Becoming the Voice of Yes
Historical View of Clerks
For decades the role of Clerk of Session has been seen as a “gate keeper” or the person who prevents a congregation from doing what it really wants to do. Regrettably an overzealous Book of Order often forced a clerk to feel like gate keeping was their primary role. However, a new day is dawning and a less restrictive Book of Order is now in place. So it’s time to break free from the old traditions and find ways to move forward with a new identity for the role of clerk.
Why Reframe Our Role?
We are in a new time in the life of the church. Attendance is going down in many of our churches. Funds are growing smaller to support the mission. And the country is the most divided it has been in a very long time. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that each person in the church sees their role as a life-giving presence to the ministry and to the community around it. This is especially true with those in leadership.
Aside from the pastor, the clerk is often one of the most visible roles within the church, which is why it is critical that we view ourselves as a voice of possibility, rather than a voice of restriction.
Making the Transition
It starts with prayer
The Mission of God and our invitation to participate is priority one. As clerks, we try to move the ball down field toward the highest priority, but to do so within the Spirit of our polity’s Foundations. For this reason, it all starts with prayer. God has placed a difficult task on our shoulders and there are times when it can be frustrating, exhausting, and challenging, which is why prayer is a vital aspect of our spiritual leadership within the church.
View yourself as a spiritual leader
You are a spiritual leader within the church, which is the second most valuable thing for you to embrace. If you view yourself as a spiritual leader you will consider ministry endeavors differently than if your primary role is to protect the mandates of the Book of Order.
Reformed and Always Reforming
The church, in obedience to Jesus Christ, is open to the reforming of its standards of doctrine as well as its governance. And so shall we as Christians. The church affirms “The church reformed, always to be reformed according to the Word of God” in the power of the Spirit. F-2.02 Let us never fail to examine ourselves and the potential reformation within us. It is how we continue to grow as spiritual leaders and Christians.
The weight of our office as clerk is hard enough the way it is, but if we feel we need to fully carry the weight of it on a daily basis then we are not living into God’s vision for the Church. It is God alone that carries the weight of the church, not ourselves. So lighten your load and hand it all over to God. And remember, it’s okay to laugh, to enjoy ourselves, and to enjoy those around us. No matter how aggravating they might be! If we do our work with good faith and good humor than good things will always be possible.
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