WHAT MAKES A MEETING GOOD?
By Marie Willermark
“… And we pray, God, that you will bless our plans.” I have also prayed that prayer. However, I intentionally tried to stop that several years ago. What we say often reveals who we truly are. Words that ask God to bless what we plan and do reveal a life where we keep God under our control. He is kindly invited to give his blessing as a sort of spiritual bonus, confirming that we did our religious work quite well ourselves.
If we have received a new life with Jesus, that new life is the only life we have. We are always children of God. All we do is just a result of who we are.
When we have received divine grace and follow Jesus, that life is also the foundation for all work in boards and councils. It is the foundation but it is not enough. Spiritual gifts and a relationship with Jesus do not exclude the need for professional behaviour and the use of helpful regulations. It is rather the other way around. A corps council, the Territorial Finance Board or the High Council all benefit from clear guidelines as well as an awareness that God’s gifts, for example discernment and prophesy, are functioning through different people in the group.
While there is a danger that a too strict adherence to formalities kills a creative exchange, it is also true that meetings without rules of procedure achieve very little and risk being controlled by someone who has their own agenda in mind.
The High Council that elects the General (The Salvation Army’s international leader) usually spends over half its time agreeing on Orders of Procedure. Commissioner John Larsson describes this in his book Inside a High Council. Although we as members of the Council have the procedures from previous years to work on, the process of reading, amending and approving is important to give everyone ownership of what we do.
It is a matter of integrity and fairness that all members of a board are familiar with the rules of discussion and reaching a decision. That will minimise the risk that some might dominate and control the outcome. Apart from having rules of procedure that all benefit from, the chairperson always play a key role. It is a disaster when either an insecure person or a dominant person is in charge. We do well to remember that all kinds of leadership provide a place to serve alongside Jesus.
The High Council is a good example of the variety of ways a board can listen to input from God. There is an awareness of individual responsibility to hear God, we are aware of the constant presence of the Holy Spirit, who can work in mysterious ways, and there are moments of concentrated worship and prayer. The High Council has its own chaplain, who prepares regular breaks for Bible meditation and prayer.
Instead of praying for God to bless our plans, our whole life is about being part of God’s plans. The biblical model for that is being part of the Body of Christ. My ‘doing right’ is a natural consequence of ‘being right’ with God and other members of his Body.
This article has been shared with permission. The original article can be found here: https://mariewillermark.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/serving-with-god-in-board-meetings/
Commissioner Marie Willermark is the Territorial Commander of the Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territory. Born in Sweden, where she most recently served as Territorial Commander, Willermark was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1980. She has served as a corps officer, Divisional Youth Secretary, National Scout and Guide Secretary, and Divisional Commander in Sweden. In addition, she enjoyed the opportunity to serve in both Denmark and Ukraine.
Commissioner is pictured with the linen tablerunner produced by the Moldova Others team. It is available at mytradesouth.com for just $14.