I presided yesterday over the installation of Rich Villodas as my successor at New Life Fellowship Church. It was one of the highlights of my 26 years there as the Founder/Senior Pastor. An installation is like a wedding in which two parties make vows. While that analogy is helpful, I believe the term “covenant” (i.e. a solemn agreement between two parties) is a better term to use when framing a pastor’s relationship with a congregation. While a covenant is not always permanent like a vow, it implies responsibilities, obligations, and privileges. It is a promise, a trust. I learned from some of my Anglican and Presbyterian friends about their process and theology. This, in turn, helped me to shape the installation around the public making of a solemn covenant. It was deeply moving and powerful. A number of people asked me if I would make the text of the covenant agreement available. Here it. Read more.
If you ask 10 different leaders what they had learned over a long period of time, you will receive 10 different lists. It is determined by your unique journey and your strengths and weaknesses. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of what a leader needs to learn. Rather it is what I wish a mentor had helped me understand from the beginning. I wish some kind mentor might have said the following words to me: 1. Be Yourself Pete, calmly differentiate your “true self” from the demands and voices around you. Discern the desires, vision, pace, and mission the Father has give you as you lead. Take off Saul’s armor. Be clear about yourself. Learn to control your reactivity. And remember, “to live unfaithfully to yourself is to cause others great damage.” Rumi 2. Your First Work is to be a Contemplative before God. (i.e. to be with Him) You are not. Read more.
Every year we experience a marked increase of activity around Christmas. We have our own families to attend to (thinking through and buying of gifts), our co-workers and staff, our churches’ additional services and the normal stuff of life (e.g. food shopping, laundry, car break-downs). This time of year only accentuates our need for increased differentiation and less fusion from the forces seeking to shape us. Consider what, I believe, is God’s order for us as we shape our lives and time. 1. God. It was Heidegger who made the distinction between waiting “for” and waiting “upon” Waiting for involves looking for a specific, concrete result. Waiting upon involves allowing insight and direction to emerge, an openness to whatever God has. I spent a good portion of my day alone with God yesterday meditating on Ps. 123:1-2. The most loving thing we can do for those around us is withdraw for our rhythms with God and to wait upon the Lord. Read more.