One of the biggest changes in the way Methodist congregations (or in Church-speak, “societies”) work has been taking place in the last few years. Gone are ‘Leaders’ Meetings’, here now are ‘Church Councils’.
Except that in many places, the name has changed but the thinking has not.
Methodist Church Councils in Ireland are not (maybe that should read, ‘should not be’?) dictatorships, where the minister tells everyone else what’s going to happen.
Nor, perhaps surprisingly to those of us who belong to countries currently trying to impose it on others, are Church Councils democracies.
Instead, the whole church family together discerns what part of God’s Mission God has for them to accomplish. Then the Council prays and works to make sure it happens, to keep things on track, to deal with distractions and prioritise the use of resources.
The Church Council is NOT a parliament, with a person representing each organisation or viewpoint. It is a TEAM to effect the mission of the church.