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1013 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA, 98104
United States


The mission of Seattle Presbytery is to participate, in word and deed, in God’s transforming work through the Gospel of Jesus Christ: †by strengthening the witness and mission of our congregations and members and by building strong partnerships with each other and the larger Christian community.


Discerning Change: Learning the Culture of Your Presbytery

Bible Study: Matthew 28:16-20

Questions: What's going on in this passage? What do you see, hear, and feel about this passage? What do you wonder about? 

What do I mean by the "culture of a presbytery"? 

  • The people, place, and personalities that have influenced the collective witness of your presbytery.
  • The environment, the relationships, the emotional life of your presbytery
  • People -- those in formal roles AND informal roles -- those granted power, those who assume power -- the stakeholders, the legends, the beloved, the unloved. 
  • Place -- physical, geographical, structural, architectural -- contextual, this place in time, moment -- all connections in between 
  • Personalities -- relational, emotional history, the ethos, vibe, feeling of an organization

Big "Culture" Takeaway

These are the unseen forces influence the deliberations, decisions, and actions of any organization, but as an social organization that actually tends to its memory ("remember me"), these hidden factors have tremendous influence on how we see the past, present, and the future. 

Where do you start? 

  • You -- self awareness. 
  • Effective leadership in any organization means having a heightened awareness of the factors that determine success
  • Effective leading/moderating in a presbytery starts with self-awareness. 
  • What do you know about your call to be moderator? What is the story? What are the reasons? What are your reasons? 
  • What can you say already about the culture of your presbytery? How would you describe your presbytery? 

3 Keys to Self Awareness

Look -- pay attention and be aware of the subtext, of your underlying thoughts, feelings, emotions. Spend time observing. 

Listen -- Listen, listen, listen. Then listen some more. What's being said, what's not being said. What are people feeling? 

Learn -- Ask questions. Lots of them. There is more to be gained in a well thought out question, than in a whole hour's agenda.



It takes courage to lead with self-awareness and an eye toward the whole life of the body, by this I mean its emotional, inner life. This is the kind of leadership that is called for in churches and presbyteries today.

Being aware of the "culture" of a presbytery, means tending not just to what we're doing, but to we are, and who we are becoming.


Lens to the Culture of a Presbytery

Think of the culture of a presbytery as the social fabric of the larger church community, as a web of relationships that connect not only across the geography of a presbytery, but extend relationally and emotionally through the past and the into the present. That what you see at any moment in a presbytery's life, is not just an expression of what is happening in that moment, but what's been happening over time. What you do when you tend to this culture more intentionally, you have a greater affect on the outcomes of the present, so that the presbytery can better live into who it wants to be in the future. 

This culture -- this social, emotional, relational fabric represents the: 

  • best of who we've been 
  • blunders, failures, mistakes of times past
  • hopes of who we want to be 


Tips for Leading a Presbytery

  • Presbytery EPs and Stated Clerks have struggled as to who was the real leader of the presbytery. This is changing. 
  • Time for everything. There's a time to charge, there's a time to recharge. 
  • Take the Long View. There's only so much you can do in the moment. Real change takes time. 
  • Oh, take note of how the money is handled. And ask questions. 


Bible Study: Luke 24:13-19 (20-35)