Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And the Nominees are. . . (Dialogue Column 8-26-08)

The Dialogue is the newsletter of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in St. Joseph, MO. Often, I'll post here on the blog my columns for the weekly newsletter. I mention it just so that folks who read the snail-mail version can skip this post if they've already read it.

No, I am not talking about an awards show or even about the political conventions currently going on. I am talking about nominations for positions of church leadership here at First Christian. It is almost that time of year again when the nominating committee will soon meet to put together our list of committee chairs and vice-chairs who will serve on the administrative board and lead our church in 2009 and beyond. Some terms will be ending, others will begin and still others will continue. It is crucial that all who take positions of leadership be ready to commit or re-commit themselves to the task of discerning where God is leading our church and what new ministries God is asking us to undertake. With that in mind, I would like to offer the following suggestions to our membership.

  1. God has called you to be a part of this church. This is the community of faith that should be connecting you with the Kingdom of God as it is being revealed in our world. This is the place for you to make an eternal difference. If your work in this church is just one more commitment in a stack of commitments that leave you drained and overwhelmed, then something needs to change.

  2. This is God’s church, and it is your church. On the one hand, this is God’s church, so it is not the place for petty fiefdoms where people are allowed to exercise control because they need to feel important. On the other hand, it is your church and therefore you are important because God has called you to step up and take responsibility for it.
    Church is supposed to be exciting. God is at work through us—that is exciting. This is your chance to respond to where God is leading you and to help make First Christian into the kind of church that reflects your understanding of God; a strength of our church is that you have the freedom to do just that.

  3. You may need to let something go. Perhaps you cannot commit to a position of leadership in the church, because of other commitments outside of the church. Some of them are necessary and essential but some of them may not be. Be aware of God’s nudges as to what you should do.

  4. You may need a break. One member who is not serving in leadership this year recently said to me that she thinks everyone should take a year off from taking a leadership role, because sometimes you just need to go to church and not be busy. In a church our size, it is easy for people to get stuck in the same positions for long periods of time. Usually this is justified by the mistaken belief that says, “If I don’t do it, no one else will.” If the task is necessary, someone else will take it up. If no one else does, could it be that the task is not essential?

  5. It is okay to say no. There are always times in a person’s life when the demands of family, work and self-care leave no time for further commitments. Serving in your church is supposed to bring you joy and to give you spiritual energy that fills the rest of your life with joy. It is not supposed to be one more burden on top of other burdens. I believe it is better for a person to say “no” than to agree to serve and do so resentfully or fail to do the work needed by the church.

I hope you will keep these points in mind as you prayerfully consider the way God would have you connect with the sacred and important work of First Christian Church. .

Grace and Peace,


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