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Getting less organized is the theme of the chapter of a recent book by Tony Robinson: ”Changing the Conversation”. Robinson explores a new way many churches are going about the work of being the church—using flexible teams. Instead of having rigidly defined committees and boards set in the bylaws with a set number of seats, terms, and membership requirements, teams are a flexible group of people who come together with a common interest or purpose. People are invited to join teams doing work that excites them. The idea is to help people work in areas where they feel a sense of God’s call and have skill, passion, or giftedness. Teams are not nominated. They volunteer and recruit others to join them. They are informal and flexible and result oriented.
Sometimes teams are very short commitments—coming together once to address a certain task or project—such as an project or a fundraiser. Others work on an ongoing basis in an area of common concern—such as visitation or environmental concerns. Robinson comments that “the job of laity is not to manage the church, but to do the work of the church….. If purpose is in place and is powerful, the organization will get sorted out. If purpose is not in place, if we don’t know why we’re here or what we’re trying to accomplish, we can work on structure and organization until the cows come home and it won’t amount to much.”
We have been exploring moving to a team based structure for about 18 months. We have been experimenting with teams in the areas of fundraising and our Mission 4/1 Earth team. At Annual meeting, the Congregation will be presented with a proposal to suspend committee structure for a year in order to work in a new team structure. There will be a governing board to oversee and mange the church. There will be “Core Ministry Teams” that are organized around our mission statement: Hospitality, Worship, Faith Formation, Mission & Service, and Generosity & Finance. And then there will be “Flexible Teams’ – groups that come together in areas for which we have a passion and calling. (The full proposal will be in the Annual Report.)
This will be a year of exploration—finding a new way to be church together. It is our prayer that it will be Spirit driven and that it will help more people be involved in a way that suits their gifts and life style.
Please be praying about this, talking about it, and thinking about it in preparation for Annual Meeting on June 8!
Michael S. Piazza is a spiritual visionary, author, and social justice advocate who currently serves as senior pastor of Virginia-Highland Church in Atlanta, Georgia, a congregation dually affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the United Church of Christ. He also is the co-executive director of the Center for Progressive Renewal, a non-profit, Atlanta-based church development organization that primarily services UCC congregations, as well as President of Hope for Peace and Justice, a non-profit organization aimed at progressive-leaning people of various religious faiths. Read the rest of this entry »
This Sunday, we are celebrating “Silver Lake Sunday” in worship. Most of us have been to Silver Lake on retreat or to camp, so we would like to you to be part of the celebration! Wear your t-shirts or sweatshirts if you have them or other Silver Lake gear. There will be a moment for those who want to share what they like about Silver Lake. We will be singing camp songs. (I need some help leading “I am a C”!)
Meanwhile, Silver Lake has some fun winter/spring weekends going on if you want to sign up. For grades 6-8, there is Maple Syrup making weekend. There is also “Spring Action” coming for High School. Go to www.silverlakect.org for more information.
Camp sign ups are now in progress.
And don’t forget our own retreat to Silver Lake coming May 16-18! Time to register is now! See Pastor Paige if you lost the form we mailed out.