One of my tasks as Search & Call Administrator for the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences is to keep updated a document that we call the “Churches Currently Searching List.” It includes all churches currently in search for a pastor, and all churches that we expect to be entering a pastoral search within the next several months.
This week, for the first time since I started with the Massachusetts Conference almost six and a half years ago, I couldn’t fit all the churches onto a standard 8½ x 11 inch page. Over the past few months I’ve changed the font, shrunk the font size, and narrowed the margins. This week, though, it became obvious that I couldn’t squeeze one more bit of text onto that blessed letter-sized page. Make the print any smaller, and we’d all be whipping out our magnifying glasses to read it.
Clearly, a new way was needed. The way: a bigger page. The list now appears on a legal-sized, 8½ x 14 inch sheet. Seems simple, right? Seems obvious.
I don’t know about you, but the simpler way isn’t always obvious to me. And even if it is simple and obvious, sometimes I’m just resistant. “I’ve always done it this way; why should I have to change?”
When something has worked in a certain way for a long time, it’s hard to contemplate changing it. Yet there’s no doubt that change is coming for staff of the three Conferences in the TA1 alliance. Some has already taken place. The way forward is evolving, so some of us understandably wonder in what ways we will be asked to adapt to a changing organization. We worry that the programs we support may be eliminated, or that the tasks we perform will be taken over by technology, or that we will have a new supervisor, or that we will be asked to relocate. We fear that our individual, unique skills will not be needed in the new TA1, or that we will be asked to do something completely different than what we do now. We even worry about developments we perceive to be positive, because, change! Some of our anxiety comes from uncertainty and some from our wholly human resistance to change.
So, for me at least, the biggest challenge in the midst of all this uncertainty and change is to be open to a new way. To release my death grip on what has been, to remain calm in present circumstances, and to look forward with peace, and confidence, to what will come.
Seems simple, right?
Martha is the Search and Call Associate for the Southern New England Conference. firstname.lastname@example.org (for Search & Call business) email@example.com (for all other business)