As the apocryphal addendum to the Sermon on the Mount goes: “Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape.”
I’m rapidly learning the virtue of flexibility as a pastor. I’m not sure it’s really a virtue, because it is more a matter of survival than acquiring a skill or habit, but that is a technicality. What I am certain of is that no pastor will survive a congregation (sans a coronary) without a large degree of flexibility.
Case in point: arriving at church this morning, we discovered that the heat had not come on the sanctuary the night before. The rest of church was warm and toasty, but the sanctuary was about 50 degrees. What to do? Make the church members, many of whom are older and generally colder anyway, simply deal with it? Cancel worship?
Enter what is now designated “plan b”: we moved the altar, pulpit, and lectern to the fellowship hall. Hauled up all the equipment for the handbell choir. Rearranged the tables and chairs so they would all be facing front. Made coffee. Made a LOT of coffee.
My time interning at a church with a contemporary service taught me that church can look like a coffee shop. It wouldn’t be the first choice of my parishioners, if you polled them, but it could certainly be done “in Spirit and truth” for one Sunday morning.
And you know what? It worked great. God was with us. If anyone griped (as I expected some to), I did not hear them. Blessed am I, with flexible church members…
What’s the point: life really is made up of how you react, not what happens to you. As a pastor, you have to keep your head about you. Stress, like all emotion, is contagious. If you project it, it will negatively impact your people and hamper the ability to worship together. On the other hand, if you control your emotions, and view problems as opportunities, you’ll be amazed at how God can surprise you on a Sunday morning (or any morning).
Blessed are the flexible, my friends.