25 March 2009

THE ADVENTURES OF GRAYING PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: “Hey, guys, do we have a neat trip planned or what?”

“But how do we begin,” Red asked? Rex frowned and tiredly shook his head.

Red continued. “Rhetorical question, Pastor; just kidding. We start by training the session and the deacons. And the best way to do that is to get involved with the “Penn’s Woods Ministry Network.” A friend of mine is an elder at Frog’s Neck. He told me that PWMN is planning a joint leadership training weekend for the sessions and candidates for election as ruling elders of all three churches in a couple of weeks. I know that we would be welcomed into the Network and it would give our elders an opportunity to meet with, work with, and fellowship with some pretty astute church leaders.”

“Will that work?”

“Yeah, it will. The Kansas-Missouri Ministry Network recently did the same thing. I have friends at all four churches out there in God’s country, including a pastor who went through the war with me. The elders have all reported that it was one of the best ‘leadership’ events they have ever attended.”

“But will it work here?”

“Why not? The elders out in the plains went on to say that the content was very informative and useful, but it was the joint worship and fellowship with other believers that really excited them.”

Rex sighed. “Well, that sounds great, but how do we get our folks to agree? They see themselves as corporate officers, and they seem to think they have that down pat.”

“Yup, they do and they do. That is why they need the training. They need help in recognizing that they are not just bean counters. Anyone can “manage” the “business” of the congregation. But ordained leaders are charged with the spiritual nurture, development, and discipline of the congregation—and that takes training that most laymen do not have.”

“And you have the advantage there,” Red continued. “Use your pastoral prestige to remind them of their office and the responsibilities that come with it. Challenge them, and declare your expectations. This session respects you and your office. This is a time to use it for the benefit of Graying Pres.”

“All right, I’ll add that to the docket for next month’s meeting.”

"Sure, you can do that, but I think you will be wasting a grand opportunity. The training session at PWMN is scheduled in two weeks—before our session meeting. Why not call a special meeting of the session to get direction to join PWMN. Then hit them with your expectation that they will attend the training. Having agreed to join, they will be hard pressed to turn around and avoid using one benefit of membership.”

“And, by the way,” Red added. “This will give you membership in the Pastor’s Covenant Group. Just what you need, brother.”

“Darn, Red, but you do make it sound so easy.”

“Leadership doesn’t have to be hard. Enthusiasm is the key. If you demonstrate excitement and enthusiasm, they will pick up on it. When I was a Lieutenant at TBS, my small group discussion leader was the Staff Judge Advocate. He was a former infantry officer. One of his maxims was ‘Leadership is the art of telling people that we are going to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.’ You’ll be advertising a much more enjoyable adventure, don’tcha think?”

Well! Can Rex do it? Will the session agree? Will the Graying Pres leadership wake up to their responsibilities, setting off a blizzard in Hades? Join us next time for answers as we follow the adventures of Graying Pres.

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