During my convention address I talked about and even put on the big screen this short hand “recipe” for congregational vitality:
Healthy creative clergy and healthy creative lay leaders working prayerfully together.
After my talk I was stopped by someone who was concerned about what I had said. They were particularly concerned with the word “healthy.” Their concern was that I was giving the impression that physical health was necessary to the recipe.
They wanted me to clarify this during convention. While I did not do so then, I’d like to be a bit clearer at this point. I am not talking about physical health per say. I am talking about emotional and spiritual maturity. In fact, let me be even clearer: often it is those who have been through the fire of significant physical illness who are the most emotionally and spiritually healthy. They have experienced what it is to be totally dependent on God and they live out of the experience more often.
I have known some holy people in my life, men and women who have been parishioners in congregations I have been a part of as well as fellow clergy with whom I have had the privilege of serving. In most cases they were individuals who had experienced significant challenges and been strengthened for God’s service by the circumstances of their lives. Very public figures come to mind easily like the Most Rev. Desmond Tutu. But even more I remember those who have graced my life and are remembered by only a few people close to them. I suspect you have individuals in your life whom you know to be holy women and men.
In the Diocese of Oregon, we have many great and wonderful healthy and creative clergy and laity and they are working prayerfully together.
This is a great blessing and I give thanks for this truth every day.