I’m not naive enough to think that we are even a stone’s throw into this process of merging, but I like to use my blog as a point of history, so I’ll tell you some thoughts in the middle of it!
1. From North Creek’s perspective, our organization got exponentially more challenging. We now facilitate a preschool, have four full time pastoral staff (we used to have one), we have a partnership with our Deaf Church, we acquired a mortgage, and let’s not forget that we have a softball team in the Lutheran League…random, I know! While all of those are positives, it also adds a weight that is unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the blessing of all of it, but it’s a new reality that we are adjusting to.
2. In this scenario, one of those full time employees is the former pastor of Maple Grove. Hi Wayne! Wayne is actually our boss as the presbyter of our area and now Mark is his boss as the pastor of our merged church. I wish I could jump into the heads of all of the pastors reading this…you are probably wondering if this is nuts! Well, so far, so good. It has been a blessing through this process because Wayne has been able to facilitate most of the merge, so that we can focus on the pastoral and renovation stuff. He has also been overseeing the preschool for 15 years, so we haven’t been forced to figure that out in the midst of all the chaos. And he is currently in the process of developing and learning the systems to be North Creek’s Business Pastor, which we now desperately need in order to manage all of the components.
3. My greatest strength and my greatest weakness is that I am an early adopter of new ideas. I hear some plan and I’m ready to go all guns ablazing! I have to admit that I am frequently shocked that a large portion of the world are not early adopters…people actually think about things and take time to process them! Crazy, I know. This process has forced me to allow people to come along at their own pace. Some people decided they loved us before they met us (bless you, early adopters!) and some are still looking at us with one eyebrow raised, waiting to see if our ideas actually produce results. And that’s OK. Time will tell and people will get to where God needs them to get when He needs them to get there.
4. We are surrounded by capable people and now we have to lean on them more than ever. I fondly refer to Mark and I as Delegating Micromanagers. We have had our hands in everything for 5 years all while delegating huge pieces to our ever-expanding team. Now we are forced to look at the micromanager role and kiss it goodbye because we CAN’T be in two places at the same time. We can either have control or growth…not a hard choice!
5. I consider this merge to be going exceptionally well at this juncture. Of course there are people here and there who are not adjusting well, but overall, both churches have risen to the occasion and are navigating this new season with grace and enthusiasm. Bottom line: we are wholly focused on the mission of God and together we will do what God has asked us to do!