Blog Post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation, but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. Book of Order G-2.03
The greatest challenge of our congregations is not financial, age, or theological location. The greatest challenge is a lack of religious imagination. Congregations that are struggling often are challenged to envision who God is calling them to be, how can they become a welcoming community (beyond donuts, cookies, and punch), and how to be a viable connected part of their community. Leadership is the key to a congregation’s future. We put great emphasis on pastoral leadership, as we should. But the leadership provided by ruling elders is the pipeline of vitality that runs throughout the congregation.
The upcoming Education Day is entitled Re-Imagine. Two of the workshops will focus directly on training of ruling elders. These two workshops are for newly elected elders, weather they have had training at their church or not. The other workshops focus on church growth, the use of digital media, leading during times of transition, becoming open and sensitive to the LGBTQ+ community, rebooting Christian Education, and using creative liturgy. We’ve added a workshop just for folks who handle buildings and grounds. Ruling elders are responsible for leading ministry in all of these categories. Finally, we have two workshops for Deacons who are new or need a new way of seeing the ministry of compassion.
My vision of the church is one of good pastors with a strong session. The church can only go as far as prayerful, discerning leadership can take them. If you want to increase your knowledge, talk with others who are doing the same work, and find creative pathways forward for your congregation, then attend Education Day. It will be on Saturday March 21. It will go from 10am – 2pm at Ladue Chapel. Lunch is included. It is free for all, and all are welcome! I guarantee you will be inspired. Bring pencil and paper because you will be taking notes! I look forward to seeing you and your colleagues there! Register by clicking here.
Rev. Craig M. Howard