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The Ministry of Healing and the Work of Elder

Confession of sin is part of the healing process. It's important to note that this does not mean that a particular sin was the cause of sickness.  It does mean that when we come before the Lord with a request on our lips we also prepare to enter into the presence of God. Coming before the Lord is not a “right,” but a gift of the Lord.  

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The Elder, Worship and the Church Order

The question has been raised about the elder’s role in the governance of worship... It is important for council to establish some guidelines in the area of worship if they are delegating responsibly.  In my experience, very little of this is written down in a policy manual.  The guidance happens through conversation and, at times, complaint.

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Blog
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The Praying Elder

What good is it to say (paraphrasing James 2:16) “I will pray for you” when we do not provide the support which is within our means? Sometimes we are the answer to the prayer.

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Article
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Pastoral Care, Homosexuality and the Elder

Increasingly, church communities are seeking new ways of living in community with countless people for whom the role “heterosexual, married with children” does not apply. How do we talk about the pain, the struggle and the violence (physical and verbal) that has accompanied the journey of many among us? 

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Blog
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Fearing Rightly

Fear needs to be rightly trained. Fear needs to be disciplined by the guidance of the triune God and experience of deep love.  Much of what we fear displays a mistrust of God’s guidance and direction.  Much of what we fear reveals the inadequacy of the love in community. This past synod (June 2011) reveals many conversations we need to have.

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Change, People and Systems

Redemption is change.  Change is hard.  Even God thought the cross was the only way.  Sometimes it seems to me despite Jesus words that anyone who wishes to follow him needs to take up the cross, we prefer to escape it.  We would rather take a pill. 

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Good Listening

Perhaps one of the hardest activities of all is listening well.  Miroslav Volf in his book Allah: A Christian Response writes that in every conversation of two people there are seven present.  Me and You.  My image of you and your image of me.  My image of myself and your image of yourself.  The seventh is God. 

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Discussion Topic
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Membership - Again

Would it be possible to create something like a "covenant membership" with those who for one reason or another cannot become full member of our churches so that they can vote and be in leadership?

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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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Blog
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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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Blog
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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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Blog
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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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Q&A
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How can the church most effectively meet the pastoral care needs in the congregation?

Our church has been struggling with finding people to stand for the office of pastoral elder for years now, which is likely a problem encountered in many churches. Currently all our members are assigned to a Care Group with 1 elder and 1 deacon, with an expectation that the elders conduct an annual home visit. Two years ago we also introduced small groups, some of which are led by the same people, but not all. At any rate we have some overlap and as part of our visioning process which we're presently engaged in, we are looking at this overlap, at church leadership structures in general, as...
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