“I just faithfully do my thing at my church/in my diocese and don’t have time to do more meetings.”
“I don’t care about General Convention and all that political stuff – I just want to engage my ministry.”
“Why would they pick me? I’m just a youth minister!”
Lifelong Faith Formation is an integral part of EVERYTHING we do as we engage God’s mission in the world as the Episcopal Church. The above statements are the objections frequently heard when youth ministers and formation professionals are asked to consider running as General Convention Deputies or to serve on Committees, Commissions, Agencies, and Boards (CCABs). Both deputies and CCAB’s are the bodies that help form the church and set the mission and priorities of the work of the church.
When asked to step up in leadership, a first response may be, “But I’m just a youth minister, children’s minister, young adult leader…” As Jesus was calling the disciples, he chose the unexpected folks, just as they are, just where they were to bring their passion, gifts and talents and follow him. He chose people to serve their community in a new way, to learn new things, and to bring others along side them in this journey.
As formation professionals, we are being called to step up in leadership. We are being called to bring our experience, passion, gifts and talents to serve God and to serve the church. Stepping into these new roles of leadership may be challenging, difficult, frustrating, life-giving, life changing, or nurturing.
As passionate people who serve God in the church, we cannot continue to abdicate our responsibilities and leadership. If the voices of people doing formation with children, youth, and young adults aren’t being heard, the church will not be able to engage the changing context of our mission field. Some of the passionate leaders who have been faithfully serving in these capacities and have been the strong advocates for ministry with rising generations are aging out and retiring. We need new wine for the new wineskins as the church responds to calls for change. And we need the voices of the formation networks speaking up in ALL aspects of our mission and ministry across the church.
We are praying that many of you will offer yourselves for leadership in three ways:
- Complete a nomination form to be considered for appointment to a CCAB. They are due August 14 and ask you to share your gifts, skills, and passion. Be bold and thorough! (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2015CCABNomination) A draft list of the CCAB’s can be found here: http://houseofdeputies.org/episcopal-church-interim-bodies-2016-2018.html
- Run for election as a General Convention Deputy in your diocese.
- If not you, then who? Nominate someone else who you believe is called to this sort of leadership. And if it is a young person who comes to mind, please walk with her/him and provide mentorship and pastoral care on the journey.