ECF Vital Practices May 2015: Facing Leadership Challenges

May 6, 2015

Your team’s in place, you’ve recommitted to the congregation’s mission and vision, and for your first few vestry meetings everything’s been working well. Then “bam” – everything seems to be falling apart. What’s happening?

It could be the Holy Spirit. It might be life in general or something worse. Whatever’s causing this disruption, one thing is clear: Stuff happens. In this month's Vital Practices, we look at some of the challenges leaders may face and share stories, resources, and approaches of how others respond to these common challenges.

Here are our May offerings:

Frustration can set in when leaders give in to the temptation to divide into camps and do battle over issues until one side “wins.” In Tools for Healthy Communities,” Br. David Vryhof, SSJE invites us to consider a process that acknowledges the tensions and friction inherent in any community, articulates a vision for the way we want to be as a community, and details the behavior expected from every member and the steps necessary for getting back to our original intention when we stray.

A common challenge church leaders face is identifying new leaders. María Eugenia Giraldo is thankful that, when she was looking for a daycare for her daughters, God put her in the right place: a church with a Spanish mass. She was thirsty to serve, though she sat in the back pew, and God called her. In Liderazgo desde las bancas/ Leadership from the Pews, María Eugenia tells us how she went from being a lost person to one with a powerful message. (This article is available in both Spanish and English.)

In the messiness and chaos of our lives and in the life of the Church, and even when things are unraveling, the Spirit of God is at work. Where is the Spirit of God at work? Everywhere. And if that is true, the Spirit of God is not only at work among the people in our church community but among the people in our neighborhoods – in the places where we work, play, study, and live. In Being with Our Neighbors, Ginny Dinsmore introduces readers to Going Local, a diocesan initiative to help congregations develop new attitudes, habits, practices, and values as they seek and join God’s work in their neighborhood.

Preparing for Lay Only Leadership by Heather Barta shares an approach used in the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan to help lay leaders make the shift from full time clergy to working with part time or supply priests.

It’s our hope that these Vital Practices stories and ideas might spark a conversation at a vestry or other leadership meeting and perhaps provide a catalyst for looking at your own situation in a different way.

These new articles represent just a small portion of the resources available on the ECF Vital Practices’ website. Use the Topics index on each page of the site to find other resources related to serving on the vestry including past articles, blog posts, and the many resources found in the Your Turn and Tools sections.

If you are interested in Spanish language content, please visit the searchable index of our Spanish content here.

If you find these articles helpful, please consider sharing them with your colleagues and invite them to subscribe to ECF Vital Practices. Subscriptions are free; click here to subscribe. New subscribers are asked to fill out a short registration form.

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