Thoughts on Joining Church Council

By on March 23, 2015 in News & Musings

My history with church has been, well, eclectic might be a good word for it. My parents are perpetual church shoppers and so our family spent time at pretty much every church our town had to offer. That tendency, in combination with how frequently I moved around in my early twenties, led me to many different sorts of church communities.

When I think about what church leadership looked like in these congregations, I imagine people who are stable. Probably married with families. Own their home. Established. Church council issomething that dads do.

But, here I am – 27. Unmarried. Nobody’s mother. Renting with a roommate. Establishing. And I was invited to join Zion’s church council. What? And invited by another woman who shares many of my demographic traits. Again, what?

I’ve been attending Zion for two and a half years, so I know this place is different. It’s special and lovely and weird, so I honestly didn’t think about how odd the invitation was until after my first council meeting. My only reservation was whether I had enough time for another commitment.

Being asked to join the church council tells me a few things about myself. It says to me that I am noticed, respected, and valued. These are huge compliments. What I find more meaningful though is what my joining church council says about Zion.

It confirms to me that this place is genuine. In past congregations, I’ve been asked to join conversations (in bible studies or committees) obviously because I was new/young/female/liberal. When you’re the token “whatever”, you can tell and I don’t ever feel that way at Zion. I think it also says that there is an interest in diversity. It would be easy to have a council that was made up entirely of those who’ve lived in or near Zion their entire lives. But here I am, neither a Zion nor a Minneapolis native.

I was excited to join the council. I looked forward to the devotional component and was glad to hear that the meetings would be God-focused. The thing I love the most about Zion is that our faith is lived out through generous and hospitable works. There are ministries of all kinds happening in our building, whether they are sacred or secular, and to be in a leadership position for a church that works this way is incredibly exciting to me. I also saw the council as one more opportunity to hang out with some of my favorite Zion people. Seriously, what a fun group!

My first council meeting was full of welcome, encouragement, support, and laughter. There were conversations about partnerships and how to best serve our congregation. I feel like these are consistent things about my Zion experiences. I love it.

I feel like this approach is a less common take on the Great Commission. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Christians so often focus on the word “go”. It’s glamorous and exciting to “go”. Other churches I’ve been part of get going and are hyper focused on building their numbers, both for the sake of saving souls and for the increased revenue of more members. It seems to me that at Zion we’re focused on the “making disciples”. We don’t go. We stay. We notice and respect and value those who choose to be part of this community. We welcome and encourage and support and laugh with everyone who walks through the doors. We work together to be disciples who follow the commandments to love God and our neighbors.It’s quality over quantity. And it’s a huge honor for me to now be part of a leadership team that maintains these values.

 

Our guest blogger, Kara Bennett, is our token new/young/female/liberal member. Just kidding. She’s uniquely Kara and a blessing to the relationships and ministries in our midst. And she has a great laugh. The people of Zion are grateful for her wisdom, compassion, and leadership.

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