On the balcony – getting a big picture perspective removed from day to day responsibilities and
On the dance floor – accomplishing day to day tasks to make progress as an organization.
Spending time in either location can be productive, however you cannot spend your time in one place or another.
As I have entered into a new leadership setting – as pastor of First United Methodist Church in El Dorado, KS – I have found that it has been particular important to make sure that I spend some time on the balcony. The day to day responsibilities of transitioning into a new role can overwhelm the time needed to take a breath and reflect on the big picture of life and ministry. As I prepare to begin my fourth month in this appointment, I have been making progress on spending time in both places.
I have started my third month serving as the pastor at First United Methodist Church in El Dorado, Kansas. It has been fantastically busy, fun, exciting and full of opportunities and challenges to have a baby, move to a new home and start serving as the lead pastor at a new congregation in the past three months.
While I am still continue to make the transition to our new home, it is time for me to start blogging again. I know, it has been months. However, I plan to begin with a few posts a week and see how it goes. While I have a lot of ideas about what to write about on this blog, I want to write what would be most interesting, helpful or intriguing to you. So, what will it be?
What would you like for me to write about on this blog? What would be interesting to you? What would you want to share with others? I am looking forward to beginning this blogging adventure with you again.
I checked with infoserv to dig up some information on the ages of delegates to General Conference 2012 as compared to the entire denomination. Thank you to the wonderful team at Ask InfoServ for their data gathering!
There is no official United Methodist source for age statistics for the denomination. GCFA has not collected age statistics since General Council on Ministries. However, there is the 2010 State of the Church: Congregational Life Survey which breaks down ages by percentage. Here is the comparison between the Congregational Life Survey and the ages of 790 of the 988 total delegates to General Conference 2012.
There has been much discussion about the reorganization of The United Methodist Church at General Conference 2012 with plans from various constituencies.
I believe that Plan UMC is the best starting point for a way forward for the denomination. You can find out more about this restructuring plan at http://www.planumc.org
is the only restructure plan that emerged at General Conference after the response of delegates in #Gen Admin Committee
preserves and strengthens the role of #gcorr and #cosrow in the Committee on Inclusivity #gc2012
is a way forward that will provide greater clarity, organization and direction for our boards and agencies #gc2012
will focus on creating vital congregations which incarnate the work of all the boards and agencies in a local context.
puts the denomination at the edge of its comfort zone – a place where progress is most likely to occur.
Regardless of what restructuring plan does or does not pass at General Conference, I am hopeful for the future of The United Methodist Church. I am looking forward to continuing our mission together to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
When you are seeking to make progress that you care about one of the most important things that you can do is energize others. Sharing a vision with others helps move the issue beyond yourself and momentum begins to take hold. One of the members of my team suggested that at times, one of the unexpected outcomes of this is that by energizing others you realize that you are not as indispensable as you think you are. There is loss in this realization.
Don’t let the possibility of loss keep you from sharing your vision with others.
There are innumerable issues that delegates are trying to make progress on to help the United Methodist Church live into God’s dream for the denomination. It is a shared challenge on all of these issues that there are other delegates who think the way things are is just fine.
If you think things are crummy, remember that it is working for someone.
If General Conference 2012 has taken you to the edge of your comfort zone, you are in the right place to make progress on the issues about which you care deeply. Too far inside your comfort zone and it may be difficult to make more progress than has already been accomplished. Too far outside your comfort zone and you may be unable to effectively take action.
The edge of your comfort zone is the place where you start to feel incompetent.
This is the place where progress is most likely to occur.
Everyone has expectations of leaders. These expectations come in many different forms, including, but not limited to:
Who a leader will be
What a leader will say
How a leader will act
What roles a leader will play
When a leader show up
Leadership often comes in unexpected ways from unexpected people. As you think about the goals on which you are trying to make progress, remember that exercising leadership may be distinct from what we expect of people in leadership.
Whether you are a delegate or onlooker at General Conference, there is the opportunity to take action to make progress in The United Methodist Church. Voting, taking leadership in a legislative committee, providing hospitality, monitoring, listening in – there are all kinds of opportunities to take action that might in some small way affect the outcomes of General Conference.
One of the roles of a leader is to pay attention to one’s actions and how they are or are not being shared. As you consider your hopes or goals for General Conference, ask yourself:
There are at least three shifts in leadership perspective that are helpful in making progress on issues that we care about.
Technical to Adaptive – There has been much talk about the adaptive challenges that are facing the denomination. It will be important to seek to make progress in ways that are not just rewriting rules.
Benign to Conflictual Interpretations – General Conference does not seem to have challenge making conflictual interpretations. Focusing them on making progress will be an important opportunity.
Individual to Systemic View – This is one of the most important leadership shifts that could help make progress at General Conference. It can be easy for delegates to take the perspective of themselves, their annual conference or affinity group. More progress will be made by paying as much attention as possible to the entire system – both during the days of meeting ahead in Tampa and the months to follow.
Have you found our denomination to be making these shifts? What else might be helpful to make progress?