BUT FIRST, THIS:
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Faith communities do not run on autopilot. It takes a serious commitment of time from members to make them work.
I know because over the years I have devoted such time to various positions of leadership in my church. And as I write this, my wife is off attending her very first meeting of the Session (or board of elders) of our church. She's been elected, ordained and installed for a three-year term.
Every faith community does it a little differently, though it's hard to think of one that doesn't rely on lay leadership in some way. In our church, we have a 15-member Session and a larger Board of Deacons, which oversees the mission and outreach work of our church, connecting us to many agencies we support in various ways, including money.
I've served two three-year terms on our Session, one three-year term on Deacons and have recently completed more than 16 years as the coordinator of our church's AIDS Ministry.
Sometimes the folks who simply show up for worship services or who send their kids to Sunday school or other events don't fully grasp the requirement for dedicated lay leaders to help make decisions and carry them out. I've often thought it would be educational if none of the lay leaders -- that is all the unpaid volunteers and church officers -- simply didn't do anything for a week. Others would quickly see the life of the community slow to a crawl.
So today, here's a tip of the hat to all of you who pitch in to make your congregation work right, even when sometimes it doesn't seem to despite your best efforts.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.