Pastor’s Projects

I love reading Seth Godin’s blog every day. Today’s post is especially inspirational. Here are some money quotes:

Somehow, I always thought of my career as a series of projects, not jobs. Projects… things to be invented, funded and shipped.

I had a two-part approach to building a career about projects. The first was to find a partner who was willing to own the lion’s share of the upside in exchange for advancing resources allowing me to create the work (but always keeping equity in the project, not doing it merely for hire). The second was to grow a network, technology and the confidence to be able to take on projects too big for the typical solo venture.

The impresario mindset of initiation and improvisation are at the heart of the project. It’s yours, you own it. Might as well do something you’re proud of, and something that matters, because it’s your gig.

The trick is to represent the project, to speak up for the project, to turn it into what it needs to be

Some observations:

“Pastor” is a job. It’s a role that requires some standard work: lead worship, provide pastoral care, teach, etc. Many of the pastors I know experienced a call to this job and this role. So did I.

But I look around at how I’m spending my time now, and it’s a lot of projects. The things I’m choosing to spend my time on are more the projects and less the standard work. Or, I’m trying to reshape the standard work into a project (a worship series, a particular group of youth, a season of adult education).

Pastors in congregations have a built in “partner who [is] willing to own the lion’s share of the upside in exchange for advancing resources allowing [you] to create the work.” That’s called your salary.

Here are the projects getting most of my time these days:

Tapestry–a regional network for Presbyterian youth to experience retreats and work trips. I’m partnering with a handful of really talented and fun Associate Pastors and Youth Directors on this.

The Synod  Youth Ministry Coaching Program Cohort–partnering with our synod and The Youth Cartel to coach a team of 10 youth workers in 12 months.

The Big Picture Project–I’m working with my Head of Staff and a Ruling Elder in my congregation to teach a group of church members about adaptive challenges and to initiate some new ministry experiments. We’re partnering with a consulting group.

The Presbyterian Youth Group (PYGs)–standard work turned project; a weekly gathering of high school students for Sabbath rest and discussion. Partnering with a dedicated group of volunteers and one staff intern.

What about you? What projects are you working on?


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