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Contemplative Leadership — of Yourself and Others

Posted on January 22nd, 2010

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love (John 15:9).

I  have just concluded an active season, more active than I would have liked. I am sobered how easily, through one or two new commitments, the pace of my life quickened. Rushing increased.  My anxiety level heightened. I struggled to remain thoughtful. Contemplative Leadership of ourselves, out of which we lead others, is challenging. I have to remind myself of the following four guidelines that are indispensable if I am “to remain in His love.”  1. Do One Thing At A Time— For me this means being present in every meeting, whether it is in worship, a one-on-one mentoring time, answering an e-mail, or watching my daughter’s track meet. This means limiting e-mail to fixed times during the day and not trying to squeeze more into the day than God intends. 2. Honor Transitions– Taking time between meetings at church is very difficult but key for me. This past week, for example, I went from a meeting with a staff person, to a stimulating meeting with architectural drawings, to an elder meeting  — without a pause. They went well, but I could sense the adrenalin in my body. Pausing before I walk in the door at home after a day at New Life is another key moment. Gathering my thoughts together along with a brief Office (i.e. prayer) transforms my day. 3. Reflect -As this very active season came to a close, I set aside an additional day alone with God. Yes, Sabbath keeping and Daily Offices are indispensable.  But leadership is particularly intense, especially as issues around our own insecurities and vulnerablities get touched by people and new situations. This happened to me last month. I found myself reactive and grossly misinterpreting a situation.  I needed time, along with a wise mentor, to help me calm down, reflect and ask: “What nerves got touched deep beneath my iceberg?”   It soon became clear God was coming to me, eager to grow and mature me in new areas.   4. Read Widely and Continue Growing — It is easy to become stagnant, especially when we are busy. I like to have my hands in 5-6 books at a time, often on a variety of topics. I love going to my local library on Sabbath and taking out a few books. Again, this takes space and time, a currency in short supply in our culture. Remember: We lead out of who we are and the most important person we lead each day is ourselves. Everything flows out of that. Thoughts? Additions you might make?

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Church Culture Revolution: A 6-Part Vision That Deeply Changes Lives