping together as one. Is that realistic? Let’s find out.