I was in a training program called multiplying ministries last year where we learned about how to develop leadership within churches. One of the most brilliant ideas was around celebration. So this past Thursday we gathered a collection of leaders from Trinity and Sellwood Faith Community to celebrate the many years of leadership that they have provided to the Parish. We had treats and flowers to help set the celebratory mood.
As we began our time together folks introduced themselves since we had people who had never met in the room. Then Amanda explained part of the community organizing process and what it meant to have one to ones. A one to one is basically an intentional conversation. Folks listen without comment as one person shares and then they switch the listening and talking roles. The great thing about this gathering was it was a time to celebrate and to help leadership begin practicing some of the community organizing principles that we hope to use to shape our ministry in the neighborhood.
We had three opportunities for one to ones during our party. The first question we focused on was what is giving you life in your ministry area. As I shared I got goose bumps really thinking about all the life giving ministry already unfolding like new relationships being built, new moms coming to coffee, the way my sabbath schedule was grounding me for my work, and how great it has been to get back to preaching. After the conversations we shared those things that really impacted us with the larger group. It was lovely to celebrate the ways that ministry is brining life for some folks and it was helpful to name that some people are feeling worn out. The second question was what are your hopes and expectations for the Southeast Portland Parish. We found new partners and the room definitely came alive as people shared their hopes and their worries too. As we shared as a larger group the power of making space to celebrate and build relationships was apparent as folks admitted some of their fears were already vanishing as they began to know the other community. The third one to one focused on what needs to shift or change in each person’s leadership so that those hopes for the Parish might become a reality. These question brought lots of energy to the room as people got on board with being willing to experiment and risk for God.
We plan to do regular celebrations with our leaders and will continue to develop our relationships with one another using a variety of tools such as those one to ones. I am even more excited today for the work ahead of us!