The Power of “Good Job”

One of the jewels of the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation system is the Lake Shawnee Trail. Nearly every time I go for a run, I use it in some way. At times, a short loop around Tinman Circle and others around the entire lake with an extension down Berryton Road to reach my target mileage.

Encountering others on the trail is common. Whether it is walkers, bikers, runners, couples, children, or animals, the path is utilized by a wide variety of people. I will make a point to say “Hello” or “Good morning” to people I encounter. It’s about 50-50 on whether I get a response. Some people reply with a similar greeting and others are lost in thought, their headphones, or even a book. Last week, someone greeted me in a way that was new to me.

A smile, thumbs up, and “Good Job!”

Wait, what? This was unexpected. I am glad to get a response, much less cheering on my efforts. There was no way this person could have known my training plan, energy expended, or even how far I was going that particular day. Despite all of these things, the choice of greeting was an encouragement.

Whether it is a colleague with whom you work closely on shared goals, a family member or a random stranger on the path, there is a superpower in offering encouragement to others. Thanks to this encounter, I will be making an effort to provide support to others.

Will you join me?

Making the Network Work

Over the last several years, the Great Plains Annual Conference has introduced Networks into our life in ministry together. These are groups of congregations that share a physically contiguous mission field – all the churches in an area. The church which I serve, Berryton United Methodist Church, is connected in a network with Big Springs UMC, Highland Park UMC, Lecompton UMC, Shawnee Heights UMC, Stull UMC, and Tecumseh UMC.

I have the opportunity to serve as the Network Leader which means convening the pastor and a lay person from each congregation so that we can make progress together and reach our mission field more effectively. I am committed to making our network work. I don’t have time for to add a meeting to my schedule in which we are getting together only to “check the box” that we have completed the task.

We met for the first time as a Network last week. If you are interested in the agenda, click here to download it as a PDF. I believe that our network has the opportunity to be the most innovative in the Great Plains Annual Conference. I am looking forward to building relationships with colleagues and friends and working together to share God’s love with our neighbors and live boldly into God’s dream for southeast Shawnee and northwest Douglas county.

Institute: Real Life Outcomes (4 of 5)

I spent last week at a youth camp, Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.

I have a tendency, for good and bad, to focus on the outcomes of projects, events or ministry areas to which I commit my time. The outcomes of Institute seem to be a mixed bag for me. This year there were clearly students whose lives were changed by their experience of God at camp. This is an undeniable outcome that is difficult to dispute. If even one life is changed or one student decides to follow Jesus, is not the entire effort worth it? Maybe so… I cannot deny that God is at work through Institute. At the same time, I believe that with changes the week could be more meaningful for a greater number of students with lower anxiety for leaders, student and adult.

What about your local church? What are the outcomes of the projects, events or ministry areas? Is there good as well as bad that is accomplished through the work of the community?