Blog Post by the
Rev. Dr. Craig Howard
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
We had a full and exciting Presbytery Gathering this past Thursday. In addition to hearing motions, voting, and taking actions, this meeting featured several “ignite” presentations. An ignite presentation is a five minute or less slide presentation that focuses on an issue or event. Thursday’s reports included:
- Highlights of the Nicaragua Trip
- Invitation to participate in the Hunger Action Network kickoff
- History Team activities
- Ukirk presented an update and appeal
- Hands and Feet provided an update
- COLA provided an update and request for volunteers
In addition, the sermonic moment during worship was divided into three presentations: one from Isaac Wanyoike pastor of the Pendo Fellowship, John Harrison spoke about his work with the prison ministry, and Johanna Wagner shared about Caritas, our New Worshiping Community that focuses on people with cognitive disabilities.
As we listened to the various presentations, we were moved, excited, and filled with compassion. The Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy is doing great work through numerous ministries. Our ministries are broad and cover a very large area of need. Most importantly, this work is not top-down. It is not controlled by the presbytery office and then distributed to the members. All of these ministry efforts are embedded within the local community and they benefit the community.
My goal as your Transitional Presbytery Leader is to decentralize the work of the presbytery. I desire to give the work of the ministry to the people who are most capable, passionate, and driven. This means building a strong volunteer base of people willing to participate with Nicaragua, work with Ukirk, reach out to Pendo, connect with the prison ministry, and help with GA 2018.
In the book, “Adaptive Leadership,” Heifetz, Grashow, and Linsky write about giving the work back to those closest to it, and sharing responsibility for the organization’s future. The idea is to remove work from the hands of a few leaders in authority, and instead share it with those who are directly involved with the effort.
We need people to step up and get involved.
I’ve noticed a hesitance and reticence of presbytery involvement. I understand the caution. Perhaps you have been involved in the past and have gotten burned. Or you have heard horror stories and have turned your back on the presbytery and focused on your congregation instead.
I’m asking you to take a look at the presbytery again. There are so many opportunities to serve. We need gifted people with hearts of compassion for justice, and a desire to see God’s work spread throughout our area and the world. We need people who can serve for a few weeks, and people who are willing to serve for a few years. We need people who can stand at a booth, or sit and listen to others. We need specialist in finance and accounting. We need attorneys who want to serve the larger church. We need gifted visionaries who see the world as it could be and ask, “Why not?”
Have you been thinking about getting involved? Do you know someone you can recommend serving? Barbara Willock (firstname.lastname@example.org) serves as chairperson of our Committee on Representation and Nominations, and she would love to hear from you.
May God put a fire in your heart, passion in your spirit, and a desire to serve with sisters and brothers beyond your local congregation.
Rev. Craig M. Howard