By Trixie Richter
Over 15 years ago, as a church Administrator at a Lutheran church in the Florida Bahamas Synod, I picked up the phone while at my wits end and called our Synod Office. I had questions about our parochial report and did not even know how to phrase my question to the person on the other end. They promptly put me in touch with our Resource Director, Irene Flynn. That call began a long and rich friendship in ministry that has influenced the ministry I do today. Irene invited me in to ask more questions and to report to her what was happening in our congregational setting and the needs we were facing as a community. Many times the calls resulted in resources for Adult Bible Study, Children’s Sunday school, VBS curriculum and stewardship and other times the calls encouraged discussion of the state of the Church, feedback of Synod initiatives from the congregation perspective as well as up to date information on what was happening in our Synod and Churchwide.
This ongoing relationship of Resource Director and Lay Leader in a congregation opened the door for Irene to invite me to attend workshops and volunteer for Synod events. I was very eager to learn and Irene never held back sharing all she knew, connections she made, and resources she procured. This ego-free give and take relationship opened us up to new ideas, ministry plans, and creative endeavors. She invited me into a Mission Interpreter group and from that opportunity, we were able to provide a support and educational opportunity for those who volunteered in the church, employed by ministry or stepped into leadership of church council, conference leaders, and synod council. Irene’s love of resourcing and sharing created a great resourcing center and Mission Interpreters were one of the main groups that all ministries were able to share their stories and have them shared back to the congregation.
This group of story listeners learned how to share, relate, and bring to life what was happening in our ministries. We gathered annually for speakers, workshops, and networking support to go back and continue the story telling in our setting. Most of the participants in our group are leaders in their communities and ministries. Many mentor and bring in others to learn about and share the stories we are learning. This relationship with our Resource Director, with open eager personalities, creates a community where the stories of God’s work and our hands can continue to be shared with the body of Christ.