Friday, August 20, 2010

What we learn when visiting…

I went visiting a few days ago and a lady complained that I was not there at her time of crisis when her husband died. It was a Monday (My day off) and she phoned the manse to get an answering machine.  She left a message that I only picked up the next day. I did ask her why she did not contact the number and person I left for emergencies on the answering machine and they would have got hold of me. She could have contacted any one of the Society Stewards of the church. She could have contacted the leader of her Fellowship Group who lives a stone throw away in the same complex but she didn't.  Instead she begrudged the fact that she could not get the minister immediately and it comes out months after her husband's death. 

I have thought it through and I am convinced I did everything to attend to her need the moment I was informed about it.  The concern for me was that she did not think anybody could help her but the minister.  This highlights for me one of the greatest dilemmas of the mainline church.  The understanding that the minister is the minister and the congregation are the ones to be 'ministered upon'.  Michael Cassidy reminded me this week at a breakfast hosted by African Enterprise that the greatest problem with us 'mainliners' is that our people do not know that they are the troops and unless we get this right nothing much will change.   



2 comments:

gail honiball said...

You did do everything you could by leaving numbers for her to contact.. its not about that, it about grieving. Something or in your case, someone, to focus your anger on. Never take it personally..
As for the troops, we get too comfortable leaning on our minister, whom we can see and hear so clearly, than our Father in heaven, who very seldom gives us clear answers....

markpenrith said...

All too often in South African churches spiritual maturity is expected only of the pastor. He is the one man band who heads the show, does the counselling, takes care of the destitute, visits the scarred and evangelises the masses while the rest of the congregation sit idly by, warming the pews on Sundays, confused expressions on their faces when pressed into service; their leaders having ill-equipped them, ill-enabled them and un-readied them to serve the King’s kingdom as they ought.