With the beginning of 2016 comes transition to the FUMC Administrative Board. During the final 2015 board meeting we bid farewell to Board Chair Linda Cowden and praised her leadership and warm demeanor even while working with the most complex church issues. In 2016 we find several new board members plus a new Administrative Board Chair. After much prayerful consideration I agreed to take on the position.
I am honored and humbled to serve as your new Administrative Board Chair and I welcome your comments, suggestions, and ideas as I learn the ropes of this challenging position. I believe the Board Chair is more about leadership and less about management. Leadership is the visionary work that assesses where the congregation is, where God is calling it to be in the future, and what resources will be required to move from current reality and then propel our church deep into the future. Management is the detail work that occurs in the committees and must be accomplished daily to make our ministries effective.
The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline is the recipe book or guide book that tells all Methodist churches how they should function. This book spells out very clearly the mission of our church: ¶ 120. The Mission-The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. (UMC Book of Discipline 2012) Many churches develop their own mission statements based on how they can best meet the overall directive. I prefer to keep it simple and believe everything we do and every decision we make is pointed to making disciples for Jesus Christ.
I have learned over the years that there is much more to serving God than just talking about it. God wants to use each one of us, but He also wants to develop us into people who are more usable to Him. I have studied the book of Nehemiah where we learn many qualities of service and leadership. Nehemiah received a vision from God to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall that was destroyed following the Babylonian exile. Nehemiah never forgot the importance of prayer and took time to humble himself before God to ask for guidance.
“Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” Nehemiah 1:11
There is a lot we can learn from the Book of Nehemiah about how we should conduct the business of the church. Most importantly Nehemiah teaches us we should listen for God and pray in everything we do. Nehemiah was equipped with the leadership skill of discernment. It may sound strange to see discernment listed as a leadership skill but it is important we understand and know how to apply discernment. We are often deceived by outward appearances or trying to make decisions on our own. We find this in 1 Samuel:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Discernment is the ability to judge matters according to God’s view and not according to outward appearance or our own set of standards. Without discernment we might think our own noble desires are God’s promises but in fact our inner voice is speaking louder than God’s. Perhaps before we make a major church decision we should follow Nehemiah’s lead. Here is what Nehemiah did when he learned he needed to go to Jerusalem to repair the wall.
“The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:3-4
Nehemiah humbled himself before God and asked for God’s help and mercy. In 2016 I want to hear more from God and less from my inner voice. I want to sharpen my discernment skills.
Please join me in February as we explore together the Book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah: Learning Leadership Bible Study. The first session is Thursday, February 4, 2016 @ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM.
You can click here to go to the Administrative Board page on the church website. To find it again later, please go to our church website at http://www.offumc.org and go to Welcome and then About and then to Administrative Board to see a list of the 2016 Administrative Board members.
Administrative Board Chair