Elders are called to discern God’s will and direction for our church. As the heads of various ministry teams, elders work with members in the congregation and other Trinity staff to see through Trinity’s day-to-day operations, programs, ministries, missions, and finances. Elders gather once a month for a formal Session meeting and are committed to their area of ministry for three years. For a brief description of each team’s responsibilities and the elders serving on that team, click on the links at the right.
Session Update TN April 2017
Session Grants Partial Sabbatical to Pastor Doug
At the December 2016 meeting, session granted Pastor Doug an abbreviated sabbatical of four weeks that will be taken from June 26-July 23, 2017. The principle of the Sabbath is at the very heart of creation. Genesis 2:2, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” The Sabbath principle is articulated in the fourth commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11). In Exodus 31:17, we read that God rested and was “refreshed” on the seventh day. The Hebrew literally says, “He paused to catch his breath.” When we read this, we need to remember the Bible makes it clear that the Lord never grows weary (Isaiah 40:28) and never sleeps (Psalm 121:3ff). God does not need to rest. Rather, these Scriptures show us that God stepped back, in a sense, to savor the fruit of his labor. So what are the implications for us, as people created in the image of God? God commands us (this is not a suggestion!) to rest weekly. We literally need physical rest and refreshment weekly. This Sabbath provides relief from work, and also gives us space and time to worship and to savor the fruit of our labor. Sabbath is God’s gift for our spiritual, emotional, intellectual and relational renewal.
Leviticus 25 shows that the Sabbath concept was extended beyond the honoring of one day each week. The land was to be given a sabbatical rest one year out of seven. This is the biblical rationale for considering sabbaticals in ministry (and also in academic professions—which were initially oriented toward theology and religious training). There was also to be economic “refreshment” of the society (a year of Jubilee) after every 49 years (7 times 7).
Because so much of vocational ministry is “soul-driven” and “idea-driven” and “vision-driven” and “relationally-driven,” those who serve in ministry leadership (and those they serve) will benefit greatly from a season when they get out from under the daily load of responsibilities and pressures in order to “catch their breath.” They will benefit greatly from time to “graze” in the pastures of ideas and activities that are not directly related to the immediate needs of ministry. Countless studies have shown that such “wasted time” is key to creativity, freshness and greater productivity. Ministry leaders need time to detach (no small challenge) and “get up on the balcony” to observe the pattern of “what is” and to use “holy imagination” to envision new patterns of “what could be.”
Trinity’s sabbatical leave is intended to provide clergy and LEAD team staff members with an uninterrupted opportunity for spiritual renewal, study and intellectual refreshment, personal and professional growth, renewal in their most important relationships, and revitalization of vision. Participants can engage in a variety of opportunities. These could include programs of study and/or research in order to become more effective teachers and leaders and to enhance their services to Trinity. They could also pursue personal study or publishing projects.
We pray that Doug has a refreshing time away. He has certainly carried an enormous load in his more than ten years at Trinity and we want him to have this time to rest, to restore himself and his energy and to do some work without the pressures of day to day ministry. We also pray that the congregation will remain strong during this time of rest for Doug. Let us all be supportive of our amazing, dedicated staff and continue to be engaged in worship, fellowship and service. Trinity is an inwardly strong congregation and this is a time to really let that strength shine!
On April 2, 2017 the congregation voted to call Steve Miller as the Associate Pastor for Care Ministries for Trinity United Presbyterian Church. Steve comes to Trinity from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Westlake Village, CA where he has been serving as the Associate Pastor of Discipleship. Steve is married to Mende and has to college-aged children Josh and Hannah. Steve is expected to start at Trinity at the beginning of June.
Pastor Ron is currently working with the Human Resources Team to recruit a Director of Adult Ministries and Pastor Jeff has been actively recruiting a Director of College and Young Adults. The filling of this position may be announced by the time this report is published. In addition, session has approved the creation of a Pastoral Ministry Internship Program, which is designed to provide hands-on ministry experience and practical leadership training to those exploring pastoral ministry.
Sunday offerings for the first two months of the year were $79,000 higher than the first two months of 2016 and expenses were $35,000 lower over the same period. With the positive variance to both offerings and expenses, there is a surplus for 2017 so far of $19,000. We are so grateful for the generous giving of Trinity’s congregation that has allowed us to start the year in a strong financial position.
Session meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month, with occasional exceptions. For a complete copy of the minutes of a session meeting, contact email@example.com or 714.505.6254 x102.