Start with Why
A few weeks ago the Session of Starmount Presbyterian Church gathered together at River Landing for our annual retreat. There were three main goals for this gathering. The first was for our new Session to bond together. Each year ⅓ of the members of our Session rotate off and they are replaced by our newly ordained and installed Elders. Therefore, it is important to begin each new year by allowing all of our Elders to get to know each other better.
The second goal of this gathering was to listen for God’s collective calling upon this congregation. Ultimately, this is one of the essential functions for the Session each time we gather, but at the outset of a new year it is always good to be reminded of this and engage in what I would describe as some “active listening” to God’s call. We grounded this work biblically in the story of Elijah. Elijah was a prophet who found himself at a crossroads. He was scared and alone, hiding in a cave and listening for God’s call. His story is a wonderful example for us of how to listen for God, even when it may be hard to hear.
Finally, we spent some intentional time reflecting on the very core aspects of what makes our congregation special, and how we might remain faithful and consistent in those elements as we think about our plans for the future. In order to provide us with some common language for this discussion, we discussed a concept put forth by business and organizational expert Simon Sinek called the “Golden Circle.” You can actually go and watch a Ted talk where he explains this more fully at: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en At a basic level, he explains that often organizations know what they do, or even how they do it, but almost never have a clear understanding of why they do what they do.
We had a fascinating discussion at our retreat in which we tried to identify the “why” of Starmount. The Session did a wonderful job engaging with this concept in simple and complex ways. They will continue this work in the months ahead, and we plan to share their work with the congregation as it becomes further developed. We will surely want all of your input as well. Therefore, I invite you to think about it for a moment. What would you say is the “why” behind everything we do here in this church? I pray that God might make this clear to each of us as we move into an exciting future together.