While I am a high extrovert who gathers energy from being with people, I love silence. So the highlight, up till now on my yearly visits to the Trappists has been the rhythms of the Daily Office, especially Vigils at 3:30 in the morning! And when the chants conclude at about 4:10 am, I generally go back to my “cell” and try to follow them in meditation and prayer until Lauds (the 2nd office of the day) at 6 am. I love their emphasis on the ordinary, the obscure and simplicity of work. This year, however, God met me very powerfully in a new way – through my spiritual direction and conferences with Father Dominic, the prior of the monastery. The prior would be like the COO or executive pastor of a large church. Formerly a professor at Georgetown University and a Dominican priest, he joined the Trappists 26 years ago to focus on. Read more.
I normally like to write one thoughtful blog per week. However, due to both vacation and the “pondering” time needed to reflect on the topics below, I am long overdue. I will start with the WCA Summit and finish with my next blog on China and Wendell Berry. WCA Leadership Summit, Aug.6-7, 2009. This was my first summit and I was extremely blessed, inspired, challenged, and encouraged by the speakers and flow of the conference. The gift of Bill Hybels and Willow to the entire discussion around global church leadership was evident. There are few venues like the Summit to challenge and stretch leaders like this one. I plan to bring our entire staff next year. Concerns: 1. The Slowing Down Omission. The gift of leadership, like all spiritual gifts, has a shadow side and is potentially damaging. I know this only too well! The fact that we can lead and seize opportunities for. Read more.
After another couple of weeks of pondering and passing this around our staff team for a second round of discussions, here is a second, more precise listings of our learnings. This is a living document, borne out of twenty-one years of labor, mistakes, and fruitful suffering. For this reason, I am prayerfully re-reading these lessons with a healthy reverence before God. 1. Character is more important than gifting. The power of God really is made perfect in our weaknesses. When we have overlooked issues of character, and humility in particular, we have paid a price. 2. Do not rush. When decisions were made quickly, without pausing to pray, think and proces implications, we have had regrets. Seeing the Promised Land without seeing the pillar of cloud and fire is foolishness. 3. Leaders need to take responsibility and initiative for their own growth and development. As leaders invest time in personal growth and development, they shape all those who look. Read more.
Last week we did an exercise listing our “Turning Point Lessons” out of our twenty-one year history. The following are my edits and summary out of that discussion. Character is more important than gifting. Being is more important than doing. When we have overlooked issues of character because of anointing, effectiveness, leadership abilities, etc., we have always paid a price. Don’t rush. When decisions were made quickly, without pausing to pray, think and process implications, we have had regrets. Seeing the Promised Land is one thing. The pillar of cloud and fire saying it is time to go in is another. Leaders need to take responsibility for their growth and development. My journey, along with Geri’s, has had a profound impact on NLF. As we invest time in our personal growth and development, we are shaping all those who look to us for leadership. A clear, differentiated vision results in a unified leadership and. Read more.
I have finally identified one of the core issues to my walk with Jesus Christ – driving in the right lane. Try it for a week. Okay, a day. Then try driving in the right lane and do nothing else but drive. No radio, phone calls, tapes, etc. It is a Sabbath activity for me and has been for some time. It is exhilarating. But I have not not been able to integrate this into my work week. Why? It is deep, I suspect. Very deep. Ruthlessly eliminating hurry (Dallas Willard’s famous phrase to John Ortberg) captures what, I believe, is one of our critical issues as followers of Christ in our culture. In New York City we are famous for finishing people’s sentences, speeding to red lights, fighting for a seat on a subway or bus, and “attitude.” Traveling around North America, however, has shown me that we don’t have a patent on the problem. Multitasking, continuous partial attention, and trying to. Read more.