As I sit here in my hotel room I am filled with a sense of guilt and sadness as tomorrow AM, the rest of the MBCC community will, for the most part, be moving us out of our home of the past three years and into our new home at 32 Ocean Avenue in the Excelsior District. With great excitement we have moved into a new partnership with the good folks at Ocean Avenue Presbyterian Church to help care for and utilize the beautiful Julia Morgan designed sanctuary and adjoining buildings.
So now we move into our eighth location in eight years.
As I think back to the previous seven moves – from my home to cafe to church to space to space to space to space – the reoccurring theme was that InHo Kim, co-pastor at the time, and I pretty much did everything. Sure folks came and help lift and assembly some things, but it was the pastoral staff who stayed the late nights refinishing the floor, installing partitions and running phone lines. That was what we were supposed to do. Folks appreciated it and we felt like we accomplished something and the new space was set as we wanted it. Not totally selfless, but we put in a great deal of sweat equity and people appracited it. And at that point that was what, I believe needed to happen.
But this move is different. Months back we committed to being a Program church, and away from being a Pastor driven one. This has required many changes in how we see our roles as leadership as well as a shift for me in how to pastor such a church. Toss the whole moderator thing on top of that and, well, you have all the makings for this New Church Planter to start feeling uber-guilty about not getting his hands REALLY dirty on this move. I have helped a little bit. I spend some time sorting and packing, I recruited super Transition Coordinator, Shannon Powers, and otherwise help to coordinate staff and support. I guess I have done what I am now supposed to be doing, not requiring everything to go through me. Nurture the system, prepare the system and trust the system. But the move, the actual move, I have not been a part of it. And as the bulk of the move takes place tomorrow AM, I guess I am sad.
As I think more deeply about it the sadness is not that I wanted to be the primary person on such a project, in fact if I really press myself, I am extremely grateful that the community has truly stepped up. I suppose my sadness at this shift in leadership is that when things do not all run through the pastor, the pastor now has a different relationship with the community. I am not there "in the trenches" of the move, so the story that is being built does not directly include me. My centrality to the building of the community has changed . . . as we hoped and expected, but still it is taking some time for me to get used to.
So my church friends and family, as you move couches, pack up the final boxes and begin the movement to our new home, know that your pastor is lifting up prayers of thanksgiving for your energy and commitment and prayers of comfort for your pastor who won’t be there to share in the day.
See you Sunday for our final service at 1040 Mariposa.