Last night the elders of the Church and myself had our regular meeting. We try to meet every other week but it is harder to do in the summer so this was our last meeting for four weeks. Right before the meeting started I got up and walked around the table to close the door. Our meetings are private and we do not want anyone listening in our conversation. Now, I know that this behavior sounds very suspicious so let me explain what happens behind that closed-door.
1. We Share Needs – After we handle a few business items that need to be discussed. I open to floor to any needs that we know. Some of these are known to a large group and some are known only to a couple of people. Some of these are very personal and some are rather generic. This is our time to open up about any issue God has put into our lives or the lives of the congregation we serve.
2. We Try to Get the Whole Story – With there being four of us leading the Church we are able to use our different stories and experiences together. One or two of the men at the table have long-term leadership at the church and have known people for years. A couple of us are fairly new but ask a lot of questions. I know this is hard to believe but often the story one of us has heard does not match what another of us has heard. We are not doing this to gossip, rather we want to know what is really going on in people’s lives. Only in having an accurate account of events can we decide the best way to proceed.
3. We Talk About the Best Way to Help the Situation – This is one of the most interesting parts of the discussion. Each one of us might have a different idea on how to help the situation. For example, one of us might think we need to pay a bill, one of us might think we need to take food and still one of us might think that it is best to do nothing. We talk about these options. What has been done? What could we do? What should we do? What would be the most helpful now and in the long run? What will we do?
4. We Try to Develop an Action Plan – If at all possible we assign duties. One of us will go talk to them and one will call and arrange meals. One of us will pray and the other one will not get involved in this issue. This is not always possible, but sometimes we need to do something very practical.
5. We Pray For God to Work – Last but certainly not least we take the time to have each one of us pray. Each one of us specifically addresses God about one or two of the needs we have discussed. We ask for him to work in the situation, to show us how to help, and to be present in the solutions we are trying to seek.
Last night we sat behind the closed doors for almost two and a half hours. We discussed six needs within our congregation and tried to exhaust all areas of discussion. Not everything was resolved but we took a few steps in the right direction. I cannot give you the details of each situation and the discussion we had about them. Those are private and all four of us know and respect that simple fact. Your secrets are safe with us and that is why I closed the door.