Yesterday evening I wandered a few minutes late into the Stewardship and Finance committee meeting of University Presbyterian Church, where I get to be the pastor. The group was not pouring over budgets or scrutinizing the latest expenditure of the Director of Christian Education. They were discussing the following quote:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to LONG for the endless immensity of the sea (Antoine de Saint-Exupery).”
I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like the average Presbyterian finance committee thing to do: to reflect on cultivating longing in others for something beautiful and immense, before launching into conversation about whether to move $10,000 from the capital improvements fund or put PayPal on the church website.
But those few minutes were a great gift to me in these ways…….
1. The quote is a beautiful statement about leadership, and a wonderful guide for leadership in the church. It will give me lots to ponder in the days ahead.
2. The chair of the committee was taking his role as a spiritual and visionary leader seriously in the most mundane of circumstances –a meeting about money in the church. He knows it’s not just the pastor’s job to lead and envision. It is the calling of the people of God. This is a thrilling revelation to any pastor.
3. The tone set in a church meeting by opening with a reflection on scripture, leadership or some form of spiritual formation can, over time, form a community of leaders that see each gathering “at” the church as a gathering “of” the church. It’s easy to be the church in worship, but the true challenge is allowing ourselves to be formed into the Body of Christ in facilities meetings, session meetings, presbytery meetings. This takes leaders with eyes focused on the immense beauty of the sea and…………… God.