Service From The Soul

Blog post by the Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Transitional Leader

On Saturday morning it all came together. The presbytery office hosted a celebration of the work and ministry in Tower Grove. After the celebration, we had a called Presbytery Meeting. Close to 60 people came out to fellowship, tour the building, talk about the past, worship, and imagine a new future for the presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy.

What caught my attention is how well the staff worked together. Vanessa helped Leigh with the kitchen and set-up. Jennifer helped Joy with handouts and operating the PowerPoint presentation. Janice moved up and down the stairs doing copies, photos, and picking up loose ends.

The presbytery has hired good people. Vanessa, Leigh, Janice, Joy, and Jennifer can stand on their own, do the work they were hired to do, and do it well. But good leadership means taking gifted individuals and forming them into a team. This is done by shifting the focus from the individual, to nurturing relationships between individuals, and the organization.

Teamwork goes beyond individual capability. Being in relationship means moving beyond skills and utilitarian function. Relationships must include seeing staff as people; people with hearts, souls, desires, and dreams. Good leadership is able to knit together these deeper parts of the staff, workers, and volunteers, so they work seamlessly together for the mission and vision of the church.

In the book, Leading In a Culture of Change, Michael Fullan writes, “When individual soul is connected to the organization, people become connected to something deeper- the desire to contribute to a larger purpose, to feel they are part of a greater whole, a web of connection.”

Becoming part of a web of connection is one of the reasons people join churches, serve on session, and go on mission projects. This is what the people who were gathered together on Saturday talked about; this is why they volunteered to work at the presbytery center.

When people experience a soul connection with the church; when staff and volunteers are serving from their souls, it moves people beyond their “jobs” and inspires them to do what is best for the presbytery and church.

Rev. Craig M. Howard

6 Responses to “Service From The Soul”

  1. Paul Reiter, HR on

    Thank you Craig for reclaiming and naming the important dynamic of what it means to have leadership in a staff functioning together. During my tenure as Executive Presbyter, we shared those qualities together. It is wonderful now some seven years after my retirement to see that value still at work in the staffing of the presbytery. Blessings!

    • Craig Howard on

      The relational spirit was present on Saturday among those who worked together under your leadership. Thanks for setting a high bar!

  2. Julie Allen Berger on

    Thx for a meaningful morning from a resident of Shaw for 30+ years. Craig, several folks have asked if it would be possible to post Susan Nielsen’s reflections on the center in this newsletter. (I commented appreciatively on it thru FB). Passing along …. thanks, Julie

    • Craig Howard on

      Thank you for attending! Susan’s letter is in this newsletter, along with a slideshow of photos from the event.


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