Glossary of Terms

Administration
The task of conducting the "business" of the church as stewards of God's gifts and servant leaders in ministry.

Agenda
A formal or informal map or outline of a meeting that includes important stories to be shared, meanings to affirm, and decisions to be made.

Biblical/Theological Reflection
The practice of distilling wisdom from a Scripture story or passage and weaving it together with the story of an individual or a group, thereby giving us insight into the ways of God's Spirit. This is one of the "practices" of WORSHIPFUL-WORK.

Board President/Moderator/Chairperson
In most denominations a lay leader chairs or moderates meetings. In others, this is the role of the Pastor. The Moderator/Chairperson works with an agenda planning group in forming the agenda of the meeting and processes it in a prayerful and orderly way.

CEO (Chief Executive Officer)
A paid designated leader who administers the affairs of a for-profit or not-for-profit organization. A significant amount of responsibility is given by the board for the officer to manage the task.

Charism
A gift of the Holy Spirit given to individuals or groups for the good of the community. The unique gift (1 Cor 12:4-11) carries with it the responsibility of exercising it to renew the church and world.

Church Boards
Elected or appointed members of faith communities who are given the special service of leadership and governance. The size ranges from 6 to 75, most have 6 to 24 members. The congregation elects/selects/discerns them usually on recommendation of a nominating committee. The normative term of service is 3 years. Varying with congregations, they are called elders, deacons, session, vestry or council members, or consistory.

Church Councils
Elected, appointed or discerned members of a governing or advisory board which provides leadership for religious congregations/denominations. At times chairs of committees sit on the council to plan and coordinate the ministry of the church.

Committee Meetings
Working groups of members in a religious congregation who gather to plan and oversee particular ministries of the church. The smaller number provides opportunity to gather a wide range of wisdom and experience, relate the issue to the tradition of scripture, envision a future, and prayerfully discern God's yearning and leading.

Congregation
A community of believers who practice their common faith.

Corporate spirituality
The practice by a group of faith oriented and committed people to the basic movements of surrender to God, ministering for God, and naming God's presence.

Deacon
A distinct ministry in the church. Deacons promote the service role of the entire community by engaging in pastoral activities within congregations.

Decision-making
The end product of a process for seeking the wisdom of God in an open and inclusive way. One or more methods may be used, e.g. discernment, consensus.

Discernmentarian
A spiritual guide/director for a small or large group. This person helps the group know where they are in the process, keeps the process moving, and keeps the focus on seeking the mind of Christ in a given matter.

Diocese
A Catholic or Episcopal community, usually circumscribed territorially, entrusted to the pastoral care of a Bishop.

Elders
A time honored tradition of identifying and relying on the wisdom and discernment of specially gifted "sages" of tribes, communities or congregations. Members of the Session in Presbyterian polity.

Faith Community
A formal organization of persons with common beliefs and commitments, usually with designated leaders.

Governance
The process by which orderly decisions and implementations of them are accomplished.

Judicatories
Regional associations of churches of the same denomination for the purpose of coordinating and extending the mission of the church.

Leadership
To identify and hold forth a vision that gathers the commitment and efforts of a group. To model and prompt a response from members of the community.

Learning community
Persons engaged in focused learning and common prayer for strengthening their congregation/organization.

Movements in Spiritual Discernment
The ten dynamics that constitute a process of spiritual discernment, i.e., Framing, Rooting.

Not-for-profit boards
A group of persons associated around a goal or vision. They are formally organized via application to and recognition by the state. The purpose for which they are formed needs to benefit the community as a whole, not just the interests or enrichment of a few persons.

Pastor
The religious leader of a congregation.

Practices
The art of engaging in an activity to build up the body of Christ. Worshipful-Work names four "practices": History Giving/Story Telling, Biblical/Theological Reflection, Visioning and Prayerful Discernment.

Presbytery
A geographical governing body of an association of Presbyterian churches.

Priest
An ordained clergy person who facilitates the use of ritual, liturgy and teaching in order to draw people into a deeper relationship with God.

Religious Congregation/Order
A group of religious persons with a particular authority structure recognized by the church, sharing a common life and ministry.

Ritual
The form, method or order of engaging in a religious ceremony or part of a religious ceremony; a ceremonial act; a significant custom, rite or observance.

Sage
An experienced person of faith to whom members of a religious community look for spiritual wisdom.

Session
A Presbyterian congregation's church board, made up of Elders selected from among its members.

Spiritual Director for a meeting
A designated person who seizes the moment and offers a religious or spiritual practice which centers the group or offers their life to God.

Spiritual Discernment
A spiritual practice in which one sees to the heart of the matter, or from God's perspective. The prayerful process calls for humility and a patient listening to many sources of experience and wisdom.

Spiritual Formation
A process of assisting one in becoming a faithful and effective servant of God, i.e., reflecting in one's being the image of Christ. This takes place via prayer, study of Scripture, engagement in a faith community and faithful witness and service.

Spiritual Leaders
Persons called by God and recognized and appointed by a community to direct and engage the membership in the practices of faith.

Spirituality
A life of finding one's center in God and leading from that center as the indwelling Spirit of God prompts. Worshipful-Work operates from a posture of Trinitarian spirituality, one in which God's presence is acknowledged as beyond us, around us and within us.

Story-telling
The personal or communal sharing of an account of human experience. This ancient practice forms identity, establishes and re-creates communities, and generates passion for life when it is practiced.

Symbol
A material object or art piece representing something abstract, e.g., a quality, a relationship.

Vestry
The church board or leadership body of an Episcopal parish.

Vision
The picture of a different or future setting in which current and important values find expression, i.e., the result of the art and practice of "visioning."

 
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