A Step of Discernment – Defining Reality Part Three

In the previous two posts we looked at naming how the council works together. What is the culture that shapes the council? Is it strategic, corporate, managerial, etc.?

Alongside of naming this reality is naming what’s expected of council members. What are the spiritual practices expected of council members? What kind of life do we expect council members to live in the marketplace, the non-profit, the home, and so on? Are there these kinds of expectations or are we only looking for people who will serve, who have some skill set, and who have some kind of standing in the congregation—whatever that may be? Are we looking for business people who know how to manage things? For administrators? For long time members? For the successful young business person with whom everyone is enamored? For those who can give substantial amounts to the church budget?

What is expected of council members?

In both the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church, we can spell out some of what’s expected through forms for ordination. For example, the CRC ordination form says, “These tasks of elders and deacons call for believers who are Christlike, who are mature in the faith, and who exercise their offices with prayer, patience, and humility.”

The RCA’s prayer for ordination includes these words: “Grant them wisdom, courage, discretion, and benevolence, that they may fulfill their charge to the glory of Jesus Christ.”

Both the CRC and RCA reflect the desire for a certain kind of person to provide leadership in the church.

Defining reality calls on councils to ask if this is actually the kind of person they are seeking or are there other rules and other expectations that trump what our forms of ordination lay out?

So, what is true of your council? What are the three top qualifications for being a member of the body that leads the church?

What if there is another way of looking at the work and calling of the church council?

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