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What table do you gather around?

This week’s musing was a challenge for me because I wanted to write for pages about all the neat and interesting possibilities. And yet, the intent of these musings is to be part of a conversation and not a one-sided dissertation or sermon. So, I did my best to focus.

What makes serving in the church unique when compared to other organizations? Is there really a difference or do we simply begin the meeting with a prayer and then operate like any other organization?

Stephen Kolderup shared a chart on "Boardroom Table Mentality" and "Communion Table Spirit" with the group of ruling elders preparing to serve as commissioned moderators within the presbytery. Since that training session, the chart has been a reference point for the group as they continue their learning and something that I have thought about a lot.

The emphasis in the training material is that by focusing on having a communion table spirit instead of a boardroom table mentality, our priority shifts. When the church accentuates giving thanks for the range of gifts that God has given us, we are able to concentrate on asking, “Is this what God is calling us to do?”

Living into a communion table spirit means we take intentional steps to shift how we live and act together. This shift occurs in our meetings and gatherings when . . .

- Spending time together in prayer and studying scripture becomes a priority.

- Learning about each other as a unique child of God becomes a major emphasis.

- Breaking bread at the communion table and the dining table becomes a focal point.

- Listening for God’s call through the guidance of the Spirit becomes our focus.

Unfortunately, this shift can often be highly challenging because there are expenses to pay and agenda items to complete. Yet, when we explore the question “Is this what God is calling us to do?” we are empowered to move beyond emphasizing numbers to listening for how God is calling us into community and into serving together. When we strive to have a communion table spirit, our calling to faithfully serve God and God’s people becomes our central priority.

When we have a communion table spirit, “How well are we serving God and Christ’s church?” is the question that we are challenged to delve into. Let us strive to cultivate and encourage a communion table spirit.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion and fellowship of the Holy Spirit surround you today and every day.

Grace and peace, Bill Rev. William "Bill" McLean, II Presbyter for Congregational Care Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois

Please Note: The chart and quotations included in this Monday Musing are found on page 21 of “Ruling Elders – Workbook Two: Transformation” which is part of the “Being Reformed” curriculum series produced through the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.

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