Monday, March 22, 2010

A Conversation About Ten Things...

Tim Schrader  wrote a blog piece that was carried on Catalyst - "Ten Things That Drive Me Crazy About Working For A Church." Tim Stevens, Executive Pastor at Grainger Community Church wrote a great response you can read here.

For some reason, this happened to trip my trigger. So, in further response...

  1. Churches can be toxic workplaces, just as secular employers. They can also be the most exciting and fulfilling place to be in the entire world. Just as in the secular workspace, the difference boils down to the leadership. Tim Schraeder has apparently been in places with weak or ineffectual or disengaged leaders; Tim Stevens is in a place with strong, visionary and effective leaders. (Of course, he is in that number at GCG)
  2. If people are being burned out, it is because they are not seen as valuable by their leaders. If people are allowing themselves to be burned out, it is because they don't see themselves or their families as being valuable or important.
  3. If resources are considered before vision and commitment, there will never be enough resources. Resources flow toward clear vision and burning commitment.
  4. If people fear and resist change it is because change has never resulted in improvement and progress. This is a leadership failure at some level.
  5. We always want to pray about things, and we never want to act without thought and preparation, but in the end, sooner rather than later- we MUST act.
  6. Meetings can be enriching and effective, but they can also drain the life and joy out of everyone. The difference is distinct purpose, clear and reasonable agendas, and concern for everyone's time.
  7. If we are trying to do too many things, leaders have not shown the courage to choose the best over the good and say "NO" to someone- or several someones. (Thank you Andy Stanley for saying this so well and so often).
  8. Hypocrisy is a grave fault in anyone or any institution. It often results from unclear vision. Trying out several styles, methods or approaches is not hypocrisy, but at some point you have to figure out what is working and is in agreement with your vision.
  9. We ought to be looking at other churches; also businesses, other non-profits, and just about everything in culture. There are going to be some good ideas that we can use to expand the Kingdom. However, if we are blindly looking for a magic bullet instead of prayerfully seeking good ideas, we need to refer back to "hypocrisy"- see #8 just above.
  10. People leave churches for many reasons. Some we ought to be concerned about, if they are leaving because our church is ineffective, or not being true to the Scripture, or we are allowing gossip,divisiveness, or sinful attitudes to exist in the Body. But, there are some people who leave because the Spirit is calling them to a different place of service; some who are leaving the area. Those we happily wave to and wish them well. There are also occasions when we see people go who find we have no place for unrepentant sinfulness, prejudice, or stubborn refusal to join our vision or take part in the Kingdom work we have staked out. We also happily wave to these folks, but with a prayer for their hearts.

Let me make sure everyone understand - I work in the greatest church I have ever experienced. I am blessed to work with people, both paid staff and volunteers, who love God and each other, and who are making a real impact for God in our community. But, I have seen enough of the other kind of both church and secular workplace to make my experience at Argyle even more special.

Anyone with additional thoughts?

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