Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ministry and Parenting

Years ago I read the book Generation to Generation by Edwin Friedman. The book applies family systems theories to churches, synagogues and other organizations. He talks about the importance of the pastor being a "Non-anxious Presence." I have taken his teachings to heart, and have sought to apply them both in my ministry and as a parent. It has enabled me to be an effective pastor in 2 conflicted churches.

Today a colleague posted a link to this video on facebook. I will be using it with my board at some point in the future. I thought some of you raising difficult children might appreciate it, too. It's hard to keep from getting sucked into their drama, but it's crucial for our mental health and theirs that we remain calm. Daughter works very hard at getting a reaction out of me. Today she sent me a text that she wasn't safe and needed help now. I replied that she had a voice and knew how to keep herself safe. I assured her that I had confidence in her. Then she called me, sobbing so hysterically she couldn't even talk. I tried to get her to calm down and tell me what was wrong, and finally informed her that I knew she could keep herself safe, and I looked forward to seeing her at the end of the day. By the time she came upstairs, the crises were forgotten.

We're changing lots of things at the church right now. I'm writing my newsletter column each month lifting up the reasons for the change and acknowledging the discomfort. I'm providing reasons and reassurance. So far, it seems to be working. There have been complaints about minor issues, but if that's all they can find to complain about, we're doing well. I hope others find the ideas in it helpful.

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