Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It's too early to be disillusioned

I began my new job here in Connecticut with high hopes and a lot of excitement. This place is doing something new and exciting in my field and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
This place is not all that much different after all...
Yeah, the programs we're working on are innovative and cutting edge, but the mentality of some of the people running things is still the same.
I guess all church work is basically the same. The pastor feels like he has to do everything or it doesn't get done right. The Coordinator of Faith Formation is really the same as a DRE who also thinks she has to do everything or it won't get done right. The Assistant Coordinator of Faith Formation (me) is really just a "youth minister" who is expected to do everything himself so it gets done right.
I don't work that way. I never have. Ask Joe, Pat, Alan, Julia, and Marilyn. They know. I generally only do those aspects of church work that genuinely interest me and try to get other people to do the rest. I'm not all that interested in "doing" youth ministry. I like kids - I like hanging out with them on occasion. But, if I do it all, then what happens to those kids when I move away, or get an infection? Nothing. This place has almost no youth ministry to speak of right now and I think its because it was focussed on a "youth minister" doing all the "youth ministry." Feh. BAH! HRMPF!
Oh - here's another thing. Right now, this church is offering four Faith Formation "sessions" every month. They are all full. There are still people that want to enroll. Why are we not doing another session to accomodate them? There are two reasons I have been given. 1. It would mean that the pastor, the Faith Formation lady, and I would all have to be there for another night and no one wants that. The main problem being that the pastor (who is not a young man) can't physically handle it.
There is a problem here (and I think you know where I am going with this) - why does the pastor feel like he has to do everything? Why is it that I get brushed aside when I make the suggestion that the pastor shouldn't be doing everything. Why is it that when I mention we might consider mentoring people along the way who can fill some of our shoes so we don't have to be there every night I get ignored! Phooey!
I don't know what model of Church these people are working out of, but I know which model of church they talk about: they talk about collaboration. They talk about whole community involvment. They talk about doing something different and new. But as far as I can tell, they are hindered by old patterns of thought and activity from which they simply refuse to fre themselves. And I am stuck in their world too.
So. I've decided to ignore them. For the most part, I can get away with it. I am going to build this program so well that it runs like a well-oiled machine whether or not I am at the helm. I can't force anyone to see the big picture when they all seem so focussed on what's right in front of them. I can just do my best to show them a different possibility. A new way of doing things that will build a better community, parish, and world by extension. Disillusioned? With the job maybe. But not with the work.

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