"In life, the only constant is change."
I don't know who originally said that, but it sure was someone smart.
Here at The Bridge Church over the last few years we seem to have been in a constant state of change. And while I'm thankful that we're currently enjoying a wee respite from unexpected and disruptive changes, over the past couple of months many of our planned transitions have come to fruition and now, starting at the beginning of May, we are going to be functioning as a very different type of organization than we have been in the past.
Over the years, successive pastors and boards (for very good, and contextually appropriate reasons) have built this church into an administratively heavy organization that has required and justified a high level of staffing. Those decisions may have been good for the day in which they were made, but they no longer work for us today.
On the first day of March we embarked on a new chapter where I was the only full-time pastor on staff (with Pastor Jenn scaling back her role to the still-very-important position of Lay Pastor), and on the first day of May we will move into being a church without regular administrative staff as Wendy Levasseur begins her retirement. While Debbie Brown will continue to provide support for our Family Ministries department, and Carol Premack and Paul Brown will continue in their important roles, on a day to day basis I will be the only active member of staff going forward.
Aside from the very real personal dynamics affecting those transitioning out of their staff roles, this also means that some things are going to change around the office in the coming weeks and months as about 1.5 full-time staff positions need to be subsumed into the job descriptions of an already busy staff. Some of those changes are the types of things that most people will never see, as they are administrative and happen behind the scenes - but some of them will be felt more widely and acutely. Some examples being:
Direct printed communications from the office will be scaled back as that sort of work requires a disproportionate amount of time relative to what it achieves. Beginning in May, if you don't receive updates via email already, you will no longer be receiving paper copies in your church mailbox. Rather if you want a printed copy of any particular document they will be available to pick up from the Got Questions Kiosk on Sunday mornings.
We are asking in the future that if you have a prayer chain request to pass along, that you first contact your flock elder to pass on the request through them. Each of them have the ability to start the prayer chain themselves. Please only contact the church office to begin the chain if your matter is urgent and you cannot reach your elder in a timely manner.
Wendy's email address (email@example.com) will be slowly migrated away from being the primary point of contact for people outside of the church. We are moving to a new address (firstname.lastname@example.org) for that purpose, which you will see reflected in our new, simplified, website. It also goes without saying that as of May 1, you should no longer try to reach Wendy personally at that address either.
The previously mentioned new website is designed to cut down drastically on administration (and will save us a good deal of money). And it looks pretty spiffy too!
Probably the biggest change you will notice though is responsiveness from the church office. Beginning May 1, the church office will only be open one day per week. While voicemail will be checked regularly and emails will be responded to in a timely manner, if you want to drop into the church office for an unscheduled visit you will have to plan to do so during regular business hours on Wednesdays. Don't fret - I won't be working any less (quite the opposite is likely) but the nature of pastoral work is such that being chained to an office every day is not conducive to the calling.
Thanks in advance for all the patience and understanding that you will certainly extend to us all as we transition over the next few months. Some of these changes, after some experience and evaluation, may change again themselves. We piloting a ship through uncharted waters for this congregation in this generation, and we are going to do our best to continue to lead well as we learn how to chart our course. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to reach out to me to discuss any issue that you need clarity on, or to address anything that you feel is being overlooked as we manage these changes. Change may be scary, but it's also exciting! And I am excited to be facing it with all of you.