I am on vacation this week at Chautauqua Institution. It has been a fabulous first two days. President Thomas M Becker tapped the gavel three times and officially opened the 134th session of Chautauqua and the tradition that seemed so overly formal last year was refreshingly welcomed this year. Rev. John M. Buchanan, pastor of Fourth Street Presbyterian Church in Chicago preached the opening message. The message of God speaking to Job in the whirlwind was inspiring and challenging.

I had the opportunity to sit at a table with pastors that had served in ministry a minimum of 40 years. We talked abut church, conflict, lay leaders, spiritual discipline, marriage, their mistakes and triumphs. I took two messages away that I will share real quickly.

Every church has experiences that have developed the character and leadership skills of the laity. This is a gift that every church can offer a new clergy person. What is your church’s gift that they can teach you to be a better pastor?

I think this is profound as I talk to pastors who are always telling me what they have to teach and get across to their congregations. Do we as pastor’s (especially whose who are in disciple making churches) listen enough?

The second take away is that no change should occur in your church where 20% of the worshipping congregation can not explain the reason and rational for the change. If less than 20% of your congregation is sufficiently informed, you have not shared it clearly with enough people.

I think that this is profound as I see all of the top down decisions that pastor’s make and implement and claim that “this is for the good of the congregation.” If most of us communicated clearly the reason for change to 20% of the congregation we would have greater buy in and less resistance to change.

I check back in later on !