5.05.2008

God and a Broken Church

The elders and staff of our church had a retreat yesterday afternoon, to discuss among other things ways that we can communicate better, within our respective groups and across groups and to the congregation at large.  Session/Staff miscommunications are to be expected; having worked for a non-profit for ten years and then joining its board, I can't tell you how many times I heard (and I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times I said) things like, "The board doesn't get where we're coming from" or "the staff doesn't get where we're coming from."  Plus we as a church have been blessed with some real pillars over the years, you know those people that just do everything and hold stuff together; so we're only now realizing that formal and intentional policies and infrastructure are necessary for a healthy and communicative organization. 

All well and good, and as one who has seen a lot and read a lot in the realm of organizational issues, I can certainly say we have a ways to go; I was glad people could call out our weaknesses, and appreciated when people had good ideas to fix them.  But I have to say that much of the conversation was difficult; I couldn't help but consider ways in which I have participated in the problem.  I have poorly communicated, I have not listened well, I have not considered the needs and perspectives of others when going about my business.  And our retreat brought to light the consequences of my errors and the errors of others: dysfunction, hurt, mistrust, and less than what we could be as a force for God in our community.

I could not stay until the end, so I do not know how we tied up our dialogue; but I know that one thing I feel I need to do is repent and ask for help.  I have sinned and will likely continue to sin; I cannot do it without help, and will continue to need help.  Thankfully, God is still in the business of using sinners to minister to other sinners, and sinful entities to minister to a sinful world.  We have a ways to go before we are a healthy organism; but well before we get there, we can experience God's goodness and manifest it to those around us.  Let's pray so for Woodland Church.
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