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Leadership ... It’s Not What It Used to Be

By Cindy Marino

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Who are our leaders?  In response to that question last fall, we published a flyer that included photos and descriptions of our Church Council members.  These are the folks who make sure finances, personnel, and building needs are addressed at Grace. They are faithful, experienced, and committed to God and the people of Grace. They lead with integrity in a time when the church is regaining its footing in a world that needs footprints to follow.

But, there is more to leadership, just as there IS more to life. Who are the spiritual leaders at Grace?  You might say, “Well, to state the obvious, that would be the pastors.” True enough. We hope the pastors provide spiritual leadership.  

But there are other spiritual leaders at Grace whose gifts can take Grace from being a faith-based organization to being a faith-filled community of God’s grace. You have seen these other leaders witness their faith to you at each worship service during the Season of Lent, as they have led the congregation in prayer. The deep faith they’ve professed in these prayers has inspired me again and again.  I am so grateful for their courage and willingness.

These leaders have something in common beyond their passion for God and for prayer.  They share a call to spiritual leadership, nurtured through a process of self-discovery and time with God. These are persons who have attended the Walk to Emmaus Retreat offered through the Upper Room Ministry of the United Methodist Church. The retreat is designed to develop leaders in and for the local church. 

Grace UMC has never limited leadership to folks with these experiences in their portfolio, nor would we do so, but time and time again, it is those with Emmaus experience who seem confident in their call and willing to serve in a way that draws others to Christ. 

I highly recommend the Walk to Emmaus Retreat for anyone looking to rethink or to further their relationship with God and others. The Emmaus Retreat offers a simple lineup of talks based on John Wesley’s theology of God’s grace. It’s a very “United Methodist” thing to do, but is open to anyone. 

If you are interested please contact Judy Cornett or talk with any of our ‘pray-ers’ in worship. You can always talk with me as well; although, with these deeply led lay spiritual leaders serving on our behalf, who needs a pastor?