When we talk about the role of a minster we give him or her many names. Leader, servant, administrator, preacher, pastor and so on. The one that I have been exposed to recently is one that I find very difficult to handle. This is 'The minister as doll.' What happens is the minister walks into the church and greets whoever he sees. Very soon someone picks the minister up and puts him in the vestry. This is where the minister belongs before the service. When the service starts the minister is carried to the platform and in due course to the pulpit. At the end of the service he is placed at the door to shake all the hands. He is carried back to the vestry to sign the Collections Journal and then to be part of the closing prayer. The minister is then put back into the box and he will be taken out again next week. Or perhaps earlier if we decide to play 'hospital visits'.
I'm not sure if this sounds cynical - it shouldn't be, because the people playing dolls are utterly sincere and this is simply their conception of what a minister does. Their need for the security of the ritual and routine is a little frightening (within the context of my denomination).
This is not one of 'my' churches, so I simply move on. But it is a difficult role for me to play.