I'm clearing the decks so that Linda and I can get away for 36 hours to France before the winter sets in. We're off tomorrow - going through the tunnel for the first time.
So, I've been working on a church ethos and values statement which I'll share once the elders and leaders have taken a good look at it. It's been interesting thinking about what the church stands for, what values we embody as a community.
In many ways it's exciting to be thinking through these kinds of policies for how we run ourselves as a church. We've also been agreeing a covenant - a process that's not yet halfway through but is progressing slowly - thinking about new ways of doing leadership and firming up job descriptions for the ministry team.
All this is vital at some level, but I have to say, I'm not sure it's why I went into the ministry!
I've been reflecting a little on where my priorities lie (you have to when you're writing a job description for yourself!) or what my calling is. I've always seen my primary gifting as teaching and missional leadership (by which I mean looking for opportunities beyond the confines of the church community to earth and embody the gospel so that large numbers benefit and some find faith in Jesus).
I guess I'm hoping that the stuff we're doing at the moment will free me to do that in the coming months.
I'm also increasingly convinced that my studies in the social history of the New Testament (a suitably vague term for my area of interest) is actually a vital part of my missional leadership. I am finding all kind of resources in my studies that fuel questions about what we're doing today and why. If we are going to break out of the way we've been and done church as baptists for the last 200 years (and I believe we must if we are going to have any future), then the way the early Christians embodied the good news of Jesus in their culture holds vital lessons for us. And merely picking our favourite NT text and turning it into a system will not do!
I'm convinced that structure and organisation matter far less than ethos and values, that operational systems cannot be put above relationships and that being busy in church is no substitute for living a Christian life in communion with others.