On Thursday (in my Coffee shop ponderings) I briefly mentioned something I am trying to do with my church council. I am trying to make a move from a business meeting model to a ministry meeting model. At the time I said I am still working out the specifics of this plan (which I still am) but I want to begin to think this through with you here. Justin left a comment on that post saying that he is doing something similar with his council and was wondering how I was going to maintain what I started. That is a very good question and one I hope I can answer here. But how I want to begin this discussion is to define the two different models and then work from there.
My initial thoughts on the definition of these two models stem from something I heard at our latest synod assembly (SW MN, ELCA). The participants were asked to raise their hands if they agreed with the following statement: The Church has a mission. Most people raised their hands. We were then told we were wrong. Rather, the MISSION (of Christ) has a Church. When the Church claims to have a mission we have a tendency to direct and lead the way rather than being lead by Christ; we quickly lose focus.
So the first part of my definition is this:
Business meeting model — The church has a mission
Ministry meeting model — The mission of Christ has a church
As church councils, we need to think in terms of what advances the mission of Christ. Building projects are important along with paying bills, deciding what color carpet to put in or what bid to approve. You could even argue that those things advance the mission of Christ, but how often does talk of the mission of Christ enter those conversations? More often than not, we discuss what WE think is important…what will please most of the members. Maybe, just maybe if Christ’s mission came into the conversation, the color of the carpet would not be important or maybe just maybe, new carpet would not even be an issue anymore. Christ’s mission has a way of changing how we look at the world.
So…to begin to answer Justin’s question; how am I going to maintain what I stated: I am going to type up the list of goals (ones that we see will advance the mission of Christ) and keep them in front of the council and the church. We will discuss how we are doing with these goals each month before we do any business. We will keep asking the question how does this advance the mission of Christ? I will also publish these goals in the newsletter and get everyone thinking about them and asking the same question. This is a small piece, but it is a beginning.
What are your thoughts? Does your council have a “business” focus or “ministry” focus? How do we move from a “business” to a “ministry” focus?
There is definitely more to discuss on this issue…