Thursday, September 04, 2008

Choices

In the denomination I currently serve there is an annual nominating process for leaders of the church. There is a rotating nominating committee that gathers to discern who the leaders in the congregation are, invites those leaders to serve and then brings those nominees to the congregation for them to formally vote.

I sit in on these meetings but tend not to say too much. I guide the discernment process but stay out of actually naming names and only on the rare occasion do I actually suggest a name be removed.

One part of my annual pep talk is to remind folks that it is not up to us to decide for people whether they have the time to do the job or not. Sure we may think we know what is going on in people's lives but they know better what is a priority in their lives and what is not. It is not up to us to keep the honor of being asked to be a leader of the congregation away from them because we think they are too busy.

So if there is a good candidate, it is up to them to discern if the health of their youngest child means they should pass on the opportunity. It is up to them to determine how much their extended family will be able to help them in their new role. It is up to them to decide if their older children could maybe use them at home more right now.

Our job is to pray for the roles that need to be filled, pray for the larger body that is to be served, and pray for the candidates for the position as they hopefully make the best choice for their family, for themselves and for those they serve.

But I don't always have to agree with the choice.

14 comments:

cheesehead said...

Amen. Supporting a person's right to choose and agreeing with their choice are two different things.

Well said.

Songbird said...

Yes, well said.

Beach Walkin said...

I think you've said it perfectly!

1-4 Grace said...

As we also go into this process I will have to practice holding my tongue....biting it maybe...
Also in the process of electing a PNC will be tough.
Some of the "best" might not be at the "best" of times in their lives.

knittinpreacher said...

Well said indeed. Both a good reminder for nominating committees, but also for those who make decisions for others in general.

zorra said...

As someone who's been on both sides (nominating and nominated), a hearty Amen.

Auntie Knickers said...

Good points!

mibi52 said...

Oh, darlin', you're way too subtle! Amen, amen.

Jiff said...

This is brillant.
You rock.

Teri said...

i guess that was subtle, though I admit that when I read it church was not the first thing I thought of...in spite of the fact that our own nominating process is beginning in a couple of weeks. teehee!

Well said, friend. and way to point out the connections between our polity and our larger community's polity...

Reformed Catholic said...

I was the elder/moderator of Stodgy Presbyterian's O.N.C. this past go around, and it is hard to find members to even ask, as many have been 'burnt out' by the being on Session and being told the Seven Last Words of a Dying Congregation*, over and over again.

We were lucky, we had a few people who stepped up to the plate.

But in the vein of not making people's minds up for them we had an elder rolling off Session, and the usual practice is if they can serve another term, they are asked if they would do so. In this case, the person is in the middle of Cancer treatment, so the Nomination Committee didn't think that the person would even think about serving another term, as the therapy was so debilitating.

Wrong!! Evidently the person mentioned to someone that she was surprised she wasn't asked. Well, that got turned into She's offended that she wasn't asked!! when it got to the Pastor.

So ... as was mentioned, let the person make the decision.

*We've never done it that way before!

ElastiGirl said...

well said indeed - and what i was thinking but could not quite articulate!

Mark Smith said...

I totally agree with your sentiment on the candidate deciding what their ability to serve is.

I would like to push you to consider suggesting names. There are likely to be people who would do a wonderful job, but who are either new, not known to the committee members, or not involved in the "popularity game" that these committees can sometimes get wrapped up in.

will smama said...

I hear you Mark. In my mid-size church setting there is rarely a name that ISN'T mentioned.