Saturday, 21 November 2009

Some Good Advice from Bishop Alan

revmusings points to this great post from Bishop Alan:

30 years ordained this year, and someone asked me what I thought I’d learnt. That conversation gave birth to a few stray thoughts on the back of an envelope. It would be rather grand to call them laws of Vicaring, but here goes (in no particular order of importance):
  1. If someone says Jesus has healed their wooden leg, rejoice, but be sure to kick them in the shins first, just to make sure.

  2. If you get away with it and it works, fine. If it doesn’t and they catch you, just cough up cheerfully and enjoy all the times you got away with it

  3. Do the job you’re doing now with all your heart, not the one you used to do in your last parish, or hope to do in your next. Time flies when you’re having fun...

  4. Don't ask until you’ve worked out the question. Only ask people questions they are likely to answer in the way you want. Also, Don't ask when the baby is due until the new lady in Church has actually told you she is pregnant. Never ask a Lawyer “Can we do this?” The question is always “How can we do this?”

  5. Pick up the bloody phone! (This applies to outgoing as well as incoming calls)

  6. You do not have their P45's in your back pocket, so always explain, always apologise

  7. Make the other lot line up with their own rulebook, and have a go at doing so yourself before you propose change

  8. Be extremely loyal to your predecessors. They are your most powerful secret weapon, along with people who pray quietly at home.

  9. Schedule your free time as zealously as you would a funeral. Your family are the closest members of the body of Christ. Strive not to be toxic to them, and remember they didn't ask to have you for a parent.

  10. Beware Grand Designs, especially your own. Dolus latet in generalibus — the Devil's in the detail, along with the delight...

  11. You can't argue with whining, but you can with anger. Damaged, angry people have their own reward. Bless ’em all.

  12. Rigid faith is often brittle. In the Kingdom the first often come last and the last first. You are not God's minders, or managers, but guides who should strive to be reliable and trustworthy (I Corinthians 4)

  13. You inherited far more than you realise. Before you go buy a new tool, check the old toolbox you seldom use and nine times out of ten you've already got one. Revolution by tradition!

  14. All constructive change works from the inside out — “You can sleep in the Garage, but it don't make you an automobile” (Billy Graham?)

  15. This job is about the how and why of people’s lives, including your own. You accomlish far more long term than you think, and far less in the here and now: “I think I've far exceeded what I ever thought I could possibly do. I'm almost shocked that I'm still around after all these years . . . and always grateful that I get another turn to do something.” (Billy Crystal)
So... what extra rules for ministry would you add to Bishop Alan's list?

I'll add 'Laurie's First and Second Laws of Church Dynamics', named in honour of an elder at my former church:
  • Church members aren't stupid, you know.
  • The response you get from the deacons will mirror the response you get from the church meeting.

1 comment:

Craig Gardiner said...

Church and Kingdom are not the same: spend time in both