The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. [Proverbs 16:1-3]
If this is not the theme verses for your church council/session/leadership group I ask you:
Pray and commit EVERYTHING to the Lord.
Holy God, may Your Spirit guide and inspire Your Church and may we be faithful to follow where You lead. May we not be so arrogant to think that we know what we are doing and may we place our trust in You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
The Pastor -|—
Ministry model vs Business model — Part 1
…I’m alright. My mom called me this morning thinking something was wrong. I did not post my usual “Sunday morning prayer” yesterday and had not posted my usual “Monday morning check in” yet today. Sorry mom (and little sis)…I didn’t mean to worry you two.
Anyway…I am here. Yesterday morning got a little busy and this morning has been the same. It is hard to believe that September is right around the corner so that means Sunday school, Release Time and Confirmation is upon us. Wow…where did the summer go?
Council meeting update
Last week I resumed talking about the business meeting model vs. ministry meeting model for my church council (See the above link for part one of this series). In July we did some brainstorming on how we can better advance the mission of Christ. I was very excited and encouraged about the outcome of that meeting. I then mailed out some “homework” for the council; encouraging them to continue this ministry planning. My hope was to discuss what they did at out August. Unfortunately we did not get to do what I wanted to do. It didn’t work out to start the meeting with mission planning and by the time we got to that agenda item it was getting late and people were getting restless. I need to sit down with my president and make sure we are on the same page here.
Then today I got an email from a council member on how we need to spend more time in scripture and prayer at council meetings. She felt we need to start our meetings reading the Bible together and praying more. She must have been reading my mind these past few weeks and months.
So here is part of my plan to transform the Salem church council into a ministry meeting model over a business meeting model. Let me know what you think:
(1) On a piece of poster board that is hung in our meeting room, I have a list of our ministry priorities that we feel will advance the mission of Christ (this is our brainstorm list from July). This will serve as a reminder each and every month why we really are taking time out of our busy schedules each month.
(2) The assigned council member for the month will lead the group in devotions as always.
(3)I will then lead the group in reading scripture. Maybe the focus texts will be the lectionary texts for the upcoming Sunday. Discussion and prayer would follow.
(4) Begin the “business” meeting portion of the ministry meeting. This way, if the meeting starts running long, whats really important will not get the shaft.
So one of my priority do-to items this month is to sit down with my council president and share with him this plan and make sure he is on board.
What are your thoughts on this plan so far? What would you add or do differently?
Series to be continued…
Take care and God bless!
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…
I always feel humbled when I talk to someone who says they read my blog (I am usually READING comments from people not HEARING comments). And that was especially true last night at our church council meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting I lead a brainstorming session with the crew (which included a number of newly elected members) do devise some goals for the year. The catch was that they needed to think in terms of Christ’s mission in the world. Too often we get caught up in our own agenda and not with Christ’s agenda. I wanted this group to be more than a group of people meeting to talk about money and little projects around the church. I wanted them to think of themselves as a ministry team…working to advance Christ’s mission in the world. I want to move away from a business meeting model to a ministry meeting model (I am still trying to formulate this new model).
Anyway…after the brainstorming session the small groups choose their top 3 or 4 goals they came up with and shared them with the whole council. The goals that the groups came up with were great. Some of them include: (1) Reach out to the inactive members and the new people moving to town; (2) get more people involved with worship (especially the children); (3) pray more; and (4) read the Bible more. There were other good ones as well, but these jumped out to me…with the addition of one other…
…one of my parishioners/council members said as a goal “Install an air conditioner in pastor’s office” (currently I am without A/C). Of course I thought that was a great idea. Then the person who was writing these goals on the white board asked (with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye) “How does that advance Christ’s mission in the world?“. To that question another responded, “It helps with pastor’s sermon writing process.” [The next comment made me laugh] To that response, my parishioner writing on the board said (with still a smile on her face and a larger twinkle in her eye), “Sermon writing…I read his blog, he writes his sermons down at Coffee Choices.” Everyone laughed. I guess I had that coming…bye bye, A/C 🙂
Oh well…that is a small price to pay for the privilege of working with such a great and talented group of people with a mission focus and a heart for Jesus. And I hope this doesn’t sound like I am sucking up to get my A/C because what I said is true. What is important is Christ’s mission. But if my comments help get me A/C, then so be it. Who am I to say that A/C in the pastor’s office is not part of Christ’s mission 🙂
P.S. Did I tell you how AWESOME my church council is 🙂