Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
As the Moderator of the Presbytery I also serve as the Chair of our Cabinet’s Personnel Sub-Committee. Though this Sub-Committee oversees only three staff and elected positions, that oversight leads to enlightening conversations about how our Presbytery functions.
We recently discovered that folks in the Presbytery will call Christine Rogalski, our Office Administrator, with questions about finances: Has this Per Capita check been processed? Can I get a statement of activities for this or that team? And so on. The fact is that a few years ago all financial processes were taken out of the hands of the Office Administrator and given to our Bookkeeper (Paula Lamberson), Treasurer (currently Lisa Heckman), and the Finance Sub-Committee of Cabinet (Dave Johnson, current Chair). Christine is very capable at many things, including redirecting folks to whom they should call. But the fact that she still receives calls about finance questions suggests a need for more communication within our leadership.
Any relationship training offered, whether it’s for marriage, parenting, supervision, or training your dog, emphasizes communication. When I conduct training for new Ruling Elders, I emphasize asking questions, which is a form of communication necessary to keep from making assumptions or decisions out of ignorance. Those of us “in the know” on any particular issue must communicate what the Presbytery needs to know; those of us not “in the know” must communicate by asking generous amounts of questions.
For a few years now, we have been without the leadership of an Executive Presbyter. This model of leadership and ministry makes some of the Presbytery’s core functions more complex, as various volunteer leaders take up tasks that would otherwise go to an Executive. The Spirit is abundant in providing persons and their gifts for the service of Christ’s mission. But it sometimes requires more effort to keep abreast of who’s in charge of what.
Of course, this need for communication may equally apply to congregations that have changing leadership, are beginning new ministries, or are interacting with new persons in the community. We ought always to encourage our leadership to speak aloud at every juncture what the Church needs to know—even if we think they know it already. And every member of the community ought to be ready to ask for help, for information, and for direction. I think it’s less important that we make sure the same person does the same things year in and year out; what’s more important is our culture of announcing changes and inquiring boldly. Communicate, communicate, communicate . . . and we can all know what’s going on.
By the way, if you wonder about who’s doing what in the Presbytery leadership, http://susvalpresby.net/resources/leadership-handbook/ is a good place to start. And if you have any questions, just ask!
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