How I Get Autism, Fears and Church Planting in One Post

I am not a good leader.

This is not some confession of being guilty of some terrible sin, it’s more of a judgement- I’m not a good leader.  The people skills that others have, I don’t have- at least not naturally.  Being someone with Aspergers means having to learn how interact with people, something that is not innate in my inner most being.

And yet, somehow I ended up as a pastor and even more ironic I ended up as Associate Pastor in a congregation, meaning I have to deal with people and well, be a leader.

But I’m still not good one.  Or to put it another way, I’m not a natural leader.

A few months ago, I was asked to fill in as leader for the a New Church Ministry Team in the Christian Church in the Upper Midwest, a regional body of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  As you all know, I’m passionate about church planting and wanted to be a part of this team, though I wasn’t crazy about leading it for obvious reasons.  Remember how I said the church start I planted was a spectacular failure?  Well, part of the reason for its failure was that I wasn’t a good people person, the type of guy that is good at striking up relationships, the type of person that a new church plant needs.  You need someone who is charismatic and compelling, two adjectives that DO NOT describe yours truly. 

Anyway, it turns out you need those skills to lead a group as much as a new church.  Now I have some other skills that can make a good leader: determination and discipline, skills that tend to be amplified by my Aspergers.  I may not be able to persuade you, but I don’t give up either.

So, I’ve been trying to chat with folks and see if they would be interested in joining the team.  I’ve set up a Facebook page and sent out a whole bunch of information on new churches to help spur interest in church planting and hoping for someone to say they would be a part of the team.

So far, the results have been kind of “eh.”

This brings up fears of not being persuasive enough.  But it also brings up fears of something else: that no one is interested in planting new churches.

As much as Mainline Protestants fret over its decline, I also don’t see a whole lot of passion into finding new ways to share the good news.  Denominations have started church planting initiatives trying to get folks in the pews interested, and in many ways they are met with a collective shrug.  We’d love to see our numbers rise, but we aren’t that willing to invest in the work needed to do that.

But I maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe I’m just getting discouraged too soon.  I want to believe that there are folks out there that want to find new ways to share the Gospel and who want to share that with others.  And maybe God can used a charasmatic-impared pastor to do that work in the world.

I’d like to believe that.


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