From The Workshop

From the Workshop

Here we are in the middle of summer, but just starting the Pentecost season. I am continuing to appreciate this congregation and have now been through another first, a board meeting. And even that was well done! As I shared this past Sunday, the Disciples have historically respected diversity and variety. Unlike some denominations who operate from the top down, Disciples operate from the bottom up. We do not have authoritarian leaders and pastors. Every vote counts. 
One of my Georgia pastor colleagues came from the independent side of the church. He and I attended the same seminary and had the same career trajectory. We both served in an associate position before moving into a larger pastorate. He did a splendid job in his associate work. It was a big church and he gained the respect of both the membership and his clergy colleagues. The next step he was the solo pastor in a fairly new congregation with excellent leadership in a growing part of town. After two years he moved on, taking a 
position in an independent Christian church. I knew one of his former members well and I asked what happened.  The short answer is that he never adopted the Disciple respect for democracy; he still held onto the pastor as an authoritarian. Our leadership style is always shared, not dictated. 
Although our pastors have theological and Biblical studies in our tool bag, we share the responsibility of interpreting scripture ‘”with” the laity. Sunday morning sermons are better when listeners are not told what to think, but offered the opportunity to see options. The parables, one of Jesus’ favorite teaching tools, do just this. The parable is told and the hearer takes it from there. 

Since Pentecost goes until the end of November, I’ll make you an offer. Instead of me telling you what the text is for Sunday, what if you tell me? Do you have a favorite scripture? Does a text bother you (for example Abraham putting Isaac on the altar to sacrifice to God)? Have you ever wanted to hear a sermon on __________? You get the picture. For starters:

  • we’ll begin with 4 requests, one per month (August – November)
  • all requests will be anonymous (except to me because I may need some clarification)
  • first come first served
  • things not considered include political code topics 

I will do my best with your topic, but remember, all sermons are my reflections. They may differ from yours. And at the end of the day, maybe both of us will learn something. 
See you Sunday, 

Tom V