Encouraging, Challenging and Equipping Congregations to Thrive Spiritually and Be Apostles for Reconciliation

Encouraging, Challenging and Equipping Congregations to Thrive Spiritually and Be Apostles for Reconciliation


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We all drink the Koolaid of Our World View

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We all drink the "Koolaid" of our own world view . . .
Yesterday Governor Inslee from Washington State declared his candidacy for president. His platform is Climate Change which he believes is the root of many of the world's economic, political and social problems – which is why that is his only platform issue.
I have been thinking about PCUSA’s world view in general and the Presbytery of Baltimore’s in particular. What kind of “Koolaid” are we drinking - if we are drinking the same beverage at all? For the most part we are all in line with the basic tenets of the reformed faith. We use the Book of Order for most things and we support our long-standing traditions of forming committees!
However, we are becoming more contextualized in our ministries and what was a "given" about support of the Presbytery (tithe, time and talent) is now shifting (as J. Herbert Nelson would say) from “Institution to Movement”. Congregations save many of their resources, human and otherwise, for the work in their churches. Our Presbytery’s collective work, though impressive, is being accomplished by fewer and fewer people.
At the intersection of the rank and file, creeping congregationalism, competing world views and the emerging need for a different type of community engagement, is a call for a revised vision for our Presbytery. Even if we drink from different glasses, it should be the same flavor! 
I am not proposing to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but look again at whether our vision statement:
1) speaks to our congregations
2) asserts what is really happening, and
3) is a realistic reflection of our work in these times. 
We start with the question: what do you need from your presbytery



The Best Laid Plans

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This weekend I was watching a news program on Brexit – the United Kingdom’s plan to leave the European Union. When the vote was first taken there was much rancor, protesting, speeches, passion and politicking. Now almost two years later, it seems the UK has not figured out how to pull this off!
I’m not judging, this is a common problem, especially in the church. We have great plans, visions, and dreams. We go to meetings, conferences, convocations, trainings and produce lots of Session and Cabinet minutes and then…well it doesn’t happen exactly as planned.
We can’t give up. I believe our hearts and minds are in the right place but we often underestimate how much time it may take to get folks on board, raise money, set policy, develop procedures or simply map it out, whatever “it” is. I know, we are working on several exciting initiatives in the Presbytery that are taking some time to get going. Yet I see an opportunity!
This new year, take some extra time to plan out what you’d like to see happen in your congregation, ministries and maybe in your own life. Then begin the process of…well…following the process. With each big step, evaluate, then move forward again. Keep the goal in mind, but understand that there are twists and turns; new information may emerge and road blocks may appear. But you and I and we will get there! In fact success is in the journey, the discovery, the path. And don’t forget to pray. God will walk with us as we seek God’s will in all we do!
Happy New Year!
Posted by Robert Smith