Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 6:4,5. The Message
When I was a little tyke, I spent many a summer day in a leather harness tethered to a flagpole in my grandparents’ spacious front yard. While that might sound odd to the modern parent, I loved it and the safe freedom it provided. On one side I could wander out onto the neighbor’s lawn; behind me I could seek out the shade of a huge oak tree; on another side I played for hours with my trucks in a sand pit at the edge of the driveway; and in front of me, I could ride my big red tractor all the way to the sidewalk – but not out into the street.
Now that I am well advanced in years, I have found that defining one’s boundaries is not always so easy, or enjoyable! If your life was like mine before the pandemic hit, you were probably busily going in several different directions all at once – in the fast lane. Now, for a time a least, we are all back to tethering-in-place while we wait for the pandemic to pass. We are discovering once again that maintaining proper boundaries not only helps us live safe – but also at a refreshingly holy pace.
As intentional interim pastors at VitalChurch we settle, in any season and situation, on what we believe to be acceptable, appropriate, and beneficial boundaries as we seek to serve churches in transition or crisis. For the sake of brevity, here are several of our primary roles in this rubric:
Preach the Word, faithfully
Refine ministry systems and structures, carefully
Enhance ministry mission, vision, and values, thoughtfully
Assess ministry’s current reality, continually
Coach ministry, leadership, and staff teams, patiently
Hone future pastor profiles and search process, prayerfully
You will notice that the list of roles not only primarily defines what we do as intentional interim pastors, but it also just as importantly defines what we normally do not do. The purpose of a personal boundary line is to mark out for ourselves, as well as for others, those things for which we are responsible, as well as those things for which we are not responsible. Maintaining clear boundaries is essential to the healthy function and well-being of any person – or church. By remaining within our boundaries, we are able to more effectively serve our churches and better position churches for God’s preferred future for them.
We all hope and pray that the pandemic and our tethering-in-place will soon be behind us. There will certainly be changes and challenges ahead in the “new normal.” In whatever season we find ourselves, in good times or hard times, we at VitalChurch are experienced and equipped to come alongside of churches who may be struggling to find their sense of spiritual well-being. If that is the case for you and your church, consider contactingVitalChurch Ministry. We are very good at providing some recommendations for you to tether-in-place for a season so that you might find purpose and delight in the freedom and joy that some new well-defined boundaries may bring.