Transforming from Members to Disciples by Susan Kennedy
Below you will find a diagram representing the evolving new structure concept. Circles represent clusters of Ministry Teams with similar missions. Within each circle are examples of the teams included in each cluster. In the center is the Leadership Team consisting of Pastor, Moderators, Clerk, and a Liaison to each of the clusters. The Liaisons keep communication flowing among the teams in their cluster and to and from the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team holds up the Vision of the church, deliberates issues that arise, authorizes new initiatives, works with the Budget Development Team to prepare a budget to be approved by the Congregation, and keeps things running smoothly. The Leadership Team is elected by the Congregation. Meetings are open for all to attend, just as Council meetings are now.
Within the clusters, the Ministry Teams set their own purpose, schedule and agenda. Some are very permanent, such as Called to Care; others will do a project and be done, such as the 300th Anniversary Team. All are accountable to make their meeting times and places public, choose a contact person, keep in close communication with their Cluster Liaison, collaborate with other teams in their cluster, work for a purpose in keeping with the Vision of the church, and support their members on their spiritual journeys.
Members and Friends have more opportunity to give input at frequent Congregation Gatherings. They may choose a team to “try out” to see if it suits their gifts and sense of mission and work creatively with other church members for a short or long time as appropriate to the task. They are better able to incorporate church within their lives as the changing seasons of their lives permit.
The Restructuring Team has presented the concept at two Congregation Gatherings after church, at Council and Executive Committee meetings, and has been attentive to comments and emails. Now we are ready to see how it works. We hope by this fall to have pro tem Cluster Liaisons at work, so that we can begin the transition from the representative Council structure to the vision-oriented Leadership Team. By the Annual Meeting next February, working together we will further refine the concept and vote on acceptance of a trial structure.
Why, you may ask, do we have to endure all this change? It’s about much more than creating a streamlined, flexible structure. It’s really about relating to each other not as Members on a Committee, but as Disciples on a Journey. It’s about freeing up time to focus on doing Jesus’ work in the world and creating space when we meet to encounter the Holy. It’s about thinking of all aspects of our lives as Spiritual Practice, setting our actions and decisions within the framework of our relationship to God. No kidding, this is hard work which most of us aren’t very good at on our own. We need each other’s help to become the Spirit-filled, justice-seeking, peace-loving, earth-protecting, compassion-giving Beloved Community that God hopes for us to become. Let’s get started!