Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Trials of Being an Aspie Pastor

I've had this nagging idea that has been rattling in my mind for several months. It's the idea of trying to start an early morning worship service (early as in 8:30am). I'm a worship geek by nature and love putting together services as much as taking part in them. No doubt, I could do a good job in putting a service together and I know I could do a kick-ass job leading worship (can one say "kick-ass" in post on worship?). But there remains one problem:

How can a pastor with Aspergers, get people to come to worship? How can he invite them? How does someone who has trouble connecting with people socially be an evangelist?

In the years since my ordination, I've come to learn how "social" being a pastor is. I've learned to do that, but in some case it tends to be hit and miss. I feel in someways like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In his quest to be human, he tends to learn the ways to be human, but his application always falls short of the mark.

When I started Community of Grace (the new church plant), I was good at getting the bulletins together and putting the worship service together. I was good at all the technical skills. But of course, to be an effective church planter, you need people who are...well, people-persons. I was not, and to be the head pastor, you kind of have to be.

Looking back over the years, making friends was always hard and let's not get started on dating. Sometimes I feel it's a near miracle that I found someone who can deal with all my quirks.

Even in this age of Twitter and Facebook, much of what goes on in life is till face-to-face. So, if I want to tell the story of salvation more often than not, I have to be able to do in-person.

But back to the morning service. I would love to do it, but how do I get the word our to new people? Any ideas, people?

1 comment:

Danny Bradfield said...

Dennis, I don't have aspergers (at least, I don't think I do!), but I am socially awkward at times. I've found it helpful to be upfront about this. I've even said, in sermons and in one-on-one conversations, that God must have a quota system in place when it comes to ministry, and that on the day I got my call, there were already too many "loud-mouthed extroverts," so God needed some quiet, socially-awkward types to fill out the quota, and that's how I got in. The truth is that this joking is itself a good form of socialization, and at the same time allows people to know where I'm coming from. This makes them more comfortable and understanding, especially in those times when I seem to be lost in my thoughts.

So I guess what works for me, and what might work for you, is to be open and, in some ways, vulnerable, about the type of person you are. And be sure to affirm other people for who they are as well.