A couple weeks ago, I traveled to Houston for continuing education focused on highly functioning teams. It was part of the Advancing Pastoral Leadership program that I have been part of for several years. We had the opportunity to hear from leaders from Chick-fil-A, NASA, and Chapelwood UMC. It was an excellent learning opportunity and there was much that I found valuable. Here are just a few quotes that were significant for me:
“Don’t coast.” – Janice Virtue
“Just because you are a good leader doesn’t mean you are good at leading people.” – Kate Potter
“No one is smart enough to run everything.” – Wayne Hale
“All great projects, halfway through, look like a disaster.” – Wayne Hale
“There is no perfect solution” – Wayne Hale
“If you want everyone to be on the same page, there has to be a page.” – Bob Johnson
I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and continue to develop my leadership abilities to serve the congregation and community.
Today is my 32nd day as the preacher assigned to Berryton United Methodist Church. It has been a wonderful journey of learning, sharing, and welcome. I am so grateful for the warm welcome that we have received from the congregation and community. One of the ways that I have been learning about the congregation is something that I am calling 100 Conversations in 100 Days.
I hope to share a one-on-one conversation with 100 people so that I can hear their thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the church and community. My hope is to get this accomplished in my first 100 days, which gives me until October 8. As of today, I have four down and ninety-six to go. If you live in the Berryton area, would you be willing to share a conversation with me about the church? Visit www.calendly.com/AndrewConard and click on “100 Conversations” to set up a time to meet.
Tell me about a time when you felt especially proud of some members or leaders of your congregation, when you felt they were really following Christ. What makes this incident stand out in your mind?
Whom do you especially respect as leaders? Why do you hold them in high regard?
Tell me why you’re glad you are a member of this congregation. Why did you join this congregation instead of another one?
How has being part of this congregation helped you and members of your family grow in faith? Please give me some examples of experiences or classes that made a difference. How did you change?
Tell me a story about when congregation members resolved a conflict or difference effectively. What do you think the congregation learned from this experience? How effectively do leaders and members handle differences now?
What have you especially valued about your pastors and other congregational staff? (Be specific.) Do any sermons, initiatives, or attributes of your previous pastors come to mind?
Tell me about a time when you were disappointed with members or leaders. What happened?
Complete this sentence: “God is calling this congregation to be …”
What do you think God wants your congregation to emphasize in the next three to five years?
What else do I need to know in order to thrive in this congregation and community?
Do you have any other concerns or suggestions?
What strategies or techniques have you used to learn about the congregation and community in a new appointment?
One of my favorite podcasts is the HBR IdeaCast. Episode 283, The Right Mindset for Success, focuses on the distinctions between a fixed and growth mindset. One of the most helpful portions was about supervision and management. This list, from Carol Dweck, describes the methods and message that a manager or leader could give to new employees that would put them into a growth mindset:
We value passion, dedication, growth and learning; not genius.
We do not expect that you have arrived here fully formed. We expect that you have arrived here ready to learn.
We expect you to stretch beyond your comfort zone and take reasonable risks. We do not expect you to do the same thing you are good at over and over and stay in your comfort zone.
We value and reward process, taking on big but reasonable challenges, dogged pursuit of challenges and teamwork.
Even without success we reward that you have engaged in the process in a wholehearted and smart way.
I have much to learn from these methods in the way that I supervise staff and volunteers. These methods would be helpful for:
Pastors with staff and volunteers
Board of Ordained Ministry with candidates
Bishops and District Superintendents with appointed clergy.
Vitality seems to be the talk of The United Methodist Church. From the invitation to be a Vital Congregation to tracking metrics through Vital Signs, there has been a wide variety of response to the movement to increasing the level of reporting of involvement across several areas of local churches.
If there is a church in my district whose professions of faith or persons involved in missions is far above average – I want to know about it. I want to learn from the leaders there what is working and how I might take what they are doing and adapt it in my own setting. Tracking numbers and sharing them across the conference allows this to happen.
I found this to be fascinating and thought that you might enjoy this graphic. How much is or could be applicable to the church? For example, to paraphrase a paragraph found in the graphic:
But today, due to the Internet’s transformative power, faithful people can custom-design their own religious experience in whatever way they see fit. Creating discipleship content and being discipled is no longer confined to being connected with a church; anyone with an Internet connection can grow in their faith.
I don’t agree completely with the paragraph above but see how it could be appealing. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?
6 Questions for The United Methodist Church was an exercise in social media for me. My hope was to use social media to spread the word about the opportunity throughout the denomination. It didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations as far as numerical participation, but I did learn some keys about social media:
Initial buzz and word of mouth is an excellent catalyst for growth. In a campaign that lasted 98 days, over half the participants had joined in the first 6 days.
Sustaining traffic over a long period of time is difficult. If I had it to do over again, I would have ended the project after two weeks.
While participants at http://bit.ly/6qumc grew slowly. There was not much interaction on the Facebook Page, but fans continued to grow steadily throughout the entire project. I have no idea why.
Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about social media initiatives?