I have had a growing and fruitful relationship with the Maseru United Church (MUC – an interdenominational church) for the past few years. This is the second leadership retreat they have invited me to facilitate. The first one last year was to teach on leadership, church government and structure. They implemented structural changes that led to a second retreat last weekend (29 April to 1 May) – to decide on the Mission and Vision and core Values of the church. It was an honor for Gill and I to attend, and for me to facilitate the process.
We went to Pumula Guest Farm outside Fouriesburg, on the border of Lesotho. What a lovely place in the mountains, with invigorating fresh air and a real feast for the eyes! Fourteen elders and deacons participated. Again, back to back meetings, but of a positive stimulating kind!
The lead pastor, Vernon Vera, had prepared draft mission and vision statements, as well as a list of core values. I prepared meditation exercises for each session to guide each leader through a prayerful evaluation of the proposed mission, vision and values. Then we all met for feedback and discussion to finalize the mission statement, after that the vision statement, and then the core values. And what a wonderful process it was. God was at work speaking through the scriptures, the meditations, the discussions and the growing consensus.
I have not often seen such a healthy diversity of views and ideas blending into a gracious yielding to group consensus, resulting in a genuine unity at each step of the way. It was not without some disagreements and tensions, which speaks of health! By the Saturday evening we had finalized all three statements. Everyone said a heart-felt “amen” at each step with a growing sense of joy and conviction that God was at work putting it all together. The Sunday morning gave me time to present a planning template for each ministry team of the church, which the elders will implement. Then we worshipped and broke bread and ministered to each other, bringing the very successful retreat to a grateful conclusion.
Thanks for your prayers for this ministry trip – it was a great investment in a good group of leaders. I believe MUC will go and grow into God’s purposes as these leaders continue to seek God; as they lead from their knees and keep a robust and honest, a gracious and yielding, attitude toward one another. Pray for them – God has big plans for them and the church!