Who Supports Whom?
A staff member just returned from the local grocery store. There, in the store, was a forest fire fighter from the California Department of Forests in full gear. She was treated like a hero. As she stood in line, people came up toshake her hand, to say "thank you for all that you are doing!" and "Do you need anything from us?" Then the woman said, "I'm not doing the firefighting, I'm supporting the firefighters on the line." She had a very clear sense of who she was and what she was doing.
In the follow-up meeting with my staff person, we discussed church boards and committees. Are the paid church staff the ones fighting the fires and digging the trenches, while the committees and boards support us? Or, are the church members and leaders the ones out fighting the fires and we are doing the support runs, keeping them fresh and supplied?
Right now in Santa Barbara, all eyes look north into the mountains to look for the smoke and clouds from the fires. We all know where the fire-lines are. We are keenly aware of wind-shifts and sun-downers. But we aren't fighting the fires.
The church seems confused about where the fire-lines are. The air is filled with the smoke of spiritual battle and conflict, but we are not sure who's fighting what where. Sometimes, tragically, the fire-line is in the church itself between the staff and the boards, fighting each other, or between staff members duking it out over turf and entitlements. My reading of scripture tells me that I have a personal fire to fight, but so does overy single member. My job is to resource, support and bring them encouragement on their own personal fire-lines.