Saturday, January 07, 2012

Thoughts before a major event

There's a problem with serving in a church -- it can really strain your faith. In our Presbyterian Church, I'm one of the elders (it's an honorary term that has nothing to do with age, thank you). In addition to several committees, I'm also on the Personnel Committee.

In my denomination, (Presbyterian Church USA), all decisions are made by the Session (the ruling body made up of deacons and elders) -- with an important exception. The congregation votes on changes in the pastor's terms of call (salary plus perks).

Well, in December we gave the congregation our recommended change to the terms, and were sent packing with a counter-motion to return with more information. We were proposing a major change, and the primary reaction was sort of sticker shock.

Churches are assemblies of human beings, and unfortunately subject to the same dynamics. So we have petty politics and factions and all the nonsense that brings, well, unChristian behavior.

Tomorrow morning we'll make our presentation again, and none of us our looking forward to it. We've laid out our presentation, rehearsed it, run over it in our minds for the past three weeks -- but we don't know what the outcome will be.

And that's really where the problem is. Although we'll facing some folks hostile to our proposal, we need to remember that we're all part of the same church family. And if our proposal is defeated? Then we need to not hold a grudge, but accept the outcome with equanimity

And -- oh yes -- whatever happens tomorrow will be as God wills it. Who would have thought that such a great test of faith would occur inside the church?

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