Pastors and volunteers rely on one another to make ministry happen at local churches, but how does a successful relationship work? At Sardis Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, Rev. Katie Harrington, associate pastor for families, and Kelly Hames, a ruling elder, have a vital partnership that enhances the children’s ministry at their church.
God knows my strengths and my weaknesses, and yet here I am. I have faith that I am playing a role in God’s plan for our congregation, regardless of my inability to see around the corner.
“But I’m just a layperson, how am I equipped to answer that call?” God doesn’t pay attention to the “just.” He/She gave each of us particular gifts and calls us to use them, regardless of whether we think we’re up to the task.
All of these suggestions, simple though they be, will establish a relationship that will serve you and your pastor well. If the time comes when either of you feels a need to provide constructive criticism, you will have the mutual respect that allows the exchange.
While the church works its best when we work together in mutual ministry, there are, and have been, and will be bumps along the road. After all, we’re humans working together in relationships that are unlike any other: we’re pastor and parishioner – which can mean muddied waters sometimes.
There I am watching the election of our new co-moderators at the General Assembly this past June, seeing a teaching elder and ruling elder elected as co-moderators. They said they were a reflection of the shared leadership of the Presbyterian church. As they stood together on the stage, I pondered the relationship between those who are pastors and those who are not, and how indeed they do share together in the work and wonder of the church.
God has called you to the most monumental of tasks: being nothing more and nothing less than the Body of Christ in this time and your place. And yet… God already sees in you the gifts and abilities to accomplish this task well. Trust God by trusting yourself. And enjoy the ride.
This truth I live causes me to reflect on two important questions that every leader and leadership body should be asking: Who has been included in leadership? Whose voices, perspectives, and insight are not being heard?
I’m going to make an assumption: like me, you learned this First Law of Motion as a phenomenon of the science of physics. Well, I’m going to suggest something else: Newton’s First Law of Motion is equally a phenomenon of apostolic mission.
Whether paid or volunteer, the work of faith formation leader is never easy. Our voices are not magnified by the pulpit, or empowered with a vote. The following are eight things that those of us involved in the ministry of faith formation want church leaders to know.