Learnings from the Kansas Leadership Center

I have had the opportunity to engage with the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) in the Leadership and Faith: Transforming Communities program over the past year. I wanted to share some of the learnings that I have gathered from my interactions with the KLC.

  • If you can be competent in four things – you will make more progress on your leadership challenges. They are:
    • Diagnose situation
    • Manage self
    • Energize others
    • Intervene skillfully
  • It is helpful to diagnose the situation more often and longer than one may think necessary.
  • It would always be nice to have more information before taking action. This is not possible. You have to take action.
  • Be ready to entertain more than one interpretation about any situation
  • Be ready to ask – What story are people telling about me?

Back to Blogging

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.

Why I Support #PlanUMC at #gc2012

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

Plan UMC:

  • 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.

If You Think Things are Crummy at #gc2012… (@TheKLC: 6 of 10)

This past fall and winter, I had the opportunity to take part in the Leadership and Faith: Transforming Communities program through the Kansas Leadership Center with the Missions team at Resurrection West. I want to share my reflections and learnings from that time in light of the General Conference 2012 of The United Methodist Church.

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.

Has #GC2012 Taken You to the Edge of Your Comfort Zone? (@TheKLC: 5 of 10)

This past fall and winter, I had the opportunity to take part in the Leadership and Faith: Transforming Communities program through the Kansas Leadership Center with the Missions team at Resurrection West. I want to share my reflections and learnings from that time in light of the General Conference 2012 of The United Methodist Church.

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.

Leadership at #GC2012 May Not Meet Your Expectations (@TheKLC: 4 of 10)

This past fall and winter, I had the opportunity to take part in the Leadership and Faith: Transforming Communities program through the Kansas Leadership Center with the Missions team at Resurrection West. I want to share my reflections and learnings from that time in light of the General Conference 2012 of The United Methodist Church.

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.

If You Are Not Able to Take Action at #GC2012, Who Will? (@TheKLC: 3 of 10)

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:

  • Is your goal being shared with others?
  • Are you seeking to make progress on your own?
  • If you were not able to do it, who would do it?

This past fall and winter, I had the opportunity to take part in the Leadership and Faith: Transforming Communities program through the Kansas Leadership Center with the Missions team at Resurrection West. This series of posts is based on my reflections and learnings from that time in light of the General Conference 2012 of The United Methodist Church.

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Leadership Shifts to Make Progress at #GC2012 (@TheKLC: 2 of 10)

This past fall and winter, I had the opportunity to take part in the Leadership and Faith: Transforming Communities program through the Kansas Leadership Center with the Missions team at Resurrection West. I want to share my reflections and learnings from that time in light of the General Conference 2012 of The United Methodist Church.

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?

Three Questions to Ask Yourself in a #GC2012 Committee (@TheKLC: 1 of 10)

This past fall and winter, I had the opportunity to take part in the Leadership and Faith: Transforming Communities program through the Kansas Leadership Center with the Missions team at Resurrection West. I want to share my reflections and learnings from that time in light of the General Conference 2012 of The United Methodist Church.

The various committees of General Conference do important work of the church that has significant impact on the outcomes of the entire gathering. After the first few hours of committee take a moment to reflect on your role int he group and know that if you want to have a different impact on the system, you need to take different actions. Here are three questions that may be helpful in trying to make progress on issues that you care about.

  1. What am I trying to accomplish?
  2. How are my interventions impacting the group?
  3. What are the results of my behavior on the group?

What else have you found to be helpful in your committee work at General Conference 2012?

New Appointment: My Most Common Response

An occurrence that is becoming more and more common as the weeks go on is people congratulating me on my new appointment. There are a myriad factors that are playing in to this transition. While there is a lot going on for our family, I simply try to recognize both the opportunities and challenges in this transition in a few short sentences. This usually ends up being an appropriate length in the conversation. Here is what I find myself sharing most often, “I am excited about the opportunities to get to know the church and community in El Dorado. There will be a loss of leaving Resurrection and the Kansas City area. It is going to be really good.”

What else might be helpful to share?

New Appointment: What’s Next for Nicole?

I have been appointed to serve as the lead pastor at First United Methodist Church in El Dorado, KS beginning July 1. I am writing a series of posts about this transition.

One of the more common questions that I have received is: What is Nicole going to do?

My wife, Nicole, is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. She and I were appointed full time to Resurrection in 2006 and we have both served here since then. After our son was born and taking maternity leave, Nicole transitioned to a part-time, 20 hour / week role.

We will be moving as a family to El Dorado and Nicole has requested a 20 hour / week appointment in the El Dorado area. It would not be at First United Methodist Church in El Dorado, but it may be at another church in the area, in Wichita or some other flexible possibility. We have been told that the Bishop and District Superintendents are still in the discernment process for her. (I will write more about how this whole process works in the days ahead.) We hope to know within the next few weeks.

New Appointment: El Dorado First United Methodist Church

I have been appointed to serve as the lead pastor at First United Methodist Church in El Dorado, KS beginning July 1. The news was announced at El Dorado and Resurrection West on Sunday. El Dorado is a city with a population of about 13,000. It is located just off I-35 about 30 minutes east of Wichita. It is the county seat and most populous city in Butler County. First United Methodist Church was organized in 1869 and is thought to have been the first church in Butler County. The current church building was built in the 1920’s. They have a traditional and contemporary worship service on Sunday morning with a combined average worship attendance of 150 to 175.

I am excited about being the lead pastor at a congregation and using what I have learned at Resurrection to be a part of renewing the church. At the same time, I will miss all the great people on staff and in the congregation at Resurrection. I am looking forward to getting to know the people of the congregation and community in El Dorado and together take the next faithful step.

I plan to write more about the transition in the days ahead, so check back for more updates. If you have specific questions or would like to share a conversation, please feel free to email me at andrew.conard@rezwest.org.