What Ordinary Time?

Church life is nuts. Like out-of-order, Jane-stop-this-crazy-thing nuts. Church leadership often feels like a merry-go-round that goes progressively faster (there goes Advent! Wait, was that Lent? Here comes Ordinary Ti–fundraiser for the mission trip! Sign up Sunday school teachers!)

Yet the thing that attracted me to pastoral ministry and made me think I might be called to it was the order of congregational life, the patterns, habits, and seasons that shape the life of a Christian community in a particular place. A brief stint in an intentional community after college stoked this fire, and a couple of years of single city living made me yearn to belong to a people and to be shaped by their way of life. “Practices” were a big deal.

Counting my time in seminary, I’m 14 years removed now from that discernment, and I see clearly now that the liturgically patterned life of an ordered church community is a mirage. Pastoral leadership is more about organizing events than it is presiding over a community’s routine of intentional practices.

Tell me if you experience this differently.

Perhaps the reality is better than the illusion, though. Might there be advantages to organizing church life around and orienting leadership toward the episodic as opposed to the “Ordinary?”