I hope and pray that you all had a wonderful Lenten season and Easter Sunday cel...
One of my mentors early on in ministry was Bob Logan. Bob would often talk about the need for leaders to have bi-focal vision. What he means by bi-focal vision is the ability to see and focus on one’s immediate context, as well as maintaining a long-term perspective. Understandably, during COVID-19, most of our attention has been on our immediate circumstances. In the local church, your focus has been to move or improve online aspects of worship, programs, staffing and caring for your congregation and community in unprecedented ways. Denominationally, our attention has been on providing resources to help churches make these transitions, learning about legislation that can help, and seeking opportunities to care for church leaders.
While much time has been spent on these immediate circumstances, we have also been focusing on the future. We are continuing to pursue our God-given vision, including one key element that I talked about at the National Gathering (and in other contexts) – the revamping of our ordination process.
Throughout the past 18 months, we have talked to many presbytery leaders, candidates, and pastors about our hopes for what an ordination process and outcome could look like. There is uniform agreement to have a process that is more relational, individualized, increases theological understanding and application, enhances leadership skills and ability, and ensures emotional and spiritual maturity. As we shared at the National Gathering and in smaller groups, I am thrilled that there has been such consistent agreement across the board about each of these elements.
Lisa Johnson, ECO’s Director of Lay Leadership Development, recently moved from part-time to full-time employment and has been working on the ordination process with various interested parties. We want to share where we are in the ordination process with the larger ECO community to get your input and feedback before it is finalized. Obviously, we will always want to be making continual improvements, however the better we make it now, the easier it will be and the less adjustments we will need to make later.
Mark your calendars for a webinar on May 21st at 10am PST where we will share an overview of the new Ordination process coming in 2021. Note that it will be recorded in case you can’t watch it “live”. We will be presenting more detail about the process and the outcomes, answer immediate questions, and give a couple of weeks for feedback. We will send out an additional email the week of May 18th which will have some draft documents about the process for you to look at in advance.
As we have often said over these last two years, the future of our movement will depend in large part on the quality of our vocational leaders. It is our desire that in this process we will be able to recruit the right people into the process, develop the attributes needed for 21st century ministry, and deploy those individuals to help lead congregations to flourish. I am thankful for the willingness of so many in our midst who are willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.