On the Train to Somewhere: Council Planning

by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director

If you have a seat on the council train, read this article.

If you are struggling with power dynamics between the pastor and council, read this article.

If you care about joining God in mission, read this article.

Stop long enough to ask two questions of your current council practices.

  1. What are your strategic goals for this year? These may be very different from last year depending on key stakeholders.

By stakeholders, we mean the people for whom the mission of the church is crucial. These aren’t necessarily “members” or people in leadership. Stakeholders could be your neighbors, children, youth, young adults, or those who are under served by your current way of life.

  1. How will your meetings make space for faith practices and learning together?

By this we mean taking an hour a month to focus on the movement of the Holy Spirit among you. This isn’t just a token devotion or going through the motions of a book study. Now, before you groan at the idea of the meeting getting even longer, please know that’s not the intent. Instead we want to encourage you to use a consent agenda so that you have time for the conversations that matter most. “Church business” is first about discipleship.

Practical Resources for You

Congregations are not the only ones impacted by this time of fast change. We all know that when we keep doing what we have been doing, nothing new will happen.

Let 2017 be the year you change trains, getting rid of the patterns that are slowing you down and grabbing a seat on the train to where God is calling you as a congregation.

The best council leadership is in partnership with the pastoral staff. When the pastor blames the council for being closed to new ideas or the council blames the pastor for resisting change, we get stuck in an endless power struggle with the ultimate loser being the church’s mission of the church.

If this is where you find yourself, seeking outside support can help you discover ways of leveraging the gifts across the whole leadership system: council, staff, and volunteers. The members of the church are not the owners of the church – the church belongs to God. The leadership, on behalf of the members, are called to join God in mission.

LEAD offers resources (many of them free) that will help you and your leaders get on the train that is moving forward.

  • Our weekly newsletter, monthly Toolbox videos and seasonal Lenten and Advent resources are free. They are available to everyone in your congregation at no cost.
  • Our Council Planning Retreat on February, 24-25 at Lutherhill, La Grange, TX is an opportunity to work with a LEAD Consultant using the Annual Roadmap.
  • The Annual Roadmap is also available online as a downloadable package with everything you need to lead the retreat on your own (including participant guide, PowerPoint presentation, facilitator guide, supply list, etc.).
  • LEAD also offers coaching, consulting and LEAD Journeys for congregations wanting to take on new behaviors to help their leaders grow deeper in faith.

“All Aboard!” The train is ready to pull out of the station, jump on!

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