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A Preacher Who’ll Miss Elders Meetings

2009 March 19
by Mike

I’m going to miss Wednesday night elders meetings.

Who would ever think a preacher would say that? But as I head toward my transition, I realize what all those Wednesday evenings with Highland elders have meant to me.

Last night I was exhausted after teaching at ACU, preparing for a funeral, conducting the funeral, and lots of conversations in between. But like so many other Wednesday nights (the elders and ministers meet every first and third Wednesday nights, beginning at 8:15), I was refreshed to be there.

First, a time of dwelling in the word. Once again, we are focused on one passage for the whole year. We read the passage, meditate on it, share our insights with someone near us, read it again, and pray.

Second, we affirmed and prayed for four women in our church who are going to Jordan as ambassadors for Christ.

Third, we affirmed and prayed for our worship minister who has been in this role (part-time) for five years.

Fourth, we were challenged by one of our leaders (not an elder or staff member) who showed us Highland’s journey toward missional living — and called us to be bold in our leadership in that direction. He’s part of a team the elders appointed almost three years ago to assist us in this gospeled movement. He told us that “missional” isn’t just some catchy term; rather, it’s a way to describe three instincts in our church: evangelism, justice, and spiritual formation. It is a way of viewing discipleship as joining God in his work in this world.

Finally, one of our elders led us in a time of prayer. Like so many other nights, people will express their prayer concerns; then we’ll all say together, “Lord Jesus, this is our prayer.”

I’m not a night person. But that kind of spiritual feeding is worth staying awake for! And as I said, I’ll miss it.

– – – –

Clearly, President Obama is reading this blog. I awoke yesterday morning to hear on the early news that he had picked the same four teams I did for the final four (Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, UNC). Fair enough, Mr. President. I’ll work on March Madness. You fix the economy!

12 Responses leave one →
  1. March 19, 2009

    LOL – here’s one faithful reader of this blog who wishes our president would spend more time focusing on his picks than on his strategy to fix the economy. At the moment, the strategic therapy looks strangely like a combination of leeches, bleeding, and wishful thinking. “First, do no harm!”

    *sigh*

    As to the main substance of your post, though…

    qb notes an odd and winsome absence of administrivia in the agenda for Highland’s elders’ meeting. What’s not to like? It sounds like a very, very strange animal, by which qb means an eldership that operates in a very different way than the popular Board of Directors model implies. The men also appear to be shepherding *you* instead of you presuming to structure it the other way ’round. (The new sheriff at our former church came in and reduced the number of elders right away – and these are HIS words, not mine – to a number he saw as a “manageable” number that he could “disciple.” Talk about *ahem* inversions!)

    Lastly, qb observes how much humility is required on the part of a popular “senior minister” to eschew the trappings, assumptions, and expectations that go along with that level of popularity in that position. From four highway hours away, it looks to this stranger as if the humility is the real deal. [raising mug] Here’s hoping your successor adopts the same posture from the same deep well of character, for Highland’s sake as well as his (or hers, as the case may be).

    Marveling,

    qb

  2. Brenda permalink
    March 19, 2009

    I, too, was deeply blessed by being part of those Wednesday night elders meetings. That, too, is something I miss deeply. It was usually a night of renewal for me — knowing for certain that the staff and elders were in this journey together — hoping, praying, seeking ways to bless one another as well as the entire body of Christ at Highland and elsewhere. The ‘warmth’ in that room was such that entering that room on any other occasion brought an afterglow. I thank God for the Highland elders! How beautiful — the body of Christ.

  3. March 19, 2009

    YOu are still missed in that room, Brenda.

    Thanks so much, qb. Highland has given me WAY more than I’ve ever given Highland.

    Thanks to David U for this thought-provoking link.

  4. chris permalink
    March 19, 2009

    qb:

    How could the “new sheriff” have the power to reduce the number of elders? Does he not work at their discretion? Just wondering.

  5. March 19, 2009

    Excellent question, there, chris. Imagine the elders happily and eagerly ceding that authority via a brisk parliamentary process characterized by sycophancy and hero-worship, starting with a recruiting document promising “CEO-level authority,” culminating in by-laws changes upon the sheriff’s arrival that sail through on a fast track, ratified by a starstruck congregation utterly bereft of a collective sobriety of mind…yep, qb thinks you’ve got it.

    BTW, qb was on the search committee and watched it all unfold along tragically predictable lines. (No small number of votes was n-to-1.)

  6. March 19, 2009

    Of course Obama reads this blog! And if he catches it today, I could definitely use a bailout. Mike can get it to me. I’ll even give him a finder’s fee…

  7. Amy Boone permalink
    March 19, 2009

    Love me some Highland elders….

    Laughing about Obama! Yesterday, Nicholas (the sports NUT) ran into the den and said, “MOM! You’re not going to believe it!!! I just saw President Obama on Sportscenter and he said he’d been researching who to pick and his final four is THE SAME AS MINE!!!!!”

  8. Kathy permalink
    March 19, 2009

    We are doubly blessed at Highland – incredible godly group of Elders and equally gifted ministers/preachers/pastors, staff.
    I’ve seen groups of only 3-4 elders tear each other to shreds. Here at Highland we have 40+ godly men and women serving/leading in unity….not to be confused with uniformity. 🙂 What a treasure we have in our leaders at Highland. Thank You, LORD!!! for Your servants at Highland!!! o/

  9. Kathy permalink
    March 19, 2009

    Hey! Great changes! Especially am fond of the “Click to Edit” feature. 🙂

  10. March 19, 2009

    Woah, what’s happening with your theme?

  11. teresa permalink
    March 20, 2009

    I’ve only been reading your blog since my daughter started at ACU in ’06. But when I saw your Final Four picks matched mine exactly, I tried to get mine changed. But it was too late! Good luck to the both of us!

  12. March 20, 2009

    Teresa – Very funny!

    But you’re right. My history of SuperBowl and March Madness picks doesn’t instill confidence.

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