It was a busy spring. For a variety of reasons there was no time on the schedule for a profession of faith class. So the elders taught the class. They said it was one of the best parts of their term as elder. It was a joy. So I asked myself, why have I reserved this part of ministry for myself?
About a year earlier, I had prepared powerpoint presentations covering topics I believed essential for those wishing to profess their faith and/or become members of the congregation (sometimes called a new members class). The slides were accompanied by notes. There was room to share, to teach and to lead people into a deeper reflection on belonging to Christ and his church.
But when the elders took hold of all this material and used it in conversation with those on the journey of membership, the conversation took on a new life. It helped elder’s share their faith and their story. And it made me wonder again. Have we given the elder’s enough opportunities to engage in this kind of ministry - a ministry of sharing our faith and sharing the congregation’s story in the context of those who are seeking to belong to Christ and congregation?
Elders have often said to me that one of the highlights of being an elder is listening to the testimony of those who want to become members of the community. Now they were given a chance to teach. And they found joy in their ministry.
I want elders to experience the joy of eldership. This is one task that they can do that challenges in a very positive way. So this summer one of my tasks is rewriting the material to make it even more elder friendly. My job after all is to prepare members for works of service. This is one. The elder’s job is to journey with members to maturity in Christ. This is one way for us to have joy in ministry together.
After this summer, I will place the material on the website as a resource. Look for it. Maybe you would like to share in the joy of this ministry. Why reserve it for a few? What better way to encourage than to participate in one of the most joyous ministries of the church?
All this makes me wonder: what is it that gives you joy in your ministry?