Thursday, March 10, 2011

Danger - God at Work: Hard Hat/Head Area!

Welcome! If you're looking for "The Preacher's Husband", then this is it. 100% of the content at this blog will be preacher-husband-relevant. This is the #1 place to look in the blog-o-sphere if you're at all interested in the Clergy-Hubby dynamic!

But it's also the beginning of Lent. So, if you want a devotional slant, I'd recommend hopping over to DEREK MAUL ( I plan to post thoughts and meditations pretty-much every day between now Easter Sunday.

Meanwhile, over at the church (, construction tuned up a notch this week. Not content with demolishing buildings, unearthing water mains, disconnecting the Internet and eviscerating the electricity, our friendly construction team are now digging large holes and reducing the parking lot to a large sand trap.

The sign, I believe, says it all. Not to be confused, of course, with "Hard Head" area. This is a church, after all!

We've been at First Brandon now for over 14 years. Rebekah was called as pastor and head-of-staff in late 1996. She became senior pastor almost 7 years ago - when the most excellent Tim Black came as associate - and then, just this past month, Earl Smith joined the team as parish associate.

Funny Aside: Rebekah is not big into the whole "ecclesiastical title" thing. She always talks about herself as "One of the pastors at First Brandon", and introduces Tim as "My colleague", or, "Pastor for Discipleship and Mission." What I find amusing is the number of preachers who introduce themselves as "Senior Pastor" when they're the only minister in the building!

Recently I interviewed the pastor of a 75 member church for a news story. He handed me a card with "Rev. John B____, Senior Pastor" inscribed in bold print. So I asked him how many other ministers the church had on staff? "None," he replied. "But my mom comes in to help with the bulletin and answer the phone two days a week." When I queried the accuracy of his job title he said this, "Senior Pastor is the going thing. All the guys I know call themselves Senior Pastor."

Meanwhile, back at the construction site: We've been a church "under construction" for the entire 14 plus years "The Preacher" has been on board. We've changed dramatically, grown in a dozen different ways, matured into a life-animated body of believers, stepped more fully into our potential as the Body of Christ, and redefined what it means to be a Presbyterian Community of Faith in this time and this place.

Spiritually, we've always been a "Hard Hat Area". So I think it's apropos, kind of poetic, really, that we're all dug up and muddy right now. It fits who we are and who - in Christ - we are becoming.

Don't get me wrong, preparing for a capital campaign, wrestling with all the challenges of raising literally millions of dollars in a 500-member church, moving the congregation into the "let's just do it" mentality, and then presiding over everything that comes with working and worshipping in the middle of a huge construction site... none of this is for the faint of heart.

But, I honestly do think that we should take a couple of those big earth-moving machines and incorporate the motif into the design of the next project, as a spiritual symbol. God, in many ways, really is like a massive back-hoe with a giant shovel.

God is constantly at work here, moving and shaking our foundations. And God - it turns out (and this should be no surprise) - is seldom that subtle.

Peace on the Journey - DEREK

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