Concord was organized in 1775 as part of the Presbyterian Church in the Americas. Continuing in that tradition, we are currently members of the Presbyterian Church (USA), which utilizes a Member driven leadership structure. Each year, the congregation selects four members of the congregation to serve on our "Session", which is the group responsible for the governance of the church, seeking to work together to discern the will of God and the direction for Concord. The Pastor serves as Moderator of the Session, helping to facilitate and lead those discussions. The Clerk of Session, who is a member of the church, serves as the record keeper and helps to organize the meetings so we can meet together effectively!
Our church doesn't have traditional committees that meet every month. Instead we use what we call the "Seasonal Structure" - based on the liturgical calendar, we divide up the year into 5 seasons. People sign up for a season's team, and that team then studies scripture together and discerns a theme, then uses the scripture and theme for the season to plan all the ministry and activities of the church for that season, including worship, fellowship, mission, education, and stewardship.
The liturgical calendar guides us on our faith journey as we encounter different aspects of scripture, God's call, and the life of Jesus through each season of the year. Each season lasts approximately 8-12 weeks, plus a planning period of 6-7 weeks, so the total time commitment for each team member is approximately 3-4 months. No one is allowed to be on consecutive teams, so each season has its own flavor, and no one gets burned out. Teams will be comprised of 5-8 team members.
The 5 seasons are:
Epiphany/Lent (February-April): The light has come into the world, and the darkness did not overcome it. Christ is revealed in many ways! This season includes the Annual Meeting. Later in the Season, we journey toward the cross, seeking God’s will. (Includes Holy Week)
Easter (always 7 weeks, April-May): Christ is Alive! We are Resurrection People!
Pentecost (June/July/August): The Holy Spirit is moving!
Harvest (September-October-November): We come together to hear God’s story yet again, from the beginning
Advent/Christmas December/January): We await Christ’s incarnation yet again, making room & preparing the way. Includes Christmas Eve.
Who is on a Season team?
Anyone can join a season team – all that is required is the ability to attend the initial planning meeting. Each team prays, studies, discusses, and works together to do what they feel God is calling us as a church community to do right now. No team is bound by previous teams’ activities, only by their own discernment and energy level.
Why do we do church this way?
Short-term teams mean more people can be involved without making year-long commitments. The work of each Season begins with Bible study, and scripture is the focal point for all that we do. Session can concentrate on the work they were meant to do—administration of the church resources and pastoral care of its members. The entire congregation has a hands-on opportunity to plan and implement the ministries of the church with less risk of burnout. Our staff helps the teams bring meaningful and awesome faith experiences to the congregation. Every season brings new encounters with God & new blessings from the Spirit!
What about ongoing things that need their own committees? There is a Administration committee that oversees the day-to-day business of the church, and some of our ongoing ministries have their own leadership teams (Youth Team, the Presbyterian Women, the Food Pantry). Everything else falls under the leadership of a season team, or the session directly. It has worked wonderfully for us.