HAVING THE CONVERSATION
If all the churches in the presbytery had a healthy relationship with their clergy and each congregation felt supported by the presbytery in the exercise of their ministry, what a witness we could make to the world. The truth is that we don’t live in such a world. However, there are some steps that we can take that may contribute to the promise of a healthy relationship between church and clergy and among the community of Christians known as Presbyterians.
In a previous blog, we talked about how the session might build on their promising relationship with a new pastor. In this blog, I want to suggest some directions that the conversation with the potential new pastor might take.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
As with the congregation, we recognize from the beginning that all relationships hold positive potential and also will encounter pockets of resistance that must be addressed. As you converse, in addition to seeking information, you want to build a relationship with the new pastor.
- As you consider your call by God to ministry, what are some of the main aspects of that call for you in any church you would feel called to serve?
- What particularly attracts you to this specific church?
- What would be your first three objectives as you begin work in this church?
- What type of resistance might you anticipate as you begin your ministry in this new church?
- What are the best ways you have discovered to respond to those types of resistance?
our relationship as Presbyterians to the larger church.
- What current concerns do you have for our denomination?
- What are the strengths you see in our denomination upon which you think we can build?
- What would be your ideal vision of how your church and the presbytery should relate?
- What two or three ways do you want presbytery to support you and your congregation during this first year?
- If someone in presbytery hears of a possible issue in your church, how do you want them to respond?
BRIEF BIBLE STUDY
- We are quite concerned about the divisions that are happening in our denomination. With that in mind, if you were to preach to presbytery on 1 Corinthians 1:11-13, what would be some of the points that you would consider making. “For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul.”
GOD WORKS WITH HUMANS
While such a conversation will not guarantee a good relationship with church or presbytery, it might build a foundation for the future of your relationship. Presbytery, like congregations and the clergy, consist of humans with strengths and weaknesses. Paul suggests in 1 Corinthians 1:7, “so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
IT’S IMPORTANT THAT WE LEARN HOW TO BUILD A SPIRITUAL TEAM THAT REVEALS HOW CHRIST IS EXPRESSED IN OUR DIVERSE FAITH AND ONE BODY.