“Let’s Talk It Over: 10 Conversations on Supporting Church Workers” is a new resource from the LCMS Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support (CMGS) intended to help church professionals and lay leaders discuss potentially sensitive issues in a way that can lead to “health, vitality, and good will,” says Dr. Bruce Hartung, former executive director of the CMGS.
Those 10 issues — identified for targeting by a committee of church workers and lay people — are pay and benefits, time out (vacations and sabbaticals, for example), self care, healthy family support, time management, vocational development, spiritual growth, proper boundaries, spiritual warfare, and empowering and letting go.
Each conversation covered in “Let’s Talk It Over” features a Bible study prepared by a parish pastor and a set of discussion questions, and is presented in a full and a shorter version. An accompanying DVD features a vignette illustrating each conversation.
Hartung emphasized that each conversation “is self-contained, and can be used independently of the others.”
“In these days of a broader culture of in-your-face kinds of behavior,” he said, “creating a culture in the church of courageous conversations is of great value.”
Hartung told Reporter that in producing “Let’s Talk It Over…,” the CMGS recognized the importance of “open[ing] forthright and honest dialog between people of faith about these very important issues.”
He said that the resource “should be of particular value” to elders and other church-worker support committees at the congregational, circuit, district, or church-body levels, and that it could serve as a “springboard for courageous conversations about other important issues among those communities.”
Hartung said that “Let’s Talk It Over” is intended for ongoing use and “should serve as a reminder that we dare not get so caught up in the busyness of our work that we neglect honest, fraternal discussion about issues that foster healthy workers and healthy environments for their lives.”
He added that the new resource is a companion piece to “Paths to Growth,” another interactive resource offered by the CMGS for the last several years that addresses conversations on continuing education and life-long learning for church workers.
“Let’s Talk It Over: 10 Conversations on Supporting Church Workers” is available for $15 for each DVD and set of Bible studies and discussion questions. To order, or for more information, call (314) 996-1378 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Development of “Let’s Talk It Over” was partially funded by a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
Posted June 30, 2005