The word “resilience” is often associated with some sort of psychological measure of an individual. This means for the reader the subject of resilience might carry an implicit message of “What can you do differently in your life?” It’s not always helpful to consider such a question in isolation.
Perhaps there is a different way to think about resilience in a Church of Scotland context? Perhaps a more helpful question, or invitation, is to think about the resiliency of the things that we all play our part in. For example:
- the resiliency of a Vision or a shared goal
- the resiliency of our understanding of theology and the worship and praise of God
- the resiliency of what makes up our Church structures at every level
While these could be seen as quite abstract matters, they are essential building blocks to how we live our lives in ministry each day. They encapsulate much about our relationships and routines, and how we share and build trust with others along the way.
Relationships in ministry can help form a resiliency together and say much about the faith that roots and grounds us to a higher purpose, in following Jesus’ call:
- the way we interact with one another, working alongside our office bearers and colleagues
- the way we share together in Presbytery with a common task and challenge
- the way we shape our ministry in the context of mission
We cannot pretend we live in a time without hurt, pain or mistakes, and we should be aware that there is a tension in what holds us together, and what pulls us apart. None of us are un-connected, because we are part of the Church, the congregation, the Presbytery, the local context….and we care…about one another.
When we realise we are sharing a burden, while the challenge does not dissolve, the journey can feel more possible because it is shared. We walk together. Understanding resilience as part of that movement, can be helpful. When we share love, wisdom, compassion and support as part of our collective experience, we can build a resiliency that is grown by acting together.
We may rightly lament the difficult road that lies ahead, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a road to travel in faith and hope. Everyone – office bearer, elder, employee, member, trustee/minister/those on the margins – we all share in this hard work.
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.