There are things we just don’t learn in seminary. Which is okay, in my opinion. You just have to learn them from other church leaders. It’s on-the-job training. Here are some of my quandaries:
How does one cultivate loyalty, responsibility, and ownership for a role, without nurturing controlling, possessive, turf issues?
Should the pastor always encourage term limits on positions? I mean, what if a job is really, really hard and there’s someone who’s really, really good at it? Can we let that deeper calling flourish without squelching opportunities for others? Is there a way to do it without creating some ingrown monster who hasn’t breathed any outside air for 20 years?
If we create jobs without term limits, then how do we let the people who aren’t so great at the job go?
How do you fire a volunteer?
How do you pry the matriarch/patriarch from her/his turf?
What’s more important in leading a congregation, efficiency or tolerance?
What’s more important in leading a worship service, openness and flexibility or professionalism?
What does one do about an elderly treasurer, whom everyone loves, who can no longer do his job?
Would you rather be a good administrator or a visionary leader? Is there such a way to be both?
Is there a way to accept everyone, even the people who are mean?
How can you tell if you’re spending a lot of extra time with a person to get him/her through a temporary crisis, or if you’re helping to create a permanent dependent relationship?
Also on the pastoral care front, without all of the ordinary boundaries of a counselor (mandatory appointment times, payment, no contact outside of the office, etc.), how does one make sure that transference or sexual attraction doesn’t occur?
How does a majority white congregation have discussions about diversity, without making people of color feel like they’re tokens? Should I begin with banning the use of terms like “people of color”?
We don’t have as much problem with ethnic diversity as political and theological diversity. Which leads me to wonder, is there a way to have political and theological diversity, without watering down our message? Is it okay that some people just don’t feel comfortable in our pews?
When should a pastor pursue an angry member, and when should she just let that member go? I mean have you seen this happen? The frustrated and often destructive member finally leaves the congregation. The pastor begs for him or her to come back (in the Christian hope of reconciliation), and then the person comes back like a tornado with a second wind. They have even more catastrophic power than before. Is there ever a time when the pastor ought to just wave goodbye?
Do you know what works? How do you answer these questions?