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    Author: Janice Kooken

    Category: The Pulse 2019, The Pulse - 2019.11 Issue 11

    Why I Attend Congregational Meetings

    WHILE ATTENDING THE MOST RECENT congregational meeting in January, I reflected upon what motivates me to attend these meetings. I believe it is the case that everyone finds it challenging to make four meetings a year, and I am unable to attend all of them due to scheduling conflicts and being out of town. I do try very hard to make it a priority to attend. So here’s my attempt to explain why I put a high priority on attending congregational meetings. 

    It's my right.
    I attend the congregational meeting because as a member of WEFC, it is my right to do so. As a voting member of our congregation, I have as much right as anyone else to give input into decisions that establish policy for our church. I have as much right as anyone else to know the details regarding the direction of our church.

    It's my privilege.
    Attending the congregational meeting is also a privilege. I am thankful to have found a church with a congregational form of governance where I am able to be a part of setting direction. This includes the finances, the building projects, ministry, vision, and outreach and more. In fact, God calls upon me to use my voice to guide the direction of the church. He works on me, to grow me in my faith walk, when he calls upon me to speak up during these meetings. He calls upon me to use my voice in a godly way, carefully stating my opinions or asking questions respectfully of our leadership and congregational members. He also calls upon me when I am given the opportunity to vote on something, to vote prayerfully and thoughtfully, because my vote helps set the direction for the church. I am very happy that I have this right.

    It's my responsibility.
    Attending the congregational meeting is also my responsibility. Responsibility goes beyond rights. I have a civic right to vote in our local, state, and national elections, and I also have a responsibility to exercise that vote in an informed manner. As a member of WEFC, I have a responsibility to attend congregational meetings to be informed of what is happening within our church. Although communication is pretty good and getting better all the time, nothing is better than attending the live meeting where issues are discussed. Before we moved to Connecticut, we attended a church in Illinois where attendance at congregational meetings was required. If I did not attend, I would get a telephone call or letter expressing concern over my well-being since I did not attend the meeting. That was an interesting perspective I did not expect! So this is what I decided: whenever I can, I attend congregational meetings. I attend so that I can know, so I can participate, and so I can vote.

    I can be part of the conversation.
    Recently I attended the WEFC conversation on the proposed building plans for our church. The conversation was lively, and our church leaders and the committee leaders listened and responded for several hours to many recommendations, opinions, and questions. The conversations were lengthy as was the meeting, and not everything was 100% resolved. A project as large and complex as this one cannot be launched with all questions answered perfectly. There will always be some elements of the process that we have to put into the hands of the committee and leaders to handle. Yet, I came out of the meeting with one overwhelming response: I must make sure I am present to vote on this! Even though I have not made my final decision on my position, I know for sure I must not miss the opportunity to vote.

    My encouragement to you.
    I encourage everyone in our church who is able to make attending Congregational Meetings a priority. Ask for more information on topics. Do your homework and read the materials that are disseminated prior to the meeting. Come prepared with your questions. Show discretion and care in how you ask your questions out of kindness to our brothers and sisters in Christ. And come ready to vote because your vote counts!

    Editor’s note: Our next Congregational Meeting is Thursday, 4/25 at 7:00 pm.