Tuesday, January 06, 2009
GOEs Part Tres: Back to School!
As I've been thinking about my "GOEs: Reality Bites" post, I realized that my note could be construed as either a whine or a fishing expedition for compliments. I meant it, of course, as neither. I apologize to any who understood it that way.
Just a tough day in the fast lane of parochial life and ministry, is all.
I also realized that those questions would be absolutely inappropriate for GOEs because most seminarians haven't been "prepared" for them. Most end up in an 8-10 hours a week placement of "field education", which is not enough time to wind your watch much less know what day it is in the parish. Neither do most seminaries provide a course in the "public practice of ministry."
With dwindling curacies and even fewer associate / assistant positions available, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for the newly ordained to learn the basics with / from a seasoned mentor.
The problem, I think, is not with the GOEs but with seminary education which, for the most part, does a wonderful job of preparing seminarians for priesthood, but in most cases I am aware of (and I speak from my own experience), doesn't even begin touch the realities of parish leadership.
If it did, then we'd see courses or mini courses like:
Small Business Finance 101
Basic Principles of Accounting
Buildings and Grounds 101
Part I: The Care and Feeding of Furnaces
Part II: Roof is Leaking!: How to tell if you need to patch or replace the Church roof
Part III: The Bathroom is Flooded!: How to unstop a clogged toilet without calling a plumber (or ruining your shoes or your manicure - or losing your lunch!).
Part IV: The REALLY Inclusive Church: Handicap Access 101
Part V: How to Negotiate with a Contractor, Plumber and/or Electrician
Part VI: How to develop a good building maintenance and repair program
Part VII: How to coordinate the use of your building and negotiate a reasonable and fair "fee for use" (long and short term) vs. "rent"
Capitol Fund Drive 101
Part I: Understanding the language of the CDO Profile
Part II: Understanding the language and arithmetic of the Parochial Reports
Part III: Understanding the sacred mysteries of the Parish Register
Part IV: Understanding the Canons of the Church - especially Title IV
The Search Process
Part I: How to interview a parish calling committee
Part II: Beyond the Parish Profile: Interpreting the past five years of Parochial Reports.
Part III: Managing rejection
Xerox and Risograph Machines 101
Desktop Publishing 101
Surfing the Web without Drowning: Dreamweaver and other Web Page Designs
Meet The Press:
Part I: Soundbite Theology for Idiots (Not YOU. Them.)
Part II: Answering your own question while making them think you've answered theirs.
Parish Growth: Putting down spiritual roots before expanding branches
Part I: You can't put it on at 7 AM and expect it to taste good at 11 AM: How to serve a decent cup of coffee at 'coffee hour'
Part II: The Attack of the Parish Greeting Team: How to say 'welcome' without seeming pathetic and desperate.
Creating Leaders without Burning Them Out
It Takes (LOTS of) Planning: Running an Effective Vestry or Committee Meeting
Hysteria and Chaos Management 101: The Bishop's Visitation, Christmas, Easter, Wedding, Baptism, and Funeral liturgical / music planning.
Part I: Children's Sermons: How to Survive Being Thrown into a Bucket of Live Bait
Part II: Acolyte Training: It's all fun until something goes wrong, and then it's hysterical
Part III: Youth Groups: Sunday Night Pizza Piety
Hurricanes, Fires, and Floods (Oh, my!): Natural disasters and the role of the church
Time Management in Chronos and Kyros 101
The Parent Trap:
Part I: Just because you call me 'Father' or 'Mother' doesn't make me one - or, yours.
Part II: How to cultivate a healthy relationship with your bishop.
Churches don't need a savior, they need a priest:
Part I: Family Systems Theory 101
Part II: Basic principles of Transference and Counter-transference
Hope for the Future:
Part I: Planning your sabbatical
Part II: Your pension and you
Part III: Retirement: It's never too early to plan (and it may keep you sane)
And, of course, my all time favorite:
On Being a Prophet in a Not-for-prophet Church
Part I: If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
Part II: If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
Part III: The difference between Outreach/Inreach, Congregational Development and Mission: You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps
Part IV: "Birds of the air have nests . . .": How to negotiate a severance package
You know, the more I think about it, I'd LOVE to see the GOE questions on THESE courses!
Oh, the things we do for Jesus!