Pulpit Exchanges

I just read a very exciting—and a very disheartening—article in a church newsletter. Two pastors in Montana did a pulpit exchange for one Sunday. The article refers to this as an “opportunity” for two pastors and two congregations to “link up” as those sharing life in the same community—and in Christ.

News of two churches doing a pulpit exchange is exciting. But, I was disheartened because this seems like something that should have been going on for the past thirty years.

We live in times of drastic change for Christianity in the USA. Church structures, congregational finances, and Sunday worship attendance are crumbling. So, why are we doing things the same old way—or taking such small steps to introduce innovative ideas and positive change?

The ministry exchange is a significant step beyond the pulpit exchange. Two clergy exchange homes and ministry assignments for 2 weeks, a month, 6 months, or a year—whatever is needed to stir up the pot. By “stir up the pot,” I have in mind the story of the poor frog left sitting in kettle of boiling water that never jumps to safety because the heat had been turned up gradually over a period of time. The poor frog is dying and she doesn’t know it—and doesn’t seem to care.

Thirty years ago, a ministry exchange would have involved seemingly impossible logistics. Not today! Now, with instant message texts, email, Facebook, and Skype, there is no good reason for pastors and congregations to linger and die in their kettle.

Wake up, church! It’s time for apple cart upset. If we can do pulpit exchanges, then let’s do them. If we can do ministry exchanges, let’s do them, too. We need to start thinking outside the box. We need new ideas coming our way constantly as we meet new people and visit new places of worship.

The amazing thing is how affordable are pulpit exchanges and ministry exchanges. These do not cost a pastor or a congregation any money (unless, you choose to travel a significant distance and incur travel expenses). The only real expense is that we care enough to open ourselves up to change—and then change.

The chain is breaking—let’s “link up” as people of faith.

Photo: frog in a pot 1 by James Lee is licensed under CC by 2.0.