Mid Councils Newsletter, January 26, 2015
Just before Christmas, the Pope blasted the leadership of his church, naming fifteen issues that are difficulties at the heart of their life together. As I read his list, I thought about how these might apply to the PC(USA) at any level. Look at them and see if any these sound familiar in your own ministry or among the leadership of the mid council you serve. If you see yourself in this mirror, how will you address these issues for yourself and your leadership in 2015? (And remember, if you decide to bring them up, it is a lot easier to dismiss a presbytery or synod leader than it is to dismiss a Pope who names hard truths, so tread carefully!)
- Feeling immortal, immune, or indispensable.
- Working too hard.
- Letting yourself become spiritually or mentally hardened.
- Planning too much (and never actually doing anything).
- Working without coordination among the various parts of the organization.
- Having “Spiritual Alzheimer’s,” which he defined as forgetting our initial encounter with Christ.
- Being rivals with other leaders or being boastful.
- Exhibiting existential schizophrenia, by which he meant abandoning the pastoral ministry for pure bureaucracy.
- Glorifying one’s bosses. (There is a less glamorous term for this that involves a color and a part of your face.)
- Being indifferent to others.
- Showing funereal face—again, he said this is the opposite of the way we should look as Christian leaders, which is polite, serene, enthusiastic, happy, and transmitting joy.
- Wanting more.
- Forming closed circles that seek to be stronger than the whole (as in, “our particular part of the church is the only one that really works”).
- Seeking worldly profit and showing off.
After writing the list, I was going to go back and then say “I see myself in nine of them or twelve of them” or whatever. But, as I review them, I would have to say that there have been times in my administrative ministry when all of those things have been true of me. Perhaps you are in the same boat. Maybe the best we can do as we work through the first part of 2015 and move toward Lent and Easter is to identify one or two of these things that we will strive to lay aside, at least for a season, and see what difference it might make as we do our work. Will people notice? Only time will tell.
From Presbytery of San Gabriel:
Please keep Elder Margy Wentz, her husband the Reverend Tom Wentz, and their family in your prayers. Margy suffered a stroke during a medical procedure on Saturday. The stroke has left her paralyzed on her left side and has affected her speech. Margy is a member of Pasadena Presbyterian Church, has been very active in our presbytery, and was the stated clerk for the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii for many years. May God grant Margy and her family peace and healing in this time of trial.
The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area is searching for a transitional executive presbyter to serve for a three-year term. The MIF is posted on CLC. If you know of someone who you think should consider this position, we would appreciate your sharing this information with them. The synod office is administering the search, so you can also refer anyone interested to Mary Kes (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional information. The deadline for dossiers and supplemental questions to be received in the synod office is February 16, 2015.
Big Tent 2015
University of Tennessee Conference Center
July 30–August 1, 2015
Experience that deep sense of community one would expect at a national gathering of Presbyterians—a great big family reunion! Join us for a wide variety of workshops, all under one Big Tent, a conference that will inspire and equip Presbyterians to live missionally. Click here for more information.
Preachers for Worship Services Include:
Laurene Chan, Director of Youth Ministries, Cameron House
San Francisco Theological Seminary
Paul Roberts, President
Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary
Jana Childers, Professor of homiletics and Speech Communication
San Francisco Theological Seminary