Hence the reluctance, perhaps, on the part of some gifted leaders to step up to the plate to serve! It’s quite understandable, and I’ve been there myself at many points in my varied career calls as a pastor. It’s also true during this season of pandemic when we cannot meet in person that we are all on the verge of being “Zoomed Out.”
Yes, leadership in the church with its needed organizational meetings should not be “business as usual,” replicating what we see in other organizations. To be sure, the church as a non-profit organization needs to attend to and cross the t’s and dot the i’s of its institutional realities. And careful attention to administrative needs is holy work. As I am fond of saying, it’s not just that the devil is in the details, God is in the details, too. Moreover, again as I am fond of saying, “Good administration is good pastoral care,” ways of showing love for God’s people by taking seriously our organizational life together.
My vision for administrative meetings in the church is that each and every one of them should provide occasions for meaningful spiritual enrichment so that leaders can go home fed and nourished even when they’ve expended time and energy on the more mundane but essential aspects of our life together. So, the challenge and opportunity for us is to consider how we can craft meeting agendas at Resurrection Church to provide occasions for nourishment in ways that are contextually appropriate and attractive to this particular community of faith.
In my experience, it takes a good deal of discipline to craft the kind meetings that are life-giving. Moreover, these efforts are often met with resistance – “we don’t have time for all of that fluffy stuff,” I’ve heard again and again. But it’s also been my experience consistently that it is worth the effort to nurture life-giving meetings. More often than not, again in my experience, we tend to do the business part of the meeting more quickly and efficiently once we have been fed spiritually.
To engage this kind of effort is, I believe, an antidote to tedious church business meetings. It’s also an avenue toward generating a greater willingness on the part of new potential leaders to step forward and up to the plate. They may be more willing to do so if they can be confident that they will be fed by the experience.
I want to leave you with this thought concerning call, vocation. This is for all of you, but perhaps especially for those who have been approached to possibly serve in leadership capacities in the church. My favorite definition of call is from Frederick Buechner, a Presbyterian writer. He says, “The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger coincide.” (Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC, p. 95) So I invite you to identify those things that bring such deep gladness to you and then to consider where in the church, at Resurrection Church, and where in the world, your gifts of gladness can be deployed. God knows that these challenging days of crises in our nation call for glad, gifted leaders in both church and world. I’d love to talk with you more about all of this, one on one, or in small groups, especially if you sense the stirrings of God’s call to you.
May God in Christ in the power of the Spirit lead us in nurturing a churchly culture of ongoing leadership formation for the sake of the ministry and mission entrusted to us for the healing of the nations, for such a time as this.
Prayerfully in Christ,
Pastor Jonathan Linman