I am blessed at Resurrection Lutheran Church to work with a great team. Yesterday we had a day-away planning session to look towards the coming year. The room was a buzz of ideas, reflections and possibilities. We laughed, prayed, ate and celebrated. What a joy to serve with such people as Betsy, Hannah, Sue, Sarah, Brad and Larry.
Team ministry has always been part of the church. Jesus chose twelve disciples to share in his ministry. In the early church, Paul worked with Barnabas on their first missionary journey through Asia Minor. Then Paul and Barnabas split and Paul worked with Silas and Timothy. They shared in the struggles and victories together.
To be a good team, there needs to be not only shared vision but also a deep trust in one another. We need to disagree and argue for the sake of the mission without hurting each other’s feelings. This can be challenging for some of us who think conflict means “you don’t like me.” Jesus challenged his disciples, yet loved them deeply. It is in the wrestling with ideas and priorities that we discover how God is at work and that we truly can trust and love each other. As Patrick Lencioni says in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, “Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team.”
I am so thankful for a staff that can challenge and improve my ministry; I pray that I can do the same for our team. We all want Resurrection Lutheran to be the best congregation possible, by becoming what God called us to be. And together the whole congregation can rise to meet the challenges and opportunities we face.
Lord Jesus, challenge us to become what you created us to be.
I am preparing for my first annual congregational meeting at Resurrection Lutheran which will be this Sunday. Annual meetings among pastors often have the reputation either of being boring, business-as-usual constitutional necessities or of being highly emotional and conflicted debates on peripheral or personality issues. As a pastor, I don’t want either extreme to happen, but I do pray that the Holy Spirit comes to work: to coax, push, pull and move the congregation towards God’s future. Discussion regarding a congregation’s priorities can be passionate and yet loving, for we share a common mission to trust, live and serve God.
The book of Acts has a lengthy account of a large church meeting in Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas brought a major concern to the whole church for discussion and debate. Their concern was whether new Gentile members to the church had to fully convert to Judaism before they could embrace Jesus. Since most of the early members of the church were Jewish and since Jesus was a Jew, many believed that Jewish laws should be upheld. Paul felt otherwise and a strong debate developed among the leadership of the church. What rules and regulations, if any, were needed? After a lengthy debate, the leadership wrote a letter to the many new Gentile believers, “It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from fornication” (Acts 15:28-29). What stands out is that they trusted the Holy Spirit to be part of the discussion. This was a matter of faith, since the Holy Spirit did not fly into the meeting like a dove and deliver a telegram from heaven. It was in the discussion itself that God’s Spirit worked.
I think every pastor hopes and prays that the Holy Spirit would be the key partner in any congregational meeting. The Holy Spirit is neither boring, nor highly emotional, but is trustworthy. The Spirit calls us to trust God in all things. That seems good to me!
How has the Spirit worked in guiding you and your life with other Christians?