Wilma's Pastoral Manifesto

When I say, “I want to give . . . ,” I mean that giving in this way is a basic human need of mine that I hereby recognize. When I don’t give these things, I feel a deep, deep sadness.

•    As your pastor, I want to give many expressions of gratitude and celebration for the continuing decisions and contributions of the people who maintain the on-going operations of this church.

•    As your pastor, I want to give repeated assurances that I will celebrate many people trying new things and making new mistakes in order to cultivate and celebrate the use of the gifts God has given them.

•    As your pastor, I want to give a respectful, non-pressure, wait for you to invite me into your space or your thoughts.

•    As your pastor, I want to give you assurances that I wish to earn your trust, and not demand it.

•    I want to give clear presentation of my own authentic person, and of my positive vision, goals, and reasons.

•    I want to give statements and actions that show I own the responsibility for implementation and completion of my own projects.

•    As your pastor, I want to give my expressions of joy when hearing of new steps to Bible study and group work that are autonomous from me.

•    As your pastor, I want to give repeated invitations and pathways to reading the Bible and praying together.

•    As your pastor, I want to give words that state my deep commitment to confidentiality, that what you say to me will not be repeated, and that I will not require you to disclose what others say to you, unless there is a safety issue.

•    As your pastor, I want to give many stated invitations to open communication, for you to talk with anyone about anything, as long as it is your story only.

•    I want to give words that encourage you to depend on God for answers, not on me or any other human.

•    When someone in our presence complains about what some other pastor did, I want to give expressions of alternative and affirming ways of looking at what that pastor did.

•    Amidst the jostling needs of various ministries, I want to give verbal assurances that I trust God to manage the chaos of many lively ministries and people all working together.

•    In an apparent conflict of desires, I want to give only suggestions and requests in words and ways to nurture respectful conversation until together we find a way for all parties’ desires to be met.

•    When you talk about your desires or questions, I want to give time and reflecting words whereby you can know that I sit with your feelings and desires before making my suggestions.

•    When you show eagerness to serve, I want to give words that show a bent toward bringing respect and resources to your ideas for ministry in this church.

•    I want to give words that recognize the possible existence of alternative views when talking about what I view as your mistakes.

•    When I spot what I think is a mistake in what you do or choose, I want to give quiet observation, reflection before speaking about it, and return to the topic later if either of us needs it.


Friedman, Edwin H., A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix (New York, NY: Seabury Books, 2007).

Pfeffer, Jeffrey, and Robert I. Sutton, The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2000).

Rosenberg, Marshall, Ph.D., Living Nonviolent Communication: Practical Tools to Connect and Communicate Skillfully in Every Situation (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, 2012).

Rosenberg, Marshall, Ph.D., Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 2nd ed. (Encinitas, CA: PuddleDancer Press, 2003).