Monthly Archives: May 2012

Narcissism and Connectionalism

Here is an exercise in counter-cultural connectionalism. It is designed to allow both the elders of a session and the pastor to reflect together on the dangers and invitation of our connectionalism as a congregation. Remember that we are speaking of narcissism as the tendency to be too focused on the self, including the congregation as itself. The universe does not revolve around either the individual pastor or the individual congregation–or around the session.

To begin the reflection, provide each elder and the pastor with a four by eight card. On one side, Elders are to write 4-5 dangers of the congregation and or session shaping their decisions on what may advantage the congregation or session. The pastor is to write 4-5 statements of the danger of focusing too much on what benefits the pastor. Let each elder share his or her list and the pastor share his or her list. (This is a time of confession. There is benefit to verbalizing this for each other.)

With those lists in mind, now let both elders and pastor list on the other side of the card 4-5 blessings that might occur when our decisions are based on faithfulness to that which is larger than the self or the congregation. For the pastor, it is a time to reflect on how he can be blessed by his service to the congregation, the larger church, and the world. For the Session, it is a time to reflect on the blessings of the church when it basis its decisions on how the congregation might serve beyond itself.

One of the blessings of our connectionalism is that an individual might be part of something bigger than self as part of a congregation and a congregation might be part of something bigger than self in association with other congregations up to and including the world wide Body of Christ.