Ten things I don’t know

Ten things I try hard not to know about. I’ll let you work out why…


I don’t know…

  1. How the central heating at church works. That’s deliberate.
  2. Who are our biggest givers. That’s deliberate.
  3. Where we store the old files and records. That’s deliberate.
  4. When the finance committee meets. That’s deliberate.
  5. How the sound system works. That’s deliberate.
  6. What we’re singing on Sunday morning (controversial!) That’s deliberate.
  7. Where we buy our photocopy paper. That’s deliberate.
  8. Who designs our publicity. That’s deliberate.
  9. How to send an email to the whole church using our database. That’s deliberate.
  10. What’s in my colleague’s sermon for Sunday evening. That’s deliberate.

Of course there’s a ton of stuff I should know but don’t, and another ton of stuff which I get involved in which I don’t really need to stick my beak.

But that’ll do for now.

What don’t you know?

AFTERWORD: From some friendly comments, some folk are reading this as a ‘large church’ perspective, and perhaps a bit showy – I didn’t mean it that way, and I didn’t intend to come across as bragging. I apologise if that’s how it comes across.

This list started when I was the pastor of a small-to-normal church, with a bit of secretarial help on a couple of mornings a week.  In a conversation with a nearby pastor friend, he kept regretting he had ever allowed anyone to show him how the heating worked, because now everyone assumed that if it was ever needed, he would do it.  That’s when  a light bulb went on for me, about the choices I needed (and need) to make.

In many many churches there is no-one else available to do the stuff I’ve listed, and I’m sorry if I didn’t reflect that properly in the blog. But I am still haunted by the conversation about what we choose to let people move onto our ‘do-list’, and I was trying, clumsily, to get us to be a bit more self aware.

14 comments on “Ten things I don’t know”

  1. Re number 6. Do you ever make suggestions of songs that would work particularly well with your sermon?

  2. Chris – thanks for this. Speaking as one who runs the danger of being a control freak, might you be able to follow up with a why for some of these & whether the size of church/resources at disposal make any difference. I’m particularly thinking of 6, 8, 9 & 10.

    1. Now, are you asking because it’s you who runs the danger, or me? 😉 Seriously, I didn’t put the rationale because I wanted people to see if they could work some reasons out!

      1. 10 is about trusting (or communicating trust) to your other preachers.

  3. Yes, it would be interesting to hear which of those you did know when at a smaller church … and which other things you deliberately didn’t know when you were at a smaller church.

    1. I knew #6 (for most Sundays but not all) and #10 didn’t apply. Otherwise, I didn’t know them then, either. Oh, and I wasn’t on the building project committee. It was a small project, but I still stayed away. I remember walking in one Sunday, into the refurbed lobby area, and saying ‘Oh, I didn’t realise we were getting a new ceiling too.’

  4. 6 things I unexpectedly know:
    1) A map of the demographics living in my area
    2) The spiritual maturity of the team who will choose my successor
    3) The mission of God’s church in this locality
    4) The names of the gifted Safeguarding & Health & Safety officers
    5) The date I’m meeting to pray with other church leaders from my area
    6) Who answers emergency calls on my day off

    1. Ooh – that’s a good list to start. And maybe we should list the things we ought to know but somehow don’t; like the names of neighbours…

  5. That’s great in principle….
    The only thing our vicar doesn’t know in that list is who any of the givers are. The rest are a necessity as he’s often running things alone midweek. (And his wife is the church administrator!) It would be lovely to have people in our church family with the skills to share some of the practical tasks – we are slowly teaching folk but their self confidence is very low. (Small village church in a deprived working class area!)

    1. Yep – and Ive just put an addendum on the blog, because I’m sorry if I gave the impression of bragging – and if I was bragging, too. Self-confidence in some areas (urban as well as rural) is a massive problem, and it can be really hard to manage well. No silver bullet, I’m afraid – and I don’t mean to imply that there is one.

      1. Chris, I would never take anything you write to be bragging, I know you better than that! I didn’t mean to be critical. I wholeheartedly agree with your reasoning in the addendum! There are some things that some other people could do…and we don’t let them!

  6. So what do you do with the try not to know – but do know stuff. My guess is try to work as though you didn’t know? Right?

  7. Preaching one is interesting as a lot of churches with preaching teame seem to share up front now. Nb I rarely know what preacher’s will be saying up front apart from newer trainees but I send my detailed notes out in advance so most of our elders know what I’ll be preaching most weeks

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