Well, this General Synod seems to taking wonderful and unpredictable steps. Give thanks to the God of Gods, for His mercy endures forever.
I have learned in my long years of ministry never to predict the outcome of a consistory meeting. And I have also learned to accept this as a very good thing. Not that learning this came easy. I have my ideas, after all, strong ideas, and my relationships with people mean that if they have business for the consistory, I like to make them happy ahead of time. But learning never to predict the outcome of a consistory meeting has been a relief for me as much as anyone.
It means that I respect the discretion and authority of my elders and deacons. It means that the meeting is vitally important, as a meeting, as the time and place for them to exercise their gifts of discernment and initiative.
The same holds true for meetings of classes and regional synods. You learn never to predict their outcome. That is, not when they are working as they should.
Of course, if you are a leader and a visionary, this can be frustrating. If you have a plan, a project, or a proposal, the meetings offer resistance, and you can experience them as obstacles.
And it can be especially frustrating if you are a staff person. As a staff person you need to have some control. You have other staff depending on you. You have set out for yourself your goals and objectives and your action steps. And your performance review is likely to be based on these. Meetings threaten these. That is, if they are meetings with real discretion and authority.
If your position is to be both visionary and staff, well, then, meetings of classes and synods are bound to be excruciating. You can work to reduce their frequency and restrict their authority.
Or you can be converted. You can come to see their resistance as a gift, and even as opportunity. But that takes great humility. And vulnerability. And you have to believe that the church that resists you loves you anyway. And you also have to believe that the Sovereignty of God is under the Kingdom of Christ, and that he can accomplish things quite well, thank you very much, and that the Kingdom is not for us to build or advance but to receive, in fear and trembling.
Let’s hope that this general secretary can learn these lessons, not only for his own health and happiness, but also to make it all easier and more joyful for everyone else.