Together with the pastor, elders are called to be shepherds of the flock, their congregation. When they are ordained to serve, they are charged to “be a friend and Christlike example to children. Give clear and cheerful guidance to young people. By word and example, bear up God’s people in their pain and weakness, and celebrate their joys with them” (Form for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons). They are to encourage all generations, and to give spiritual leadership.
Many workshops offered at Inspire 2019 will encourage and equip elders in their leadership calling, with ideas for family faith formation, help with managing conflict, reminders to connect to God in prayer, and lessons in congregational renewal.
Join us at Inspire 2019, happening August 1-3 in Windsor, Ont.! The event is designed to help volunteers and leaders of all sorts in congregational ministry to connect, discover new resources, share ideas with other leaders and learners, and together worship our good God.
The following are some of the workshops that elders may find helpful, and there are many others to choose from on the Inspire site!
- Elders: Growing Grace, Truth, and Hope in Ourselves and Others - The thought of serving as an elder can be daunting to some, wearisome to others, and in some cases, a mystery altogether. Maybe you thought that being an elder was about going to meetings, knowing some theology, or dealing with messy situations. Then, when you got into office, you realized that being an elder was both much more and much less than you expected. Might there be some kind of trail map for elders that can serve as a compass to help them maintain their bearings? This workshop will explore what lies at the heart of an elder’s role -- serving as a traveling companion for followers of Jesus. It will also talk about how this role impacts others and the elders themselves.
- Rediscovering Servant Leadership - For various reasons, some leaders respond negatively to the term “servant” to describe leadership. On the other hand, some servants do not acknowledge or think of themselves as a “leader.” How can we embrace and own “servant leadership” regardless of our history, culture and experiences? Sometimes we need to be reminded of what does it mean to be a "servant leader." We will explore Jesus’ example of servant leadership to strengthen our own leadership and embrace raising up future servant leaders in our homes, ministries and communities.
- The World is Changing - The world around us is changing! Many of our churches are struggling, and the old fixes aren't working. We're reflecting our neighbourhoods less and less, and even the "old faithful" are waning in their commitment. This workshop will explore what's going on, what kinds of adaptive change are necessary, and what a shift of focus from pew to neighborhood might entail.
- A Practical Theology for Children’s and Youth Ministry - Everything we do as congregations flows from theological foundations. When these foundations are not built well, the “houses” built on it cannot stand. This workshop will describe how to build a strong foundation for life through your children’s and youth ministry.
- Just Show Up Gatherings for Connective Learning & Growing - "Just Show Up" gatherings use audiobooks and audio drama Bible to build community groups at churches, workplaces and families. It's a simple and effective way to learn and grow together. Through communal reading of scripture and various audio-book resources, you will have the "Just Show Up" experience and implement this with your ministry. In partnership with Grace & Mercy Foundation, over 100 groups have been formed within CRC using this method. Free books and audio Bible resource will be passed out during this session.
- Listening Prayer - Hearing from God makes prayer a two way relational conversation rather than a monologue.This workshop will help people to see how the Lord is speaking to them through God's still small voice, pictures, Scripture, visions and more.
- A New Partnership for Congregational Renewal - The Reformed Partnership for Congregational Renewal is a new combined effort of the RCA and CRC. It offers congregations an approach to renewal that includes prayerful discernment of what is needed, collaboration that catalyzes innovation, and resources from both denominations that can help congregations be revitalized for ministry. This workshop will teach participants about this effort and answer questions about how it might be useful for your church.
- Family Faith Formation: At Home and In Community - Research shows that the home is the most significant religious influence in the faith lives of kids. Are we, as churches, equipping and encouraging our families well? In this session you’ll get tools to help your congregation create a vision for family faith formation that builds on family strengths, is nurtured through everyday practices at home and is formed community.
- Conflict as Opportunity: Learning the Colossian Way - This session offers you a tool for developing Christian virtue while you work on complex and divisive issues. The way we look at problems in the church often affects our posture toward one another. This workshop exposes the way our default approach to complex issues (such as sexuality or politics) actually works against our unity. When we learn to apply a “wicked problems” approach instead, it allows us to move toward each other as we work on the issue - loving one another, loving God and making progress on the problem at the same time.
- Comeback Churches - Research shows that over time most churches plateau and then eventually decline. This is holding true in North America, where the population has increased by 15 percent since 1991, and the number of "unchurched" people has increased by 92 percent. This workshop will look at the research and describe some methods being used by churches to achieve healthy growth after a significant season of decline.