Things That Matter

Parish Dynamics


I recently attended a meeting where the facilitator asked each of us to summarize our backgrounds and the number of years we had served in parish ministry. At the time, I thought of my response as a matter of fact and without embellishment. As I reflected on the event later, however, I recognized within me a deeper motive of pride in my past accomplishments. As it turned out, I was the only volunteer leader among a group of professional lay ministers, and I unconsciously felt the disparity in position and wanted to elevate myself in their eyes.

In I Kings 19:9-13, we read about Elijah coming to stay in a cave on the mountain of God, Horeb. Outside the cave, he hears, sees, and feels a driving wind, an earthquake, and fire. Yet, Elijah determines that God is in none of these. Rather, upon hearing a “tiny whispering sound,”…

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