Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday Tonight

This is part of the bulletin for tonight's service at 6:30 PM

As we gather around the table we remember the night that Jesus had his last supper with his disciples. This was not an ordinary supper. It was the Passover supper. On that night Jesus spoke new meaning into the ancient Passover meal. Our communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper, was instituted on this night as Jesus ate and drank with his closest friends. May Jesus be with us as we gather round the table with our friends and families.

After the meal Jesus was betrayed and turned over to the authorities and condemned to a cruel death on the cross. After our supper, you will be invited to walk the stations of the cross and follow Jesus on this lonely road. The stations are not numbered. Feel free to walk them in any order as to make room for all to walk the stations. You may walk all, some or none. Please refrain from speaking until you reach the church parking lot.

Walking the Stations of the Cross goes back to the earliest days of the church when pilgrims would go to Jerusalem and trace Jesus' steps. They called the route - the Via Dolorosa - way of suffering or the Via Cruces way of the Cross…

Markers were put up all along the way to remember different things that happened along the way to the cross. Pilgrims would stop and pray and think about Jesus' suffering. As a teaching tool, many churches in Europe made their own stations of the cross in church or churchyards using paintings or sculptures - sort of like medieval multimedia - to teach about Jesus' last day

Like a lot of things we do as Christians it became more than it was intended to be. Stations were added that were not biblical - just based on legend- like the story of Veronica who wipe's Jesus' face with a towel. There is no set number of stations. Some traditions had 37 stations. Most today have 14 of those 14 on 6 or 7 are actual found in the Bible. We are only using 6 stations and they are all directly from scripture.

So why are we walking the stations during Lent?

We are hoping that by experiencing the Stations of the Cross, that the eyes and ears of our hearts will be opened once more and we will hear the story of the cross in a new way.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Equipping 101 Update

Here are few basic understandings and concepts concerning the NEW Westminster Leadership Plan

Basic understandings:
Session seeks God for vision and direction.
Session casts the vision and implements the vision via the gifting and calling of our church members and staff.
Session oversees the whole ministry of the church.
Abandon the concept that there is one elder representing each area of ministry on session.
Abandon the idea that every ministry needs to overseen by a specific committee or staff person.
Leadership needs to rotate to allow for many to take their turn leading, work against stagnation and control, and avoidance of burnout.

Three main types of groups:
Each ministry, committee or task force has a leader appointed by session. They may function as a team or committee or an ad hoc group of volunteers as approved by session. All appointments are renewed annually by session.

Standing Committees are committees that are required to be ongoing for the health and wholeness of the church and some are required by the Book of Order. They are led by leaders, who serve for one to three-year terms and may renew for a second three-year term, but must term out after six years. Nominating, Stewardship and Personnel shall be chaired by active session members.

Some ministries are lead by paid or volunteer staff as determined by session in consultation with the head of staff. Some are lead by church members.

Ministries are lead by leaders who are renewed annually but are not required to term out at three years.

Standing Ministries are ministries where a rotation of leadership is best due to the stress of the work or the power held by that ministry. Standing Ministries are lead by leaders, who serve for one to three-year terms and may renew for a second three-year term, but must term out after six years.

Staff Lead Ministries are lead by paid or volunteer staff as determined by session in consultation with the head of staff. These leaders are given annual performance reviews by the personnel committee. Some of these ministries may be Standing Ministries.

Task Forces are appointed by session for a certain project with specific goals and are disbanded when the task is complete.

The next post will be a list of Standing Committees, Standing Ministries and Ministries. Hopefully that will put some context to the above descriptions.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Equipping 101

Equipping 101,our annual meeting for all leaders, is Sunday March 16 following worship in Mission Hall. Lunch will be provided. If you are a deacon, elder, small group, leader, or ministry leader- this meeting is for you! If you simply want to learn about some new exciting changes at WPC - this meeting is for you!

Through the years, churches like ours have gotten stuck in a committee-based system that came from good intentions, but in many ways hinders ministry. Writer Thomas Bandy says the modern main-line church structure is designed to make sure that people are informed about the church, enrolled as members, nominated for office, supervised and kept. While he feels in the New Testament the church was designed to make sure folks were changed by God, gifted, called, equipped and sent.

There is a tension, however, because we do need to keep programs running, bills paid, lights on, and maintain a structure for our common life. The Book of Order addresses this dilemma when it says that, Mission determines the form of structure and administration. All structures should enable the church to give effective witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the contemporary world. (G-9.0402a) And all structures shall be open to the possibility of change (G-9.0402c) In studying and working on this structure it was interesting to discover that the Book of Order actually opens many doors to new ways of doing ministry.

The new structure is not an attempt to make the old system work better.
This is an attempt to transform the way we order our lives so that our leadership structure reflects who we are, how we best operate and actually helps us to equip followers of Jesus to answer God's call on their lives. And we just might become more Biblical and more Presbyterian in the process! I'm hoping that all our WPC leaders will attend this meeting. Please feel free to call or email me if you have any concerns or questions. I'll be posting parts of the new plan here on my blog before Equipping 101 and you can read about it in the 2008 Vision Brochure. Hope to see you then! Please RSVP to the church if you plan to attend

Stations of the Cross

Here are some pictures from worship the past few weeks. Celeste, the director of the Westminster Art School has been drawing these during worship. They will be part of our worship time on Maundy Thursday.
Station One - Jesus is condemned
Station Two - Jesus Receives His Cross
Station Three - Jesus Falters Under the Weight of the Cross
Station Four - Simon of Cyrene Helps Carry The Cross