We’re a month and a half away from everyone’s favorite time of year, Charge Conference! I say that with more than a bit of sarcasm, because I know traditionally it is a time of extra meetings, paperwork, and unending busyness. At least, that’s how I tend to remember it.
Historically, churches used to have quarterly charge conferences (charge is just Methodist speak for a church or set of churches that are under a pastor’s appointment). Finances, committee reports, and all number of items of church business were brought up in these meetings. Down through the years it shifted to twice a year and now, simply once in the fall. And we are fortunate in the Central Texas Annual Conference, because most of the paperwork is entirely online!
Buried in all of these reports are far more than numbers and figures though. The forms and committee meetings and reports are ultimately a story of a church’s ministry over the last year and how we are equipping ourselves to do ministry in the coming year. And one of the committees, the Committee on Lay Leadership (sometimes referred to as the Nominations Committee) is vital to the life of each congregation. I freely confess that I have had a year or two in my ministry where I sought to simply fill in the blank. But the truth is, the leadership of our church on any number of levels can be hurt when we are not prayerful when moving forward with the task of who will serve on which committees.
You might be asking, “Pastor Don, what are some ways we all can help?”
1. I’ll be resending a spiritual gifts survey via e-mail this week, one that I understand was sent
a few months back when Rev. Cyr was here. I encourage you, if you have not already, to take it. It’s not exhaustive by any means. It will be one tool that can be helpful in discerning our gifts and abilities though.
2. Be in prayer for how you and others you know might serve. There’s a game I played in United Methodist Youth several years ago where everyone had a sheet of paper taped to their back. On the back of the paper everyone else was called to write affirmations of the gifts that person had that we saw in them. We were often shocked by what we did not know about ourself! I would encourage you as you pray for one another to affirm those gifts and let those people know.
3. We’ll have a survey coming out in the next few days asking if there are committees you might be interested in serving on. This does not mean that everyone who signs up will be on every committee. There are many puzzle pieces that have to be put into place. But all leadership books point to the enthusiasm and steadfastness of volunteers over people who just feel roped in.
4. Our Lay Leadership Committee will be meeting soon, and more than once to discern who can serve and how. One of the vows of United Methodist membership is service. While this certainly does not mean serving exclusively on committees, we understand that it is a part of what we agree to as United Methodists. Not everyone will serve in the same way. But please be prayerfully open, especially if I or a Lay Leadership Committee member calls you up.
Grace and peace,