What if we called a meeting of leaders in our church and we walked in to find an empty meeting room? Without people serving in leadership, our churches would not be able to organize effectively for ministry. This was exactly what Isaiah predicted for Jerusalem and Judah in my Bible reading today. Isaiah proclaimed that tough times were coming, and they would find themselves without leaders. No one would want to lead the “heap of ruins” that Jerusalem would become. I found myself reflecting on my church, and how we have come through some tough times with some good leaders. I am thankful for them and thankful that these words from Isaiah did not come to pass for my church:
Someone will even seize a relative, a member of the clan, saying, “You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule.” 7 But the other will cry out on that day, saying, “I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people.” Isaiah 3:6-7 (NRSV)
Finding willing leaders is much easier in times of success and growth than it is in times of difficulty and reduction. I have witnessed this especially on the committee that is tasked with making pastoral and staffing decisions (the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, or SPRC). Last year, in an effort to create a budget that accounted for increasing expenses, my church decided to cut staff salaries. That was a difficult decision for them, and the brunt of the difficult work fell on the SPRC. As a result, finding people to serve on the SPRC became immediately more difficult.
People did choose to serve, though. They are people who keep their hearts focused on the mission of our church. Rather than being confused and distracted, they stay the course. They keep the mission of the church before them, and stay focused on God’s direction, even in turbulent times. These are the healers and the nurturers. Thank you, leaders of Wesley Memorial, and especially the SPRC. I appreciate your dedication and leadership of our church into the future.