A Brief Devotion for Church Council Meetings

churchcouncil

 

Business meetings in a church can be a difficult, but very important time in the life of a community.  I’ve had the incredible blessing of witnessing Church Council meetings where God’s presence was unmistakable – times where people were speaking with prophetic words of new life for a congregation, times where church members were listening with grace and speaking with vulnerability and humility…

And then I’ve also witnessed the opposite happening as well.  Times when the same power moves played out in board rooms were brought into the church.  Instances where people spoke out of a fear of losing their own turf and their own preferences instead of a hunger to listen selflessly to what new life God was inviting their church to give birth to.  Times when people were quick to speak out of a fear and act in aggression towards their brothers and sisters.

I wanted to share this brief devotional with you all that I’ll be sharing at the next church council meeting.  My hope is that it may be of some help to you – perhaps in your own area of ministry, or in your own personal devotions.

A Reflection on Matthew 10

I’m going to read from Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Matthew 10, and I invite you to get comfortable and to close your eyes.
I invite you to put both feet on the ground,
to rest your hands in your lap, a
nd to take a couple deep breaths.
I invite you to continue to breathe slow, full breaths as I read…

From Matthew Chapter 10

Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives. 5-8 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:

“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.

9-10 “Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.

 

Travel Light.

We’ve come here from different places this evening.

Some of us have been running since before the sun came up.

In and out of meetings, firing off email after email, quick conversations one after another.

We may not realize it, but many of us have not paused to take a full breath of air all day.

But

 

Jesus invite us to Travel Light.

As you take a moment to pause,

and to listen,

are there things from earlier today that you are bringing with you this evening that you can let go of, in order to travel light?

Conversations, emails, work or family stress, frustrations with people or situations?

Things that you can give to God, and let go of…

…if not forever, than at least, for the next few hours…

They’ll be there waiting for you when you want to pick them up again.

Can you give them to God to hold, so that you can be present here?

What are those things to hand off right now so that you can travel light?

 

Jesus invites us to Travel Light.

As you take a moment to pause and to listen, is there anything here, in this church, that you are bringing with you this evening that you can let go of, in order to travel light?

Conversations, emails, a time you felt misunderstood or alienated or hurt,

a time things turned out differently that you wished they had.

Are there emotions that are holding you captive?

Perhaps frustration or anger,

sadness or pride

that you would like to give to God and to let go of?

It doesn’t mean that what happened was right,

or even okay,

but is it time to put that weight down so that you can travel light again?

How good would it feel to not carry that burden any longer?

How good would it feel to forgive that grievance against your brother or sister in this room?

What are those things to put down?

 

 

Jesus invites us to Travel Light.

I invite you to turn your thoughts now from inside of yourself,

towards others…

to those outside of yourself.

To turn from the past and what has already happened and is finished

– towards a future this is full of limitless possibilities, and God-given new life.

 

A reading from Matthew 10

Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives. 

“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.

9-10 “Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.

 

Will you pray with me?

 

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