Blog Post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
We all contain invisible parts of ourselves, parts that are not apparent, or displayed. This doesn’t mean we should fear what we cannot see. Our hidden self may need to be coaxed to the surface, or persuaded that it is safe to show itself, and come out to play.
I have been working diligently these past several months on recalibrating the structure of the presbytery. I accept there is no perfect way to do this work and ministry. However, we can learn from our experience. As a presbytery we seek to have principles such as transparency, encourage participation, and work efficiently while building relationships. As Junie Ewing works with me and others in the presbytery on the structure, we can visualize and draw position descriptions, who reports to whom, and even workflow process.
However, just like there are invisible parts to ourselves, there is a hidden part we cannot see in our organization. These include the way individuals connect or disconnect from one another. They also include histories of painful memories from previous presbytery gatherings, serving on a committee that went bad, or even having a negative experience at a particular congregation because of a real or perceived slight by the presbytery. The visible we can map, create, and control. The invisible and hidden appears unexpectedly with unpredictable results. The challenge of reorienting work and structures is walking in a mine field and accepting the reality that people will be disturbed, and mines will be triggered.
Could the presbytery, congregation, hospital, school, or nursing home be similar to our human selves? Can institutions really be a “body” with soul, energy, and shadow? When what is hidden inside of us is revealed, we find the true essence of who we are. We find the core of our being and embrace what we have been running from. Could the same be possible in organizations?
What are the fears in our presbytery or in your congregation? What issues are we avoiding and preventing from surfacing? This is one of the reasons why we design and redesign the presbytery. By loosening the structure, the hidden and fearful comes to light and then we are able to accept it and move on. What are you willing to do to help your organization to make the hidden visible and have a healthier sense of wholeness and togetherness?
Rev. Craig M. Howard