What's in a Name?

I’ve been working with the Grace and Giving Committee of Clemmons Moravian Church. Pretty nifty title, I think, and I don’t remember hearing a church committee with that name.  It was, however, formerly known as the Stewardship Committee.  Now that’s a name you are familiar with, I’m sure.

This energetic and “can do” group was inspired not only to choose a new name, but also to choose a new way. Together we have strategized and planned activities to promote generosity and gratitude throughout 2015.

We started by forming small discussion groups, scheduled throughout the day to make it easy for people to find the time to participate. Our discussion sessions typically last 45 minutes to an hour and we talk about a variety of topics that are important in the life of the Clemmons congregation. Members share stories of special memories and people, as well as ministries that they consider to be important to their spiritual development.  We talk about the challenges the congregation faces as they try to expand ministry. We brainstorm about outreach and how to develop new ministries or strengthen ministries that seem to need help.  We talk and we talk. And last Tuesday evening, we talked and we laughed and each new story prompted another story that reminded someone of yet another story. The laughter and sharing was approaching 2 hours and no one was really ready to stop.  That’s the best thing – that’s when we are really connecting with each other and enjoying a very special and deep fellowship.

The sharing of stories and church experiences provides good information. My role is to be the convener, to take notes and record what I hear. It’s confidential information and I never attribute a name to a person’s comments or stories. After these sessions, I am able to study the responses and see what trends and patterns emerge; those give me a glimpse into what the congregation is thinking and feeling. I provide a detailed report of what I’ve heard: what has been affirmed, what needs attention and strengthening, and what brings joy and excitement. Then we are able to begin to connect the dots between what the congregation loves and wants to validate and what their personal and spiritual commitments will need to be to make that happen.

I’m excited to be a part of the Clemmons congregation as they discern for future growth and plan for their great ministries to continue for another 100 years.