This year I came to the conclusion that September was nothing more than “one long Monday.” I try to prepare for the coming fall over the course of the entire summer, and I do reasonably well. I know that many of the people I minister with try the same and they do reasonably well. The problem is that folks are so spread out over the summer that we all fail to do well together – which inevitably leads to grossly increased tension levels throughout the month. I feels, as I quipped, like an endless Monday. It’s not just any Monday, though, I’m talking about the Monday following a vacation – the type of Monday that piles your “to do” list so high that you know it’ll take forever to feel like you’re able to breathe, much less feel like you’re being “productive.” The month of September is that sort of Monday. Here’s why:
- The kids start school and need to readjust.
- 2 months of events at Central are packed into 1 month.
- ABCNJ annual session happens.
- Sunday School starts up.
- New sermon series begin.
- People get back from a summer hiatus and feel the need to “catch up.” All at once.
For an introvert who happens to be a pastor, September is a month to crawl into a corner and weep. I have to be an introvert (note, this has nothing to do with being “shy”). I sometimes wonder how I get through September, to be honest, and I look forward to flipping the page every year on the calendar! By the time September ends, I just want to sleep. This year, September will be extended one week because I have a wedding to officiate the second Sunday in October (note to self, no more Sunday weddings – people want the pastor to be coherant during the ceremony). Then, however, it’ll be gloriously over.
For all the stress, I do manage to get some things accomplished. The student chaplains will be coming again in January for their winter retreat, so I’m already working on the content for that (we’ll be doing some stuff on community spirituality I think) – I’ll also be teaching in their class again in November and I’m really looking forward to that excellent opportunity. The fall sermon series is off to a decent start – and people seem to be chewing the material, which is gratifying. I’ve also taken up teaching Sunday School for Jr. and Sr. High, which according to my class is actually going rather well (we’ll see when we get to the material I’m writing myself for Genesis 1-11, I need to work on the curriculum). I also have to remind myself that we baptized someone at annual session this year, which was cool.
In addition to this I’m helping my wife work out her ambitious plan of spending a month on every book of the [Protestant] Bible over the course of the next 5 years. After she gets through it, she’ll do it again – that’s exciting. My wife has also started a new worship for students 3rd Grade and up called “walawas” (We All Learn About Worship and Service). The goal of that group is to give students a grounding in the act of worship so they can enter into it themselves (as opposed to “teaching them how to behave in worship” so they can be alienated from each other and God like ‘everyone else”). She does good stuff, and it’s great to help her.
So, I get through it. My kids think I need to nap more (they’re right) but I get through it – and, by the grace of God, some work actually gets done for the Kingdom. I will, however, breath a huge sigh of relief when the calendar finally turns and I can look forward to an unexpected vacation down in Williamsburg, VA late in October. I’ll be grateful for the breather!
Oh, I also need to work on the Designed in Mission DVD’s too – I’ve got three months done but there’s still three more to go!