I finally got a "plum" assignment at Presbytery: A seat on the Committee on Ministry. Of course, I'm the new kid, know nothing that is going on and ask too many stupid questions during meetings. But besides that, I'm really making a contribution (HA!).
One of the things COM, I mean the Committee on Ministry, does (besides learning an entire vocabulary of different initials for papers, processes and people, which I am taking an oath NEVER to use: PIF, CIF, EP, PNC, EPC, etc ad nauseum) is to go visit each church once every three years.
The purpose is to foster a relationship between the pastors and the committee and the church and the presbytery. The unspoken motivation is that when or if trouble strikes, the Presbytery and the Committee on Ministry won't be starting from scratch when they come in to "help" and or pick up the pieces.
So I had my first visit last night. And it was really fun! The pastors were thoughtful and hardworking and committed. The session was pleased and proud of their church. They seemed genuinely glad that someone from Presbytery was showing an interest in them. And I got lots of good ideas about alternative ways of "being church". When I asked if they had suggestions for me to take back to Presbytery, they said "Yes."
They said that Presbytery could help by setting up opportunities for sharing ideas between churches. Have a Sunday School training fair. A building and grounds seminar. A mission sponsor swap. Isn't that a good idea? Do you think, if people thought they were going to get to share their ideas and hear from people "on the ground" in other churches they would participate?
We get so stuck doing things "the way they've always been done" that sometimes we don't even realize that it is quite, quite possible to do them differently.