Sunday, December 20, 2009

What I Learned in CPE Part II

Second Goal: Stretch limits of feeling “spent”

Why this Goal?

After the few pastoral visits I did in a previous parish internship, I was drained after doing just a few visits per day. I haven't always been too aware of my feeling spent or not. With school work, reading, CPE, parenting, and various other activities, I'm realizing that I have just a little bit on my plate. Usually I would keep at it, grinding the work out, but in this line of work, I really can't do that. One must be very conscious of their boundaries in the pastoral care setting. I will have to learn how to trust a group to accomplish a goal and have patience in the process. I can’t do everything nor should I.

I was surprised to learn that maybe I don’t need to learn how to stretch my limits, but honor them. I don’t need to do 8 to 10 visits a night but to do a few really good visits where I am fully present. People are not goals; they are not items to be checked off a list. Pastors get so focused on trying to do God’s work and be everywhere at once they don’t delegate and they burn out. During this program I’ve learned to trust my team, my wife, and my fellow seminarians. I can’t do all the visits and there are 5 other interns, 4 other residents, and many other associate and staff chaplains who will get to the visits. Kate is a capable mother and wife and will ask for help when she needs it and I can do the same for her. I was part of a worship team here at the seminary and normally I have the whole worship planned and just plug people in. This time, I had to let the group plan and process and develop the liturgy all on their own as I simply didn’t have the time or the focus. With this goal, I realized how non-democratic I can be and this provided a course correction.

The edge is staying here. I need to still be willing to give others a “piece of the pie” and trust that their insight will be valuable. Good leaders know when to delegate and when to over-ride. Like a sailboat team, each one working at their post, putting up the sails and rigging and plotting the course. But when the storm comes, sometimes the captain has to order the sails down, start the engine and put the ship to port. Knowing when to do this will help make me a better, more balanced congregational leader and team member.

1 comment:

Al said...

I also often struggle with letting go, with delegating. It just seems easier to do it myself than to coach someone else through the learning process. And if I do it myself, it will be done my way, and I won't have to fix someone else's mistakes.

But that is a bit egotistical, and doesn't give the other guy a chance to learn and do. Who knows, the other guy may well do a better job, too! Oh the humanity!