Sunday, January 18, 2015

Congregational meeting considers balance of individualism, teamwork, and old fashioned authoritarian "committees"

Today, the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC held a breakfast and lunch session (as well as the worship service) with congregational consultant Rev. Dr. John Wimberly  (site) , actually from the Presbyterian denomination.
During the “Sunday school” portion, Wimberly was discussing how “Generation X” (age 35-44) looks for church affiliation.  One interesting point is that this is the first generation that often experienced mandatory community service as a high school or sometimes college graduation requirement.  (For example, George Washington University in Washington DC will introduce incoming freshman to an “annual day of service” on a Saturday each September.)  And many volunteer groups now require training and minimum time commitments from volunteers as well as staffs. 
As a result, this group is used to the idea of “teamwork” as opposed to working in “committees”, which it sees as rather authoritarian. I used to associate the idea of committee with “draft board”, after all.
But “teamwork” has supplanted the idea of hyperindividualism, Dr. Wimberly said, in an answer to a question from me. I pointed out that the goal of a “team” can still demand commitment and loyalties that are inconsistent with personal achievement goals.  He said my attitude was the same as his was during the 1990s, as the Internet was taking shape, during the best of the Clinton years (a conservative Congress but relatively socially liberal by fiscally responsible president – Bill Clinton).  
The sermon was called "It Is Never Over", and I wondered if it would bear any relation to the film by Andrew Jenks, "It's Not Over", reviewed on the Movies blog Jan. 15.  

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