Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Staff at Middleberry

As noted earlier, Middleberry Church (the reincarnation) was going well.  Sunday Mornings were packed (almost too packed as you read earlier), but Monday through Saturday the rooms of Middleberry Church remained silent.  As a fledgling church there were few programs up and running that first year.  There was no children's programs or bible studies, no choir practice or support groups.  There was little going on really.  Pastor Keith sat in his office 5 days a week and worked on sermons.

But Pastor Keith also performed all the counseling, maintenance, and publication tasks.  The books were still done at GracePoint where Pastor Keith also maintained an office (though he was never present there), but for the most part Middleberry was fairly independent and under staffed.  All of these tasks led Keith to realize that he was out maned, especially in a church of 350 people.

Enter in: Patricia.  Patricia had too grown frustrated with the direction of GracePoint towards the end.  The new pastor at GracePoint had rubbed her the wrong way as well.  What was done exactly, one cannot say but suffice to say her anger resounded strongly.  Patricia had recently left her job and needed a replacement.  She had never worked in a church and was relatively new to computers, but her zeal for working at Middleberry surpassed her lack of training and preparation.  Keith had been looking for someone to handle the publications, phone calls, and books at Middleberry.  The "fit" was just too perfect.  Patricia had a reputation for being difficult to work with, but she wanted the job so bad and Keith was so eager to fill the position that he hired her immediately, like he said "the 'fit' was just too perfect."

Not only was there a new person handling the phones, there was a new person manning an office.  Pastor Keith had counseled people for years, but GracePoint's problems were significantly different than the problems that he would face down at Middleberry.  The door at Middleberry was constantly assualted by people needing help with rent, a ride, money for food, and/or clothes.  Paroles and Partiers, teen mothers and teen runaways.  Pastor Keith was soon to understand what a different world that he now worked in.  For years he had been secluded in the suburbia surrounding GracePoint, now he was thrust into the heart of the city surrounding Middleberry.  Pastor Keith needed someone to come and take the burden of these people off of his plate.

Enter in: Steve.  Pastor Steve had grown up out West.  Though he had accepted Christ at an early age, he found difficulty living out his faith.  He had run into law trouble and found himself in prison early on in his life.  When he was released from prison he returned to his boyhood church and began to better understand how his faith was to be lived out.  Steve had always had a passion to do ministry and through some differing circumstances he found himself running into Pastor Keith.  Pastor Steve, though lacking any formal training and by his own admission "biblical knowledge" began to talk to Keith about adding him to the staff at Middleberry.  Keith needed someone to work with the broken people of the Middleberry neighborhood, Steve needed a place to live out his dream.  Steve had a passion for the people around Middleberry, and Keith needed a some assistance.  Though Steve was unable to help preach and had no teaching experience, the "fit" was just too perfect.  Though Steve had absolutely no idea where to start a ministry (and Keith offered no job description), the "fit" was just too perfect.  Keith could return to his sermons, Steve could write his own job description.  Without a direction and without a vision, the two men headed off into the future leading a group of people who were quickly forgetting who they were and the final piece of the puzzle was soon to come.

Leading worship was never Pastor Keith's forte.  He had done it a little bit at GracePoint but wasn't real excited about doing it on a weekly basis.  GracePoint had donated some drums and a piano, but Keith didn't feel up to organizing a praise band on a weekly interval.

Enter in: Trevor.  Trevor had grown up in the church.  He had attended GracePoint for years and had even led some worship there from time to time.  He was a phenomenally gifted musician.  He could not convince GracePoint to bring him on as a worship pastor; but Keith was more than happy to offer him the position.  Keith was given advice by GracePoint's lead pastor to bring in a worship leader of different ethnicity.  As any cross cultural missionary knows, "without diversity in the pulpit, there is no diversity in the pews."  GracePoints Pastor had even offered up the names of some talented worship leaders who were interested.  Pastor Keith was set on Trevor.  The "fit" was just too perfect.  Trevor needed a place to lead, Keith needed a worship pastor.  Trevor needed a chance to progress, Keith needed a break from leading.  Trevor started that month.

The "fit" was just too perfect.  This method of selecting staff would become the standard.  This method would lead to some serious issues later on in the life of Middleberry Church.  Without a direction for the church..."fit" dictates future.  Without a vision..."fit" leads us down roads that are difficult to traverse.  "Fit" became a synonym for easy and simple.  "Fit" became an excuse to make no effort.  Sadly enough "fit" would become the MO of Middleberry.

Pastor Keith alongside Pastor Steve, Worship Pastor Trevor and Assistant Patricia set off to lead Middleberry Church into the next stages of their development...but still the "fit" with the neighborhood still wasn't perfect!

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