Serving as a congregation president can be a blessing—and a challenge. Whether it’s calling a new pastor or teacher, dealing with financial shortfalls or windfalls, or making long-range plans, there is always work to be done.
“As a church president, sometimes you feel you have the weight of the world on your shoulders,” says Dennis Behnke, congregation president at St. John, Woodville, Wis.
To help lighten the load, Behnke started an informal group of area congregation presidents who meet face to face every other month to talk about common issues congregations and congregation presidents face. Since the group started two years, members have tackled topics such as compensation packages, insurance, the relationship between a congregation president and the pastor, buildings and grounds issues, and how men and women work together in service to the church.
“It’s been fantastic for me getting different slants and ways of looking at a situation,” says Behnke. “When you’re sharing with other people, you realize that you’re not in this alone. We’re a group. The Lord has placed us in this position, and he is going to help us through.”
Besides being a best practices forum, the group also has guest speakers. Most recently Joel Zank, Northern Wisconsin district president, talked to the group about the call process. “It’s really a neat thing to see these men work together, pooling their resources,” says Zank. “Pastors get together and have those brotherly conversations in circuits. It’s pretty nice when the laymen do that too. It’s just good communication between leaders.”
Between 20 to 25 church presidents from various sizes of congregations—some who have served for years and some who just have been elected—are a part of the group. “For a new church president to sit down with the guys who have been doing it for a while and to be able to draw from their experience is just fantastic,” says Behnke.
Behnke encourages other congregation presidents to start groups in their area. “As a congregation, we can only do this much. As a group of different congregations, we can do that much more,” he says. “If we talk to each other, we can take our different strengths and bring them to every congregation.”
Want more tips on starting a group like this? Contact Behnke at email@example.com.
Do you have a manuscript, idea, or story from your own life you’d like to share for use in Forward in Christ or on wels.net? Use our online form to share it to our editorial office for consideration.
Get inspirational stories, spiritual help, and synod news from Forward in Christ every month. Print and digital subscriptions are available from Northwestern Publishing House.
Volume 102, Number 12
Issue: December 2015
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us