Friday, October 31, 2008

Q & A with the Preacher

1. Why don’t you open your blog for comments so people can respond to the things you say? I’m not an idiot, that’s why. In spite of my appearance, I’m smarter than I look.

2. What is your biggest pet-peeve in church work? Committee meetings. That’s why we have none.

3. What aspect of your job do you like the most? Preaching & teaching. Leadership. The opportunity to grow. Seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ. Seeing results/fruit from creative ideas that have been implemented. I love seeing people, who have not darkened the doorway of a church for the last twenty years, walk into our services and ultimately commit to Christ. I love talking to people in the atrium between services. I like seeing a team develop, interact with each other, and then accomplish a task. I love seeing the light come on inside of people.

4. What part of the ministry do you DISLIKE the most?

  • Having to engage in high-maintenance people – troublemakers, liars, complainers, and naysayers
  • The loneliness of leadership
  • The work never seems to be done

5. What do you need the most, personally?

  • Safe people. Safe relationships.
  • Extended time off
  • A sabbatical – for rest, recuperation, and study

6. What are your greatest weakness?

  • Without exception, number 1 is working too much and not taking time off
  • Running on empty
  • Leadership skills I still have yet to develop

7. Who are you accountable to?

  • God. He sees everything – a fact I can never escape.
  • My wife. We are very open with each other about what we are doing, and the weaknesses of the flesh. We acknowledge that fact between us. We’re not naïve, and we don’t pretend that temptation does not exist. Personally, I have set up some boundaries that I live within - I haven’t been alone with another woman (for more than five minutes at a time) in more than twenty years. I never close or lock a door when another woman comes into my office. Things like that. You can call me paranoid, or you can call me faithful. I call it being smart.
  • Our church staff and management team – I am accountable to them too. Actually, we are mutually accountable to each other.
  • PCC's board of directors. PCC has a corporate board of directors. This board of directors has been in existence since day-one. In spite of who has come and gone, and what whiners have said, this board has always existed. This board is our corporate officers; which make us legal in the state of Florida.
  • My presbyters – This is an outside group of pastors that I meet with on a regular basis for the purpose of accountability and encouragement. I have been doing this since PCC began. Sheep don’t discipline shepherds. Shepherds discipline other shepherds.
  • Finally, the congregation of PCC. If trust is lost there, then it’s over.

All of this amounts to an intricate system of checks-and-balances so that it would be very hard for me to fail. Not because I am so spiritual, but rather because I have made plans to make it difficult for me to fail. I am always being watched. I’m never alone with other women. I have no direct access to PCC’s finances by myself. All church salaries (including mine) are established by the board of directors (using standard pay-scale tables published by the National Church Business Administration (NCBA) for the southeast region of the United States, (which BTW, we have used since year one), and these pay-scales are impartial and unbiased. Finally, most of the decisions made at PCC are arrived at on a collaborative (group) basis.

So, the next time you think you have a complaint about me, ask yourself, “Could I live under this kind of scrutiny?” Not many people can. But I can. And that’s why I can stand up to critics – I have been examined and have nothing to hide.

Finally, and for the record, I don’t apologize for having pastoral authority. I am empowered to lead our church and do so decisively. The checks & balances that are in place are designed to keep me accountable, but not intended to render me powerless, and unable to lead. When someone complains about me not having accountability, it usually means a decision was made in which THEY didn’t get their way. What babies! I never allow myself to become accountable to these kind of mental-midgets.

8. What do you think would happen to PCC if you were to suddenly step down, have a moral failure, or die?

Honestly, I don’t know. But this much I do know, God is in charge and it’s His church. God would not have given us this ministry and our beautiful campus just to see it go down. I have to believe (should Jesus tarry His second coming) that God’s plan is that people will be reached by the gospel for years to come in my absence through the ministry of PCC. If nothing else, and if necessary, He will raise up someone else to lead our church.

In a very practical sense, we have enough leaders currently in place that our church WILL continue without me. These are God-called ministers and lay people who love God with all their heart. They love their church, and the ministry. They will NOT watch their church go under because of one man. Period.

Furthermore, we have a mechanism (process) in place (as per our bylaws) to secure and install a new senior pastor. This matter would be handled by our board of directors and church management team, and be brought before the church for ratification and approval.

Additionally, in the event of my untimely death I am insured by a one million dollar life insurance policy (on myself) in which Pace Community Church, Inc. is the beneficiary. This would pay off any (current) debts we have, leaving the church financially solvent. Should there be no debt at the time of my death, this one million dollars would simply go to the coffer, enabling our church to weather any transition.

I hope you are getting the picture here. Pace Community Church is here to stay because we have our Ps & Qs in order.