Each month the Session of Christ Presbyterian Church meets to conduct it’s stated meeting. Nine women and men selected “by God through the voice of this congregation” meet to hope, dream, listen and lead.
I have been involved with Sessions for over twenty years. I first served as an Elder in my home church at the age of sixteen. I remember going to my first Session meeting with no illusion as to what we were to be doing. This was a board that was supposed to make management decisions for the church and we met for the purpose of oversight and budget accountability. When our Pastor was experiencing a divorce, we were the ones who had to “deal’ with it. I also was pleased to represent the congregation at Presbytery meetings where I enjoyed the form and function of Roberts Rules of Order.
In my first two calls, our Sessions ran in a very typical business management style. The Session was a board and they were charged with making decisions and the task of management. In recent years I have come to recognize that in these prior incarnations of leadership, something was missing. In all of these meetings we would bookend our management with prayer. We might have even stopped occasionally to pray about an important decision. Nevertheless, the reality of being a spiritual leadership body was often lost in the task.
When I arrived at Christ Presbyterian Church I made a commitment to myself and to God with regards to how I would lead Session. Having seen the folly of “management”-based leadership, I have sought to foster a spiritual leadership model. While a certain aspect of management is n
ecessary, it cannot be the place where the Session’s leadership begins.
The Session of Christ Presbyterian Church has benefited from framing our work in spiritual discipline rather than management tasks. I believe this has paid great dividends in our life together. When we join in our work together from a Spirit-lead place, we are led to Spirit-filled life. Presbyterians have done a great deal of thoughtful and practical work in the realm of church organization and management and our Presbyterian order has served us well. Yet, today I find myself wondering if we have paid more attention to our order rather than the Spirit’s order.
Last night the Session met and spent half of our time in devotion and discussion of spiritual journey with new members. We had a lot on our agenda, including final approval of the FY2011 budget, yet we weren’t in a rush to get down to business. Beginning our time together with Spirit led conversation sets the stage for everything else to follow to be Spirit filled.
I wonder what our lives would be if we followed this pattern? Could our daily life be led more fully by the Spirit if we started with our thoughts in a spiritual place? Have you ever prayed before a big meeting? Have you ever paused before making an important call and asked God to bless you with the right words?
Lent is a great “excuse” to try new disciplines. During this Lent I want to encourage you to explore some new spiritual disciplines. Perhaps it’s a brief moment of prayer or a devotional reading. It could be a pledge to make sure you speak a kind word to someone you love. I will be regularly posting some tools to begin your exploration to my blog, www.pastor.cpcfairfax.org. You might find a poem, Scripture reading, or video to jump start your spiritual reflection. I think you will find if you try it, you will be like Mikey in the old Life cereal commercials. “HE LIKES IT, HE REALLY LIKES IT!”