A Teaching Elder in our Presbytery shared with me last week that the nominating committee had left a couple messages “certainly asking me to serve.” I asked if they had mentioned anything specific. This person said, “No, but I think I’m going to say no. I think I have to.”
I surprised myself when I quickly responded with, “You can’t.” (pause) “Not this year. You can’t say no this year.” And then, of course, I back peddled a little bit saying, “of course you can. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to tell you what to do. But honestly, we really need you to say yes this year. Say yes to something. Maybe not what they were asking but find a way to say yes.”
I pulled out my smart phone and looked up the working document that will be our new organizational chart for the presbytery and I started offering suggestions to this person.
The work that the Transition Task Force has been doing contains some fairly significant adaptive changes. The new organizational structure alongside the way we have already begun to do business will yield for us a streamlined business model. Within each committee or working group, there is ample room for self-definition, meaning teams can determine how they will work with one another. Teams will determine the workload various people can take/can’t take. Teams can and will determine work based on gifts and abilities.
Even for the committees that may have seemed daunting in the past (like CPM and the 30 some seminary students under our care) have been given tremendous freedom in our new plan of Presbytery to do business in new ways. Meet remotely? Check. Meet in subcommittees? Check. Report to Presbytery through video, blog, consent agenda? check. check. check.
The primary changes to the new Plan of Presbytery have been made with an understanding that we trust the people on committees or working groups to work on our behalf and in our best interest. The structure is open and transparent, allowing our leadership to be accessible to the whole and the whole to be accessible to the leadership.
This is the year that we need to find a way to say “yes” to one another. This is the year where we are honest about the gifts we have and we figure out a way to serve one another with those gifts.
I’ll let you in on another conversation I had with yet another Teaching Elder. We were talking about how one of the needs on COM is for folks who have experience with difficult transitions that require hard conversations. Well this person has that experience but serving on COM has always seemed a bit too much. To reflections like this, I say again, “this is the year to say yes. Figure out how to say yes. Get on COM and help structure the committee the way that best works in your schedule and the best interest of the churches. This is the year where we are going to see those changes enacted.”
If you’re still reading – I’m not talking to someone else. I’m talking to you. This is the year that we need to find a way to say yes to one another.