Last week, in one of his daily coaching videos, John Maxwell spoke about the word “culture”. “The culture is the most important part of any organization,” he taught. “It’s who you are. It’s your behaviours. It’s the symbols that you have of your organization. It’s the underlying message. Sometimes you almost have to go underground to find the culture.” Maxwell then challenged leaders to look at their organization’s culture. “Ask yourself in all honesty, ‘Who are we? What’s our DNA? What are we like?’”
I believe that God has blessed Hope Fellowship with a culture of affirmation. Instead of judging, we accept. Instead of grudge bearing, we extend grace. Instead of focusing on the negative, we affirm the best in people and give people the room to explore their gifts. Do we do this perfectly? Not at all! But it is Christ’s ideal and our aim to sustain an encouraging environment in which people can shine and try again when they fall short or fail, as everyone does.
For me, today’s installation of elders and deacons is positive evidence that our culture of affirmation is giving more and more people the desire and confidence to step up and serve. Consider the fact that the two new pastoral elders who will be installed were chosen from five nominees, the three new deacons were chosen from five nominees, and the two new administrative elders were chosen from nine nominees. That’s seven new office bearers selected from nineteen willing persons! That’s remarkable at a time when many church leaders are lamenting the low number of nominations for the offices of elder and deacon.
I’m grateful for our seven new office bearers. But I also thank God for those who were not selected at this time: Annette, Jackie, John, Peter, Shane, Irene, Rob, Reuben, Neil, Gary, Carolyn and Sharon. It will be interesting to see where God wants them to use their talents and spiritual gifts instead.
- Pastor Peter