My Dream Presbytery

Our Presbytery – like many organizations – is pondering the future and we have a V2P group working on it.  V2P = Vision to Praxis

It will take a chunk of time to figure out how to be a different, more effective church for the 21st Century, but I’ve been thinking about My Dream Presbytery.

For what it’s worth, this is some of what I see:

  • The Presbytery Offices are incubators for gathering, sharing, resourcing with support services (wireless, copiers) for those who lead spiritual communities with no building (i.e. they meet in coffee shops, bars, schools, etc.)
  • The Presbytery staff includes an experienced team who can specifically teach 21st Century Church skills like setting up Third Space Ministries, shifting financial stewardship culture, redesigning church buildings to become more effective tools for ministry, and coordinating co-mentoring relationships between new and “seasoned” pastors.
  • Rock Star Coaching Teams are set up to start new faith communities alongside dying churches so that if/when those churches indeed close, there is a presence in place to serve the needs of the specific neighborhood in which they gather together.  Buildings are sold or kept according to the needs of the new missional community.
  • Churches are coached to break out of their buildings and offer multiple portals for entering their congregation in community spaces – preferably partnering with other churches.  Example of what this looks like: Monday Parenting Group meeting in public library;  Tuesday God Talk in coffee shop;  Wednesday small group in back room of a bar;  Thursday Bible study in diner after work; Friday game night in someone’s home; Saturday community work project in a laundromat, school, street corner, nursing home; Sunday worship in gathering space.
  • Presbytery Educational Events look more like TED Talks than workshops.  Call them TAG Talks (Theology, Art, & God) or FIT Talks (Faith, Ideas, Theology), or LEAD Talks (Leadership, Education, and Development) but they would be pithy, fast paced talks on provocative subjects that have obvious or not-so-obvious links to spiritual communities.  Imagine 3 talks per meeting all about  a common theme (What I’ve Learned in the Past Year Doing This Weird New Thing, Spiritual Life & Debt, Herding Cats) presented for  – if we want to mimic TED Talks – 18 minutes each.

This is what I think about all the time.  You?


12 responses to “My Dream Presbytery

  1. Terrific!

  2. I think about V2P = Vision to Praxis for “Third Life” (retirement, already begun) and writing poetry daily.

  3. Add to your list: A Presbytery which affirms and allows spiritual directors to share their gifts with the larger church…even providing a space for direction.

  4. I so love your dream presbytery! My current context is mostly rural. In rural areas a dream presbytery might include ways to link tech competent folks where ever they are with local leaders who want coaching and support. Maybe a virtual link through a seminary or another rural area that has moved beyond “survival” to being the church where and who they are. Those TED type talks could help break through the fears that are so much a part of isolated tiny church culture. Keep dreaming!

  5. As always well said – and resonating with a series of conversations I had yesterday down here in SE Texas. We formally put to rest a training event that has been going on for decades with increasingly poor draw. We spent a lot of time talking about how to honor the mission behind the event – to energize, equip and inspire disciples – and to find more effective ways of doing so than an event that draws fewer and fewer people. Love the idea of TAG talks!

  6. Presbytery leaders would be tent-makers to demonstrate to pastors/churches that this model that everyone is buzzing about is embraced at all levels. No full time presbytery staff~

    • At the risk of losing my own position, I tend to agree about the PT staff comment. I think that’s in our future, although honestly there is so much work to do, we already work long hours. Trying to figure out how to do this PT without adding to the crazy.

  7. Cue Aerosmith “dream on, dream on, dream until your dreams come true.” Add to the list a mix of dialogical/practical in person/virtual /hybrid learning events and peer groups for learning/support. count me in with the dreamers.

  8. Jan, these are killer ideas….keep thinking all the time!!!

  9. Friends, once long ago I shared in an interview with a search team seeking an Exec. that my vision for pby. work was to create a “permissive” environment for ministry. In such an environment the pby. would define the three to four boundaries never to be crossed and then invite the creative folks to go to work. A member of the group shared….we can only be permissive when trust levels are remarkably high, I have carried that wisdom with me ever since…..just wanted to add this note to the larger discussion. Keep at it!

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