Just Thinking... New Beginnings and New Attitudes


I had a fantastic week! I was kind of dreading it, if I am to be honest with you. After all I had not been in a true classroom setting with the likes of a professor such as Luther Smith in over 30 years. There were three books to read and two papers to write before December 31,  2015. There were lectures from 9 to 5 each day and  four papers to write, one a night. Plus a meeting with my project advisor to hear yes or no.  One lesson learned was that if God has opened this door, then there is really nothing to dread. It was amazing.  I was blessed. I grew, and Dr. Burkholder said, "Yes." (She even said this will be fun!)
Our theme was "Leadership As A Practice." Luther Smith brought this theme to life each day, and I felt as if I were sitting at the feet of one of the greatest minds and hearts. The cohort worked together in person and bonded as a cohesive group of colleagues and friends. (For the last year and a half, we had met only online.) Our time was well-spent, and we long to gather again.  Of course, we will continue gather each Monday and Wednesday for online classes until May. 
One of the books that has touched my heart and that I would recommend for each of you is a book entitled The Leadership Labyrinth: Negotiating the Paradoxes of Ministry by Judson Edwards. Dr. Edwards is a pastor, and he shares simple but insightful truths for us who have been called to lead. Each paradox has what it seems to be a downside, but Dr. Edwards helps us see the good as well. Here are a few of his truisms: [My comments are in the brackets.]
The harder you try to control a group, the less control you will have. (Don't I know that!)
The busier you are, the less you will accomplish. (Now, don't stop working.)
The more you preach about money, the less you will receive. (Ouch!)
The more you preach, the less you will have to say. (Woohoo, shorter sermon this Sunday!)
The most serious issues cannot be handled seriously. (Uh, see above.)
The weakest people in the church tend to wield the most power. (Ain't this true!)
The issues you want to push are beyond pushing. (No wonder we are so tired.)
People seldom have to choose between right and wrong. (WORD!)
There are many more paradoxes which he shares. I commend the book to you. I plan to keep it on my desk as a handy resource and reference. 
Leadership in ministry needs to be about joy, my friends. If we are not having fun, if we have lost the fire that burned in our belly, if we are always pushing that dang rock up the hill only for it to come rolling down again, then we need to rethink and reexamine our approach to ministry. "We must realize again the wonder of our calling and the privilege that is ours to preach and teach and lead in the name of Christ."
So hang on, I'm getting excited about leading again, and I pray to serve you well as the leader who is blessed to superintend this great district and you amazing pastors, my colleagues and friends.
Keep the faith and have fun, beloved.

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