In response to Old Lutheranâ€™s questions and Ecc 12, a few thoughts.
In Godâ€™s big picture, of course there is not that big of difference between June 7 & 11. Of course, God will straighten out the roads and rivers when God is good and ready.
But in the mean time we are called to be faithful, and some are called to faithfully lead. I have experienced good leadership and bad leadership, I imagine we all have, and there is a significant difference. I am hoping for good, faithful leadership come June 11th.
What does our synod need to focus on for the next six years?
Conversation, our synod needs a leader who will listen to people, find out where they are at, their hopes, dreams, fears. Then, discerning Godâ€™s call, lead them in the next steps towards serving God and our communities in the 21st century.
How about some good, healthy conversation at Fair Hills? Taking time to share our struggles and our strengths, time to listen to each other and empathize, time to encourage and pray for.
I think many of the synod pastors and congregations need a leader with gifts of encouragement and vision casting. There has been so much change in our culture and our congregations that many feel in-effective, overwhelmed and inadequate.
For those who are finding some success in reaching out and connecting the gospel to their congregations and community, they still need encouragement and support. A simple conversation and pat on the back would be great.
What are the characteristics that you think would make a good Bishop?
Leader: Someone who can paint a vision of hope and share with us a call from God for this time and place.
Encourager: To be able to listen well, lift up strengths, offer possibilities and challenge.
administrator: Someone who can figure out 1) where we are at and what we have (talents, skills, gifts, financial resources), 2) what God wants us to do with it all. and 3) how to do what God calls us to do.
God does not ask us to do anything he hasnâ€™t given us the gifts to accomplish. So often we compare ourselves to others and see all the gifts we donâ€™t have.
Instead, we need to see what God give us and then prayerfully discern our call with those gifts. A good administrator will see how to connect resources to needs, gifts to opportunities.
For example, the bridge-builders that Pastor Jill had trained in January. This is an excellent resource, not only conflict, but helping congregation have healthy conversations...a new constitution discussion, starting a new worship service, looking to re-configure a congregational arrangement.
BB are ready to go, they need to be publicized; used at wider events so people can get to know them, and then encourage their use.
Empower-er: a leader who recognizes he/she does not have all the gifts that the organization needs....nor the time and energy. Finds and lifts up those with the gifts, helps them use their gifts well, training and coaching, and then gets out of the way and allows them to do their thing serving God.
courage: a leader who can deal with stress, difficulties and disagreements head on and openly, with healthy, appropriate conversation. This is hard to do in the church, and yet we need it more than most places, because we deal with deeply, heartfelt issues. A good leader will see it as an opportunity to communicate better, build trust and help people grow in their faith.
Fiscally responsible: There is a decline in giving to synod and the wider church, perhaps because there is a decline in people hearing a clear mission and purpose. Institutions are viewed different today than 50 or 100 years ago, therefore they need communicate and function faithfully for this day and time.
Finally, we need a leader who will listen, help us discern a call, point us in a direction, can lead us step by step in that direction, can encourage/cheerleader as we take those steps and will display the qualities that we can trust and depend upon as a pastor for the pastors and congregations.
What questions should the Bishop candidate be asked?
How will they listen?
What do they see as our strengths and weaknesses?
What might God be calling our synod to next?
What are your fears for the ELCA and NWM synod?
What do you love about ministry? What do you dislike?