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An Invitation to Transformation

In a given week there are probably more Christians listening to the words of Oprah than the words of God. More people probably pay attention to TV makeovers than pay attention to God’s invitation to transformation. Elders – in working for God – have a tough job.

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Transition Planning

Over and over again, I hear of elders – especially first time elders – struggling to get acquainted with the tasks before them.  Not everything can be overcome through good planning. Some tasks simply have to be done the first time in order to learn the dynamics of the ministry.  But there is no question that planning 

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Annual Review

As we head into May, we are approaching the end of the church year. Now is a good time to review the work of the past year. We usually like to gloss over this moment. After all, some are coming to the end of their terms of office and are fading out of the job. Others feel a little guilty about what they failed to do. Hopes and ambition 

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After Watching OF GODS AND MEN

Recently we watched a marvelous movie, Of Gods and Men.  It is a powerful story of a monastic community in Algiers that is caught up in the civil war of the 1990’s.  These monks were faced with question: do we stay in the community and continue our service among these people or do we do flee to the safety of France?

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Supervision or Feedback

Over the years I have noticed that many times the kind of supervisory conversations that take place on a council level, look more like feedback.  Supervision requires guidance.  Supervision suggests that there are standards to be met for which the supervisors are held accountable.   But in council, supervision is often handicapped. 

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Why Eldership Matters?

In speaking about the Japanese struggle with its nuclear reactors, Peter Goodspeed wrote “But the nuclear danger may also be a direct result of human hubris.” ( National Post · Mar. 15, 2011) I suppose at least part of the reason I paid attention to this comment is because of other reading I was doing. The book is named This Time is Different...

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Giving Each Other Cues

There will be times we are asked to rest, to be silent, to allow another voice to be heard. But if we don’t sing or play the part we have uniquely been given, someone else will miss their cue.

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Wounded Lovers

“Don’t worry about the wounds.  When I go up there, which is my intention, the big judge will say to me, ‘Where are your wounds?’ And if I say I haven’t any, he will say ‘Was there nothing to fight for?’”  

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Leadership and Organizational Structure

Having been part of many conversations on organizational structure, I know that each organization structure is a balancing of a variety of differing objectives and at times conflicting values.    The changes that are adopted depend on levels of trust within the community and the levels of anxiety that live within the organization...

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Who Delivers Pastoral Care?

Over the years, there have been shifts in the practices of the church.   At one time, the answer to the question was unambiguous.  Pastors gave pastoral care. But now...

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Why be an Elder? In Response to Wendy

Why is it that members of the congregation are not clamoring to serve in the office of elder? If everyone said this was a fulfilling and rewarding ministry, would we not have at least a few more people ready to embrace the work?  

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Stop: Do Not Pass By

Most of us are busy.  We hardly have time to keep up with the relationships around us. That is not surprising.  The simple math of relationships – family, friends, coworkers, church attendees and a host of other regular passing acquaintances – are enough.  With these we fail to keep up.  Most busy people are not looking for more. 

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Weight, Health and the Elder

It started when watching the reality TV series called “Village on a Diet” (CBC- Canada).  I had a fleeting thought about “church on a diet.”  I know it is the time of the year, but perhaps there is more...

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Covenant and Motivation in Church Life

I just finished hearing Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.  I couldn’t resist the title.  For those who confess that all people are “inclined toward all evil”, a book on irrational behavior might just provide an interesting take on the human heart.  And indeed it did.  

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The Home Visit: Preparation & Guidelines

Home visitation allows the office bearer to encourage spiritual development among members of the congregation. I prepared the following materials for the elders of my previous congregation to use as a guideline in making home visits.

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The Elder and Lord’s Supper

According to the church order,  “The sacraments shall be administered upon the authority of the consistory in the public worship service…”  and  “The Lord’s Supper shall be administered at least once every three months in a manner conducive to building up the body of Christ and in keeping with the teachings of God’s Word.”  While not providing details, there is some direction... 

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Listening

Thinking before you speak is harder than it appears.  Conversation is by nature reflexive:  you speak and I reply.  It is dialogue. But how is it possible that as soon as you finish speaking, I can begin replying...  

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Waiting

Waiting is hard. Especially in our culture of instant gratification. Waiting is an incubator of our hopes and fears. Waiting is a profound act of trust.  We wait because the most important action that can be taken is not one for us to make.  

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Rumors, Maturity and the Church

Rumors are necessary for church life.  Fact is, we could never keep up with our friends and neighbors in church if someone else did not share information about them. .... Still... 

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Pastoral Evaluations and the Elder

There is no doubt that the process of evaluation can be helpful in the growth of a pastor and in the mutual ministry of pastors and elders. Yet, it may get tricky for a whole lot of reasons. Let me pick up on two aspects of the dilemma. 

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75 Years

As a congregation, we just celebrated 75 years of existence.  It was a wonderful weekend.  We ate together, worshiped together, laughed together.  It was very good.  

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Wise to Elephants in the Room

No elder will ever get through a period in office without facing the dynamics of family dysfunctions. Understanding these dysfunctions help us gain relational wisdom in congregational life. It essentially comes down to a few questions.

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