Posted on February 05, 2013
Hello friends of the Presbytery of Western Colorado!
On January 19th the Southern Cluster got together at First Presbyterian Church Durango for our first ever Joint Officer Training. As Pastors of the Southern Cluster we’ve tried to come up with ways to connect as a cluster and to make this new entity beneficial for shared ministry. This new form of organization is exciting in that it provides opportunities for creativity, but it’s also—honestly—intimidating in that we’re not always sure how the cluster is going to function best. I’m delighted to report that our Joint Officer Training went exceedingly well, and seems to be at least one way we can connect and equip our churches for ministry!
I’d like to highlight a few of the benefits;
We created a “critical mass” of participation that set a positive an exciting tone for the day. Both current and newly elected officers were invited from every church, and we had about thirty people able to participate in the training. This allowed our church officers to see that there are others in our area participating in the life of the church as Elders and Deacons. It also allowed our conversations to be expansive in their thinking. Rather than being focused on the particulars of our individual churches we maintained focus on the bigger picture of leadership in Christ’s service.
We Pastors shared the load of teaching and training. Each of us was able to take on a particular area of interest and teach on that subject. This meant we didn’t have to carry the burden of a full day’s training on our own, but it also meant that our church officers were exposed to a much broader range of topics, styles of leadership, and ideas for ministry.
The final highlight for me was seeing that our churches hunger for the same things, experience many of the same challenges, and confront many of the same heartaches. At each section of the day, ministry to the next generations bubbled to the surface as a primary concern for our churches. Some, like Dan Straw at Florida Mesa, have for some time been making concerted efforts to reach younger people—we drew heavily from their gathered wisdom and experiences. Others feel the need deeply but struggle to discern where to start in their community. And, many were grateful for the insights provided by our younger participants (we have two college age officers in the cluster), and for the insights of “younger-ish” pastors who’ve worked with youth and are currently raising young families.
As we continue to think creatively as a Presbytery on what role the clusters can play I’d encourage you to consider sharing together in training and equipping. The pooled resources of Pastors and Lay Leaders along with energy created when we gather in a larger group may prove to foster further creativity and energy for ministry. I hope and pray this will be the case for the Southern Cluster, and I hope and pray your Cluster(s) too will find beneficial ways to connect.
Grace & Peace,
P.S. Attached are the notes and presentations from the day. One thing we learned quite by accident (a few of our presenters were unable to make it at the last minute) is that we were trying to fit too much into one day. We ended up making three presentations and ending about one hour earlier than scheduled. In retrospect I think it was for the best. Though it means we’ll need to refine and re-think a little for next year’s training!
Officer Training material
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