Noted blogger, writer, and associate pastor at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in San Francisco Theresa Cho says letting go is also a metaphor for what she sees on the regional and national levels as she works to help her beloved denomination weather the tumultuous sea change going through North American mainline Christianity.
In this interview Theresa shares how listening and connectedness help her steady the course.
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In the 8 years Theresa Cho has called St. John’s home she has walked with a congregation that has changed out of desire, necessity, and mission. What’s more, she’s seeing how her role as Moderator of her presbytery and delegate to the Presbyterian General Assembly are also calling forth similar disciplines of listening and relationship-building. Here are my notes from the interview:
Increase Health Not Numbers
Theresa says toss out the old metrics of bucks and butts and concentrate on building the spiritual vitality of the congregation – respond to the deep spiritual yearning for community and connectedness.
Leaders: Listen DURING the Service
Sunday worship isn’t just about leading worship, it’s also a great opportunity to watch and listen. Theresa says the positive changes at St. John’s all came out of Sunday morning observations about what people said and did. How much do we listen and observe at worship?
Change is Coming from the Bottom Up
Theresa is particularly optimistic about the Presbyterian Church because the national leadership she’s witnessed is listening to the Spirit speaking through smaller churches – it’s an openness to the little voices of truth that makes her hopeful.
About Theresa Cho
Theresa Cho is an associate pastor at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. She is active in all levels of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., including youth conferences, women leadership conferences, Peacemaking Conferences, General Assembly Committees, and is currently serving as Moderator for the Presbytery of San Francisco. She has had a variety of life experiences that include teaching children with special needs and working in a multi-racial urban congregation in Chicago and Seoul, Korea. All this contributes to her passion for child advocacy, creating intergenerational worship experiences, and urban ministry. She regularly blogs for different sites, including her own, Still Waters.
Sponsors I Mentioned
Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest Episcopal Seminary in the U.S., forming men and women for leadership in the church. In addition to the MDiv, Anglican Studies and DMin degrees are their Masters of Arts degrees with a fous on Theological Studies, Christian Formation, Religion & Culture, and Biblical Interpretation. Check them out at vts.edu.