Three Methodist leaders explore the disruptions already in their church environments and those yet to come. Excellent articles if you are wondering what some faith communities are doing to face change.
One of the most graceful and difficult maneuvers to execute in formation is a Pivot, or what used to be called an Oblique. When I left the military I think they were calling it a half right or half left turn. But there is a move where the whole company turns half to the right or half to the left and keeps marching in the same direction. It is quite elegant to watch when it is well coordinated.
If you are in to that sort of thing, here is a video of an Airforce ROTC unit performing it.
Add some other fancy moves and you've got a real show, at least if they are well executed in unison. If they are done poorly it shows in a hurry. Some goofus goes in the wrong direction and the whole company looks stupid.
Executing an oblique or a pivot of some kind or a sweep takes practice and preparation. Whole industries and sectors of society are now in pivot mode. They are companies or organizations living in Disruption. For most of us, going from Records to 8 track tapes to cassette tapes to ipod and music files has been the first and most obvious disruption.
Steve Jobs is often credited with or blamed for this disruption. His determined resistance to allowing the delivery of music on an album full of songs that were of little interest just so you could get one song that was a hit, is what was at stake. Now, you buy the song you want and skip the rest. Major shakeup or disruption. Lots of upset people too, especially in the music business.
What is interesting to me is the mentality of the leader who is preparing for disruption. That is why Jobs is both revered and hated by so many. He either planned for or fell into the Disruptive Continuum like few others have done. And he used Apple to make the oblique and they have executed it pretty well.
You will or are already subject to Disruptions. Music, Cable TV, Health Care, Education, Travel, Leisure, and dozens of other sectors of life and industry are all going through the Disruptive Continuum.
What is important is how do you respond. Are you prepared to make the pivot, to turn in a new direction, to go off on an oblique? How does one go about preparing for the Disruptions in their environment? Unfortunately for too many it comes in the form of a pink slip or a move or some kind of slam to their life. One day you're making widgets and they are flying out the door and off the shelves, then shortly after the highest sales month, the widget inventory backs up into the warehouse, finally into your living room. You can't give them away fast enough. They don't want what you have been producing anymore. And you go out of business.
Some non-profits and especially churches go out of business long before they realize that they are out of business. They keep talking on their cell phones when the person on the other end of the line has been long gone due to poor reception. They are talking to themselves and anybody standing nearby, but their customers and friends have long ago left the conversation.
You can see it everywhere today, at least if you are not in denial. That is the key, isn't it, denial or awareness. Which will it be? Those who choose to face it, will learn to pivot, to make the more difficult moves in order to go in a new direction.
The writing industry is going through this Disruption. Great stories are being written as I type this. And sad stories are fading away as well.
Now that I've left the leadership of churches, I see how desperately we need to prepare for the Pivot. In fact, we are well past the time of preparation, we are in the late stages of having to execute. And we are not doing well.
My suggestion is that you practice pivoting now. Don't wait. Go out and figure out what it means to make a turn in a completely new direction and to do it with grace. There is a very good chance you are going to need that knowledge and practice in the near future.
The last two months have had CHANGE written all over them. After 30 years as a pastor in the Adventist church I've gone on to what some joke about as an Encore Career. I now work with Tabitha Health Care Services here in Lincoln as a Hospice Chaplain or Spiritual Care Coordinator.
My pastoral skills are a bit more focused on Elder Care although the families that love and care for those elders are often of all ages. So some things stay the same, Caring for people and their spirit. Other things have dramatically changed, working in health care.
I'm sure I'll have more to say about that as the days fly by. For now, let's just say I'm thrilled to be working with truly incredible people. The nurses amaze me every day, their care is across the spectrum, spiritual, emotional, financial, as well as physical. These women make me stand in awe as they serve their many and varied patients each week. They comfort and offer hope, a wellspring of joy and courage each day.
The Social Workers solve problems and make good things happen, they work tirelessly for their clients in order to see that they have the best housing, care and support that they can provide. They have taught me a great deal about Christian love and service. They help families come together at a tough time and corral all the resources and energy that a family has to share and focus it on creating joyful and lasting memories for the client and family. The Social Workers create miracles every week.
Our administrators are really cool and pro ministry. They remind me of a Lieutenant I had in the army. I was a Warrant Officer, not prone to command by rank or nature, but an officer still. And the Lieu was in command of some ten of us in his unit. We all were somewhat challenging to herd in the right direction and we all knew he took a lot of heat for it. The company commander wanted more and better out of all of us. But the Lieu never let it roll down on us, whatever the bottom line was, I think we came to understand it more because of who the Lieu was instead of how he could have over managed us. Our Admins spend a good deal of time caring for us as well as caring for our mission. This is a good sign, an unbelievably good sign I would say. In fact, the more they care for their staff, the more we want them to look good and the team to succeed. It's a fun and deeply satisfying thing to watch in operation, it is TEAM. We may never know the limits and constraints they deal with. But I'm praying for them every day, there is a lot on their shoulders.
There are people who help you to grieve and listen to your aches and longings, people to give you a bath, to hold your hand or do your toe nails, call in the volunteers who work magic themselves. People who help us to stay on track and look over our shoulder at the right time and others who coach us through some really hard spots.
All in all, it is Teamwork and I'm delighted to see that is still exists and very happy to be a part of it.
So that's what's been happening with me in a nutshell. My wife and I have made the decision to stay in Lincoln and we couldn't be more happy about it. And I would add, what a great woman she is. The greatest gift a man could receive, God gave to me almost 4 decades ago. She is more than a Proverbs 31 woman, she's a slice of heaven.
So that's a quick catchup on us. Back to work then.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it. Remember those words from Mission Impossible? And yes, I watched MI on TV, long before Tom C. made the movies.
Every week, the mission moment was the great call to do something impossible, if you should choose to that is. Still the same, you get to choose the mission for the week. You and you alone can decide what your mission will be. Yes, there are way too many roadblocks, machine gun toting customers, strung out supervisors, dilapidated and non-supporting systems in your mission territory. There are many obstacles and more are setting up all the time.
But what is an obstacle to mission but a step or a challenge to making a difference? Indeed, each challenge will help you to focus and hone your mission to a razor's edge. And when you are on mission, there is no one who can replace you. You are the man. You are the woman. You are the one.
That kind of mission becomes who you are and it captivates your heart, even becomes your heart. It is not your job, not your title, nor your job review, or the comments made by strangers or family or fools of another stripe.
That mission is your reason for waking up in the morning, and going to bed at a decent hour. It is the reason you keep fighting and pushing forward when the rest of the crabs want to pull you back into the crab pot. It is the reason you are contrarian, non-conformist, different and unwilling to go off mission for long.
The mission, should you choose to accept it, will guide you like Polaris, always steady and findable, bright enough to be seen in the most light polluted places, not willing to be crowded out by the other pseudo missions you will be assigned.
When you are on mission, you are not contrarian for contraians sake. You are not willing to conform because it will not achieve mission success. The job or career will take you away from mission, as funny as that seems. I mean, you signed up in the first place because you thought that the job and the mission were one and the same. But somewhere along the way, after countless meetings you discover that the track you have been on is not going to the station you expected. Don't be afraid at that point. In fact, take a deep breath and thank God that you are alive and discovered that you need a course correction. Thank God that He is communicating with you about your travels.
That's why it all depends on your mission. What is your mission? What is it that get's you up in the morning? What is it that you dream about when you have good dreams?
I discovered my mission sometime ago, probably after I met my people loving wife. It is fairly simple, To Find The Diamond In Everyone. That's it. For me, doing that everyday is my measure of quality. Others have their measures of course, and I'm fine with that, to a point, but I am unwilling to let my rule take a back seat to theirs. Are you?
So what is your mission and are you on mission today?
They're talking about us in Carolina it seems. I was wondering about the Corn and Wheat crop myself as I travel by the fields that seems untouched. But I guess we are not to far behind schedule, at least according to our eastern friends.
James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.”
I like the idea of steadfastness. When your back is up against the wall, the wall is fast and easy. It's there and it's not going anywhere. You might feel trapped, on the ropes, bruised and beaten up. You might feel like your way of escape is blocked, and it is. You are forced to stand your ground. Your body is tired and your mind is fading in and out.
Somewhere inside, deep in your brain, deep in your heart, a song begins to play, faint at first, a few beats, a note or two. Then a line and a chorus. Your heart starts to find its beat again. You learn to use the wall. The wall becomes a friend. It helps you stand in place. In fact, the wall becomes part of your team, and whatever is in front of you best be careful for now your inability to escape is turned into your ability to fight with the wall at your back as an ally.
Turn and face the aggression, the opposition and the fear. Stand with the wall at your back and sing out, This far and no further. As Popeye was famous for, "I can stands it no more." Pop in the can of spinach and take on the light work before you. Stand fast in the steadfastness. Move forward even. Thrive. Chase down the demons. Become the moving wall. Sing and watch the fortified walls fall.
This steadfastness, this loyalty, this devotion will complete you, as James said. It will mature you. It will build you, from the inside out. James died steadfastly loyal to his God and to His friend and Creator, Jesus. A spirit rose inside of Him that made him invincible, with God at his side, and his rear guard, his wall.
"There is no passion to be found playing small--in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
Many of us need life advice, not job advice. We need to live and produce and serve. We are most likely capable of more, sometimes much more than we are currently producing. Many are stuck in their routine. Day in and day out they do the same thing at work, come home and eat, watch some television and call it a night, as if their lives were scripted for them and all they need to do is to follow the script.
Because of the high unemployment today above 6% and worse for young folks, many are taking a new look at employment as a means to a fulfilling life. They are questioning and reshaping how they work and how often they work and what they work at.
Like Mandela, they are not looking to go to work so much as they are to act out their passion. They refuse to think small. Maybe you should too. Your life may never be the same once you make the switch from small to passion.
The Food Bank in Lincoln does what it's supposed to do, get food to many people who need it. The director of the Food Bank sat with the LPFD Chaplains recently and gave us an overview of what it is that he does and the Food Bank does. Feed People, like I said. As I listened to the director, I was amazed at just how many people though. And children. Lets just say it was many more than I expected.Read More
A pair of interviews with W. Keith Campbell, author of The Narcissism Epidemic.
Narcissism is like a flu that you give to everyone around you and then you feel good that they get it. It reinforces the narcissist in his or her notions and view that they are superior to others around them. I've worked with a few true Narcissists over the years and observed how much turnover in their relationships there was. They truly use people to promote themselves. If you are in the whirlpool of a narcissist, these two videos might help you identify what's happening and why. Dealing with a narcissist is about as challenging as trying to ride a whale and I'm not sure it's worth it, but you might be trying to work with or might even be married to one. So what do you do? These two videos might help.
In Ministry magazine David Ripley wrote about plateaued and declining churches and the reason he feels that they are stuck. Good article and I think he's on to something. I don't think it's the only reason and his corrective will not turn around all of those churches, but your church might be one that needs his prescription. Take a look if you feel your church is declining or not doing well.
If you like Organizing Tools, maybe Amazon's Storybuilder Corkboard software in beta is for you. A bit of a learning curve, but sophisticated mind map, index card, cork board interface might just be the thing. Click on the Storyboard link on the right side of the page, log into your Amazon account and cork away.
Jesus had a simple formula for becoming a wise man. Listen to His words and do them.
The Wise and Foolish Builders
Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
That's simple enough. Listen and do. Don't listen and wash away. The word Jesus uses is moron. a stupid person. I think I will choose wise person for today.
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