Monday, July 22, 2013

"Who's in charge here?"

Our bass player at Crossroads was away this Sunday, and we were supposed to have a substitute bassist. 5pm rolled around; no bass player. So we started the service, which was fine.

During the sermon, I was sitting in back when a well-dressed gentleman came in. I went to greet him.

"Who's in charge here?" he said.

"Uh...what do you need?" I said.

"I mean, who's in charge of the service?"

"Well, what can I help you with?"

Turns out it was the bass player. He had gotten turned around on his way from VA (which just goes to prove one of my most important rules about living in DC, which is to try as hard as you possibly can to avoid driving in Northern VA) and wanted to let someone know why he hadn't showed up on time. I thought that was pretty considerate of him, so I thanked him, and then he left.

And I chuckled to myself about my complete inability to answer the simple question, "Who's in charge here?"

I mean, there's Dottie, the lead pastor at Crossroads, who was preaching at the time.

There's Christian, who leads the band, and Justin, the drummer, who is often responsible for communicating with substitute musicians. 

There's me, the "pastoral associate," whatever that means.

Then there's the nine or so lay people on our leadership team. 

I doubt any of us has the illusion that we're in charge.
Now, there are times in any organizational effort in which someone has to be "in charge," or at least organizing and facilitating the damn thing. But I kind of like that, at Crossroads anyway, nobody's in charge, or at least there are a whole lot of people in charge.

We're not what's called a "flat church" with no paid leadership. We don't exactly make decisions entirely by consensus. But there's still a feeling that we're all in this together, all doing this together, all creating and learning and serving together. 

Theologically speaking, we recognize that it is a homeless, executed Palestinian Jew who is the "head of the Church"--a paradoxical position for a failed messiah. That's who is supposed to be in charge...and he tended to do a lot of rejecting of the whole "being in charge" bit. (John 6:15, or Phil 2, for example) The rest of us, every last one of us, are just ministers. 

I hope, for you, whoever and wherever you are, a community that is getting less and less sure about the answer to the question:

"Who's in charge here?"


Shameless promotion: If Crossroads sounds like kind of a cool place to you...well, it is! Check out our website, or just come on by the St. Luke's Mission Center at 5pm on a Sunday to see who we are and what we do. 

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