Lifeline of Hope

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

A couple of weeks ago I received a daily devotional from one of our pastors (a huge thank-you for ideas, notes, and articles you all send me!). The devotional is called The Cottage and is written by Diana Butler Bass. This particular article was writing in the wake of the stock market drop, and Diana compared it to the decline in the mainline church. I know you’ve heard the numbers and seen the statistics for our denomination, and our presbytery. Diana’s point though, is that she is tired of the charts and trend lines. She writes, “People are sick of trends. We are searching for lifelines, not looking for trend lines.”

We need a lifeline in Giddings-Lovejoy. And I believe our Presbytery Gatherings can be the lifeline we are looking for.

Our Presbytery Gatherings are changing. On Saturday you will notice a distinctive shift in the format of the gathering. We are organized for change, and the key to change in our local congregations lie in the hearts and minds of our ruling elders. This is why we are inviting all ruling elders who serve on session, to this Presbytery Gathering. Brian McLaren will motivate and challenge us. He will help us to ignite the flame of passion for ministry. It is a message all leaders need to hear, especially those who are responsible for the direction of our congregations. The workshop leaders will speak to our hearts and share ideas we can take back to our congregations and make a difference.

Vanessa Hawkins often reminds me that the presbytery is in a season of resurrection, and we get to decide what that will look like. We need to be aware that in the midst of statistical decline, many, many things are going well. We are designing our Presbytery Gatherings to be a lifeline of hope, and a reminder that God is still active in the world. Our gatherings will remind us that we are being invited into the ministry that God is already doing.

If you haven’t registered, there is still time to be part of our Presbytery Gathering on Saturday at Webster Groves. The cost for non-commissioner ruling elders is only $20. I invite you to the learning, fellowship, sharing, and oh yes, we’ll do some business too!

Rev. Craig M. Howard

2 Responses to “Lifeline of Hope”

  1. Richard (Al) Murray on

    One item that could be on the list “what do we do” would be to take a look at the feasibility of beginning a Small Group effort within the Presbytery. This is not an easy thing to introduce, seems like CHANGE for many, requires a good understanding of just what Small Groups are, and what kind of resources are needed. But it seems to work. Unfortunately it seems to fit larger congregations of which we don’t have a lot, but in some cases even smaller church’s can make a good go of it.


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