Growing Leaders Growing Leaders
posted on September 24
Growing Leaders Growing Leaders
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. -Colossians 2:6-7
This morning we had our Fall 2020 Clergy Meeting. What was usually a friendly autumn reunion with Holy Communion was yet another Zoom meeting. We all felt the heaviness of that, but we rejoiced in the ability to gather 120+ brothers and sisters into the same spiritual space and to worship in spirit and in truth. I appreciated the gentle presence of our Northern Piedmont Clergy Officers and the consistently faithful offerings of our gifted district staff.
It goes without saying that all our clergy are living on a steep learning curve. Most of them go to bed at night thinking of the next best way to connect, and many of them probably dream about improving websites, mastering livestream worship, and the best ways to offer care tomorrow. We were indeed trained for an in-person ministry in an in-person world.
God is offering us all an opportunity to grow during this time – to grow in our openness to new ways to reach people, to grow in our understanding of the church as a community force that is well more than a worship service, and to grow in our appreciation of God-honoring technology.
When I was a kid, I thought “going to church” was going to worship. That was all it was. It took me years to discover that the church is a powerful Body – well more than a building, far more than one weekly event. As has been said many times before, it wasn’t a fortress. It is a force. A pandemic certainly can’t keep it down.
In fact, a pandemic may actually help to open it up, by opening up the minds and hearts of all of us who offer leadership to it. The pandemic has helped the church to finally outgrow its hatred of technology. The screen is no longer our enemy; it is our connection. We are grateful for spaces that have cameras, and we no longer identify screens as the enemy of the Gospel.
I have also heard many stories of your goodness to one another during this time. I enjoy seeing your much improved websites, your attention to your church’s Facebook page, and your creative ways of telling your church’s story. I love your positive church signs, sharing encouraging words and links to online worship. Any given Sunday I can watch a dozen of you at work for the Gospel within the course of a few hours. All week long, you are sharing live devotionals, asking “how can I pray for you today?” and delivering needed supplies in the community.
While media platforms continue to create opportunities for division (If you have not seen “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix, please take time to watch it), our Gospel continues to speak unity. Jesus’ most passionate prayer was that we would be “one” for the sake of the Gospel. After he prayed for his first disciples to be one, he prayed this on our behalf:
I ask not only on behalf of these,
but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word,
that they may all be one. (John 17:20)
He’s talking about us. He’s talking about the legacy that we will leave, too, for the next generation of Christians. I encourage you to tell the good stories, practice the spiritual discipline of patience, and give yourself room to grow. Growing is hard work. Ask a little kid. Watch her learn a new skill. There’s frustration as a child begins the task, but fluency and mastery do come. Their growing pains are real. As we are gentle with them, we should be gentle with each other.
Clergy, be gentle to your laity. Laity, be gentle with your clergy. Clergy, be gentle with one another. Laity, be gentle to one another. We are all growing leaders growing leaders.
In that spirit, I invite your responses to this quick survey that will help us plan our January 2021 Equipping Seminars here in the Northern Piedmont District. We are ALL growing leaders growing leaders.
Growing with you,