Writing Policy is Ministry (And not for the Fainthearted)

Just like shifting church culture is not for the faintedhearted, writing policy for The Church is not for the fainthearted either. I don’t love writing policy (or writing anything by committee) but I spend my life trying to shift church culture. It occurs to me that the policies of any organization are – by definition – instrumental in shifting that organization’s culture. And writing policy is ministry.

Does this image make you excited or tired?

Examples of how policy impacts culture:

  • A nation’s policies on immigrants define how that nation views immigrants
  • A corporation’s policies on employee benefits define how that corporation values its employees.
  • A denomination’s policies on everything from family leave to investments to the very structure of the denomination define that denomination’s culture regarding how they value pastors and other church employees, how they discern what is financially just and unjust, and how flat or hierarchical their organization will be for the sake of their mission.

If you are yawning right now, I’m with you. I would be bored out of my mind writing legislation. But it matters. And our policies – like our budgets – reveal our true priorities.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

There is no integrity in saying that we – as a Church – trust women only to have policies that take agency away from women. I can’t take a Church seriously that says we value the voices of the vulnerable or disenfranchised only to exclude those voices in the work of the Church.

The 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA (my denomination) just completed it’s meeting over the weekend and the leaders who did the work are exhausted, exhiliarated, frustrated, proud, and in need of a deluxe foot massage. Thank you delegates, commissioners, committee/task force/commission members, and staff. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. What you’ve done is ministry.

There were missteps, mistakes and victories depending on your perspective. Church culture was shifted if only by inches. But the point of it all is that the results will bring us closer to the Reign of God – on earth as it is in heaven.

Image is from one of the committee reports in Louisville at GA225. Thanks to all photographers and videographers serving the Office of the General Assembly over the past several weeks.

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