Sunday, November 12, 2017

Partnership and Discipleship, the Warp and Woof of our Emerging Ministry Plan

Weavers set up looms with long threads called warp. Then with a shuttle weave a woof thread across the warp. The warp and woof form the woven fabric. Unwoven, they are only strands of thread. When naming our core values this spring, Presbytery of Lake Michigan's Leadership Team began with following Jesus (discipleship) and partnership, the warp and woof of the church of Jesus Christ.

Core Values
"As partners in Christ’s service,
we seek God’s way of grace and justice
through: Inclusion, Formation and Inspiration."
Adopted May 25, 2017

We could have simply made a list of values: Discipleship, Partnership, Grace, Justice, Inclusion, Formation, Inspiration. But instead we put them into a sentence identifying ourselves as partners with a purpose--in Christ's service. Discipleship and partnership became the warp and woof woven through our subsequent Mission and Vision Statements.

Mission Statement
"The Presbytery of Lake Michigan
forms and partners with faith communities
to challenge, encourage, equip and hold one another accountable
as Christ’s disciples."
Adopted August 24, 2017

Vision Statement:
"We envision dynamic leaders and healthy congregations
who are vital to their communities, working together
to share the way of Christ’s love, grace and justice."
Adopted August 24, 2017

Which begs the questions how are we doing?  Are discipleship and partnership evident in our witness?  Are we following Christ's way of love, grace, and justice?  Or are we governed more by fear of the stranger, of the unknown, of the violence we see most every day in the news?  Are we tempted to trust the power of the gun for our protection?  Are we tempted to turn a blind eye to our privileged place in society, to the pain of those living in the margins, to domestic violence at home, sexual harassment at work, to the erosion of the common good for the interests of the powerful few?  How are the warp and weave of discipleship and partnership evident in the fabric of our Presbytery or absent?  Will our identity as members of the body of Christ with different and important gifts to be celebrated and shared with the whole recited at every ordination and installation service calling us to partner Christ's service trump our fear and divisions?

As the moderator of Presbytery and I visit congregations, it is evident that most members don't give much thought to Presbytery.  As our ministry plan for our future emerges over the coming weeks, its warp and woof will be discipleship and partnership!