Over my 22 years of pastoring NLF, we have contracted with an outside coach to lead our pastoral staff in a strategic planning process at least 5 different times. I was reluctant to do a strategic plan again. The church was doing well. Yes, we were at a transition in a number of areas. We were growing. But I carried bad mem0ries of striving, about internal my own motivation (e.g. Was this really for God, or was this really about me and the need to prove something?), and of tensions between staff that I had been unwilling to address. This is my first time since my journey into the contemplative almost six years ago. It has been a wonderfully relaxing, enjoyable process. Why? I think the answer is the addition of contemplative spirituality and deeper integration of emotional health into our leadership. What has been different? The following is my short list. 1. God’s will is really what matters. Something. Read more.
I am enjoying leading New Life Fellowship Church more than at any time I can remember. It is not related to circumstances as it has been in the past, nor is it short-lived. It is something much deeper. I am not sure of all the reasons, but I know the application of differentiation to pastoring and living has removed much of my anxiety and faulty thinking. The following, adapted from David Schnark, summarizes what I have worked on internally amidst the complexities of life/leadership. 4 Points to Personal Integrity/Differentiation 1. Solid sense of Self in close promixity to important others who pressure you to conform. 2. Regulate your own anxiety (self-soothe). 3. Non-reactive (not indifferent) to other’s anxiety and reactivity. 4. Willingness to tolerate pain for growth. This has helped keep me centered and listening to God each day, and it has made all the difference. What has enabled you to center and listen?
Last Sunday I preached on “Rest: Learning from Jesus” (John 12:1-8). I loved preparing, praying, thinking, and delivering it. I felt exhilarated when it was over. My schedule was relaxed after church. I met with a single mom and a couple of others congregants and visitors. I then realized I could make my 14 year old daughter’s soccer game. Geri and I generally take turns and I had been at Saturday’s game, but I thought it would be great to surprise them both. So I got into my car and began driving like a maniac – cutting though lanes, squeezing between cars in NYC traffic, pressing just a little harder on that accelerator. In the process, I cut off one of our associate pastors who was watching all this and laughing hysterically with his 17 year old in the car! They had just heard me preach my magnificent message on “Rest: Learning from Jesus.” When. Read more.