As I began a season of transition – selecting and working with a brand new team of Elders, I started to think of the relationship between Affective Theology/Spirituality and Church Elders’ qualifications.
For me, it came down to the difference between two tables – the conference table and the dining table. I worked in the corporate world for many years and have sat down at various conference tables. To be seated at those tables, you would have to earn it – by your results, skills, and ultimately your ability to contribute to the company’s bottom line. That has also been the norm in many church leadership boards that I have sat in. I do not think that table is suitable.
I believe that the right table for a church is the dining table. Where people sit around you because you are relationally connected. You are welcomed to the table because you have a unique and important voice to contribute to the discussion. The goal is to have more people join the table and not restrict it to the elite. However, there are basic table manners that should be observed. Of course, not like the British Royal Family kind of dining etiquette but of respect and love for one another; to be honest and committed to the wellbeing of all that is dining at the table. All those seated at the table have chosen to be bounded by the chord of love and have been invited to the table by the head of the family – God the Father. Such a table would better suit the church than the cold, harsh corporate tables that we have wrongly placed in our midst.