Friday, September 26, 2008

A Contemplative Business Meeting

The words "contemplative" and "business" seemed incongruent until I attended today's 2008 Business Meeting of Contemplative Outreach. I am impressed by the Board of Trustee's determination and efforts to find or develop a model of contemplative governance. For the last two years the Board has been prayerfully discerning ways to govern with a contemplative organizational structure based on the servant leadership style of Jesus. Decisions emerge out of group consensus rather than the power of a majority; they rely solely on the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. When giving the Treasurer's report, Mary Anne Best laughed, explaining that following a serious financial down turn two years ago, the Board decided to made Jesus their Financial adviser. The following year generous donations flowed in and they haven't had financial problems since! God always answers our prayers, sometimes even more generously than we would ask or even imagine. I noticed the atmosphere of the meeting was one of listening and openness to the views of others as well as the Spirit. The usual hierarchal model for officers has changed and is now known as the Circle of Service. The Holy Spirit is at the center of this circle, flowing out in all directions into the committees, the membership and their communities. This style of leadership is 180 degrees from what we are accustomed to in our goal oriented, ego-centered culture. Thank you, Circle of Service, for your continuing efforts to bring about the transformative process in us all.

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