When we relate the Jesus stories to our economic behavior, we do not find obvious and easy applications. And so we act as a community of discernment - testing our answers and our applications together. We need each other for this vital task.
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You know there is a topic that NEEDS to be discussed. You WANT it to be addressed. And you KNOW it'll cause tension, stress and maybe bad feelings if you bring it up. What to do? Leaders in our congregations need to know how to help the membership deal with difficult topics in fruitful and safe ways. It can be
What would make a “persuasive listener”? Well, obviously it’s someone who has already listened well to God’s leading and is listening from within God’s presence. Listening from within God’s presence would attune me to the Spirit’s leading and discerning.
"Who today is the focus of [the deacons'] task? Our church order and ordination form emphasize the necessity of addressing widening circles of need that center in the congregation. Is this a good distinction for us to be making? Do we run the risk of ignoring greater needs because we see only
When it's transition time on the church council, how can it be as smooth and as affirming as possible? Relief for the tired retirees and honor for the incoming new members are just not adequate marks of transition! What does your council do to make transitions healthy and as pleasant as possible?
What should the church be doing, then, if government effort seems to have little effect, except maybe for providing ongoing relief? How should the church shape its own response? Can the church actually REDUCE poverty and dependence on programs that help? Even just in our neighborhood? Seems like that’s the ideal...
I was told that the synod and the classis don’t really exist. These are not organizations that exist over time; they were not intended to become pieces of bureaucracy. They only exist when they are in session. They are decision making bodies that are convened to do specific business, and then they go out of existence until the next one happens.
Here's an amazing story of transformation in one powerful paragraph! Stan Workman of Classis SEUS (no relation to the Doctor) wrote a testimony about his peer group’s experience and its effect on his classis. What’s so great is how many different people connected and
We're not alone in focusing on congregational health. What's not so clear is how "middle judicatories" like the classis figure in. I can't help but wonder - is the classis a potential key as we try to balance all the organizational dynamics we're trying to address?
What are the factors that can really help a classis experience positive change? I’ll be the first to say I’m no expert, but I’d like to put forth a few thoughts for discussion. OK, I know you’re going to ask, “Yes, but what IS a healthy classis?” What are its “essential” characteristics? How do you get there?
One of the best kept secrets about the CRC’s life as a denomination is that exciting changes are percolating at the classical level. We take it for granted that agencies are thriving and doing effective work. But exciting change at the classical level? Have you heard any recent buzz about that?
Would you agree that denominational leaders are sending a confused message to the church regarding the need for change? Could you imagine that not only are we experiencing a decline in numbers, but that church members are experiencing such poor quality of community life that it's difficult to invite new people in?