Important takeaways from the Bishop’s Conference on Leadership

We were honored to attend the Bishop’s Leadership Conference, “Size to Size, Strength to Strength,”  at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend.

Linda Brice reports:  There were over 500 people rotating through the week-long conference, each church staying for two days. It was a joy to meet people from around the diocese and hear about various exciting programs they have as well as being able to share what St. Andrew’s is doing.

I attended several workshops including:

  • Developing a Spiritual Culture in Your Congregation Going Big by Staying Small
  • How to start a Small Group Ministry
  • Local Church: High Impact: Connection + Community

Two of the workshops: Developing a Spiritual Culture (DSC) and Local Church: High Impact were most informative for me.

The presenter in (DSC) likened church to a gym—albeit a holy gym. You go to the gym on a regular basis to strengthen your body and practice over and over the exercises that will improve your health and make you strong. The church is like that: you go to church to learn what practices/disciplines will strengthen your life in Christ, and then you go home and follow those spiritual disciplines to strengthen your spiritual body.

In the Local Church workshop we learned that if we want to make an impact in our local community we need to find out what the community needs and then plan accordingly. To learn about our community attending a community organization (like West Slope Neighborhood Coalition) or talk to librarians. Both of those sources are good ways to find out what your community needs.

Kristina Younger reports:

If you ever have a chance to attend a Diocesan training conference – take it. Diocesan conferences are always well run with good subjects, many that can be transferred to other organizations where you are active. It is also interesting to learn what other churches are facing in the various parishes throughout western Washington.

I attended sessions on “right-sizing one’s church,”  on marketing a church/non-profit, and on stewardship.

In regards to size, there is not a “right” or “wrong” size for a church. It is much like a musical group. A duet can make great music as well as a large orchestra; conversely, they both can also create bad music (I have attended school band concerts). Churches are much the same – a small church can function well and do great things and a large church can, too. However, they are very different. For example, in a large church, communication can be difficult and no one person knows everyone; while in a smaller church people often know most of all the parishioners.

This was the first time this type of conference was held in our diocese, and we hope, if it is offered again, more people will take advantage of this wonderful experience.