29 May, 2006

2 Thoughts on Slow Posting

I think I have set a new record for slow posting. 6 posts in 12 days give or take.

While I doubt anyone is in a tizzy over that minor break from my , I figured I would say something about it anyway because it niggles at me.

Reason 1)
My son has decided that he works better downstairs, and that he cannot think with me in the same room. I respect this desire to perform at his optimum, and his desire to do excellent work on his final papers. It has been a touchy time for both of us, but it seems like we are navigating it. If not posting helps - there is no posting.

Reason 2)
I cannot seem to get excited about this leadership series. It's an odd feeling, but I don't find the subject as exciting as I thought I would. And the comments have been really good, too (thanks all!).

I don't know, I'm just guessing. I don't get excited and then type. I get excited as I type. Once I start chasing an idea, it begins to get its hooks into me. You know, I think that's it. I think that not being able to chase the idea to its conclusion is what is driving me to boredom with it.

Hmph.

The mind is a funny thing. Thanks for listening.

26 comments:

Milly said...

Well here comes the social psychology major. See dad not a waste of money.

Could it also be that this is a very hard subject. We are in the process of looking for a new youth minister and in my usual fashion I have remained opinionated. I have a specific criteria to meet and have made it known. I want a great leader.

What makes a great leader? You have an idea.

How are great leaders made? We don’t exactly have the best examples in the running of this country or in our churches. We can only know what we like and don’t like in leadership. We draw from the leaders in our jobs, churches, and homes. Someone who saw first hand from both sides of my father’s work once said that he was a fire breathing dragon with heart. That’s my dad. He could stop me with a look. I don’t remember ever being spanked by him. Leaders need to stand up for what’s right and have a loving heart. They will also need to be able to let go of the pain and administrative things so that they can be good leaders at home. Not easy.

The truth is that it isn’t easy and many fail. I know that I made a huge amount of mistakes as a leader. That’s how I learned what I want and don’t want.

Praying for your son's finals

Milly

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Take your time amigo. I'm in no rush. Plus the whole leadership question in invalid anyway:

In Christianity it is not about who is the best leader. It is about who is the best follower. By Moses' own account, he was a stuttering old man, yet God turned him into a great leader.

Thanks for your insight, and I am sorry if I have stirred the pot a little too much.

God Bless
Doug

DugALug said...

'is invalid' not 'in invalid'.

Sorry
doug

codepoke said...

Milly,

Could it also be that this is a very hard subject.

Maybe, but I don't think that the difficulty of a subject has been a discouragement before. If you are right, then I think it is because there are so many exceptions. I hate saying things that are so obviously open to "one-off" exceptions.

I begin almost to feel that it is a waste of time to say anything, but I don't really think it is.

May the Lord bless your church's search for a youth minister!

codepoke said...

DugALug,

Plus the whole leadership question in invalid anyway:

I guess that's another way of putting it.

And I guess that's why I am still writing.

I have watched groups perform under Leader A and Leader B, and there is no comparison. Under Leader A, the group is falling apart and everyone wants to transfer. The group is starting to experience turnover, even. Then Leader B takes over, and the group completely turns around.

We humans need leaders.

We need them, and we need them at a close enough level. It's not enough to have a "great leader" over 1000 of you. You need a leader who has the time to listen to you whine once in a while, and who can actually change things when your whining is accurate.

It's that last thing that is lacking in cell groups. Typical cell group structures don't give their leaders autonomy. This is fatal. If a leader cannot change anything, he is just a figurehead.

I have been in a church where responsibility for every problem was rolled down hill. They even had a word for it, "Followership". Blaming the sheep for the shepherd's ineptitude was a reprehensible thing to do. Only the shepherd had any power to change anything, and he kept changing things, then blaming the followers when his changes did not work. In this particular case, the leader had no excuse whatsoever. The followers were the most enthused you could ever meet.

Anyway.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Remember your whole hierarchy thing... this is where you and I walk hand in hand.

I go to a church with over 3000 members. There is no way one shmoe at the top can address all of the needs of a congregation this size. The rule of thumb used by many churches is 1 leader per 30 lay people and one administrator per 30 leaders. It all sounds great, but it still falls apart unless leaders step up and do what God has called them to do.

Currently the church is run by a group of 15 elders, where the pastor is one of them. It doesn't solve all of the problems, but I know more needs are met by this group than with our previous government where the pastor was the top-dog, and we on the board only had the power to fire the pastor.

We have also tried to address the vehicle by which 'whines' get heard. Again it is far from perfect, but I truly believe in our system, and are church has been served well by it.

Here is a couple of problems that I see.

What if someone whines and the input is filtered by a leader who doesn't see its significance? The whine gets lost before it even has a chance to be considered... a problem.

What if the solution is not liked, or alienates another section of the church. In our church we have a group of ladies who makes and waves banners durring the service. I personally don't care about banner waving, but some were down-right offended by it. Our former pastor instructed them to stop waving the banners because it was 'distracting' and quite 'distasteful' to some of the congregation. This was received very poorly and handled equally badly. The pastor was in a lose-lose situation. No matter what he was going to be the bad guy here.

Then there is worship: letters that say it is too loud, too quiet, not enough hymns, too many hymns, not enough cowbell (no wait that's SNL). In offering a solution to these problems, you will offend others.

The leadership of a church needs to convey one thing above all: vision. Vision displaces a lot of these rants and raves.

Vision tells the banner waiver that we love their heart, and we don't want to stop them from expressing what is in it, but could they do it in such a way that is not disruptive to the flow of the service?

Vision gives value to input, but not only explains the path we are going on, but attempts to explain the path that we have chosen not to take.

Another example: if a lay person asks a leader why we don't have a school at the church, then the answer better not be "because we don't". A leader will say something like, "You know? We considered this, but we have found that the costs of not only running a school, but running an excellent one are out of our budget right now. We are listening to God, and if He told us to, we would do as He commanded, but right now we don't believe He is pushing us in this direction.

It is answers like these that tell them, that their input is welcome, and that it has been considered. It tells them that we feel God is calling us this direction and invites them to be a part of it.

I am writing this as almost an epistle against pastors that I have been under in the past. They hid behind programs, and other pastors, rather than distributing vision to their flock.

The other one is to lead by example. If I, as a layperson in our church can hold down my own job (60+ hours a week), and manage to put in at least 15 hours at the church every week, it is not too much for pastors to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

I once was so upset at a pastor at our church that I asked him what his ministry was. He looked at me puzzled and said that he was a pastor at the church. I responded to him that that was obviously his job, not his ministry, because jobs have pre-defined work hours and job-descriptions and ministry calls us to go beyond. Needless to say, I was not his favorite for a while, but he did take my point to heart.

Leadership to me comes down to being a person of vision, compassion, a role model for others to follow, and a heart after God. What else needs to be said?

Okay I've babbled enough.

God Bless
Doug

Milly said...

Doug,

We have a cross in our church, shocking for some COC folks, when it went up some grumbled and so on. The nice people who take care of the plants put flowers at the base. It’s a rather large cross. Someone threw a honk’n fit over it and they replaced it with greenery. We all have those folks who grumble about silly things how they are handled is key. In a church with 3000 it must seem daunting.

Milly said...

Codepoke,

I begin almost to feel that it is a waste of time to say anything, but I don't really think it is.

Nor do I. We need to explore what we want and expect from our leaders. We need to take leadership apart so that we can not only be good followers but good leaders. We know that they are human and make mistakes, it’s only through exploration that we learn.

codepoke said...

DugALug,

More cowbell! Hehehe.

You're right. We are getting closer to the same conversation now. I'm with Milly, and a little beyond, in that I think a church of 3000 is more than daunting. If I had 15 elders there, (and the pastor being just an elder is a great move) I think I would want another 100+ deacons just for warm-ups.

You have a number of great examples in this comment, but I will just choose one.

What if someone whines and the input is filtered by a leader who doesn't see its significance? The whine gets lost before it even has a chance to be considered... a problem.

Like you say, it all comes down to the leader stepping up. A good leader *does* filter some of the whining - in fact, almost all of it. He handles as much as he should, nods his head while dismissing some of it, and only takes the stuff that matters to anyone else.

Every leader is going to get some of those calls wrong. Mistakes can be fixed. Poor judgement usually cannot. So, we need to have some means of firing poor leaders and mentoring those who just need help.

Yep, I'm warming up to the subject again. :-)

Thanks, DugALug

codepoke said...

Milly,

We need to take leadership apart so that we can not only be good followers but good leaders.

Exactly.

I don't think we will all agree with each other when we are done, but just looking at this is helpful. For centuries we have simply accepted a model of pastoral leadership without really examining whether it was helping the cause.

One more groundwork post on Titus 3, and then I think I can start setting up conclusions to blow apart. ;-)

Milly said...

I asked an elders wife how many of those guys we have in our church and she brought up a very valid point define what you mean because some churches call them different names and so on. We have about 6 or 8 elders, she wasn’t sure. Some have stepped down. At one point we had a bit too many and it was egos and conflict a plenty. She didn’t say that, I knew it. We then have ministry leaders. I’m not sure the number. My husband is one. We also have core team leaders. So when Doug says, what I would consider a very low number for 3000, might be fine because of other factions of leadership.

Maeghan said...

Again I am "slow" at it here :) (and just in case, i did post "the tomorrow" you mention you were waiting for at the same place, Rom 6:6).

Neway ...

I don't get excited and then type. I get excited as I type.

I feel the same way. As I said in my post, I am running out of steam on Romans 6 but as I get started on writing, I gain some energy and get more excited as I type. I just hope I can hold up till v.14 and after that to sit down and start on the paper, with still much more reading to do. oh dear ...

If not posting helps - there is no posting.

I am just wondering when that will have to happen to me :) in my daily ponderings. I guess when I am away where I have no internet access this coming mid of June.

Sorry, I rambled :)

DugALug said...

Milly,

for the most part our elders have been pretty unified (ironically except for our previous pastor). It would be more accurate to say we are closer to 5000 than 3000. We have over 3000 members at the church and 3000 is about what we see on any given Sunday.

There is little doubt that running a church of this size is daunting. I have been going there for over 26 years, and the church has been through at least 3 major upheavals (drops of over 30 percent of the attendees), and a handful of smaller ones, yet God continues to minister to and through this body.

We have about 20 pastors on staff, and we have over 200 care groups. Financially, we are the largest missionary church in Florida. We also have former pastors scattered accross the world.

Our church has been on the brink of bankruptcy and was able to pay off a 14 million dollar debt in 4 years (we learned not to go into debt after that).

I maintain that it is very much like marriage. There are hundreds of books on the subject, but not every one is right for your specific marriage.

There are unquestionably timeless truths that should apply to all churches, but much of a processes of running a church are subject to the environment it is put in.

When I have gone on missions trips, I am amazed at how churches in these villages are able to run with 1 man at the top, and go to a village right next door and the church is in the clutches of an out and out mutiny.

Leadership matters, and having a supporting body matters every bit as much.

Right now, I love our church, but that hasn't always been true. Still God has never realeased me to go anywhere else. So, as for me, I am planted here to watch the rise and fall, and be a part of wherever God wants it to go.

God Bless
Doug

Milly said...

Dugalug,

I think it’s great that you are still in that church. At my church I have seen several leave because they always think it will be better somewhere else. Most of those who have left made it difficult to want them to stay and difficult to stay. I was asked if I were leaving this last Sunday by a treasured lady I said NO way she said they were not leaving either. Every church has it’s set of problems.

To me the thing is that we love those churches and when God shows us a bit of hot sand it breaks our hearts. We tend to throw all thoughts that God might just have a plan. It sounds to me like you get that he does.

codepoke said...

Maeghan,

sit down and start on the paper, with still much more reading to do. oh dear ...


After watching my son's research, and subsequent writing efforts, I have even more sympathy for you. You're already using it though! (I am going through the posts backwards, so I just finished reading about kosmeo.)

Hang in there!

codepoke said...

DugALug,

Great information, Doug. Thanks for sharing it.

There are unquestionably timeless truths that should apply to all churches, but much of a processes of running a church are subject to the environment it is put in.

Amen.

dannykaye said...

Confession time!!!

I have not participated in these for two reasons. And it is certainly NOT because the topic is uninteresting. I was fired up about it when Codepoke first initiated it. But two things have kept me from commenting.

1.) I have been busier than I used to be. I used to do some blogging while I was at college at night. (I know, I shoulda been paying attention.) I used to do some blogging when I was supposed to be doing homework. (I know again).
But now I have finished school and those times are gone.
Plus, I am teaching some classes and need to put much time into those.
Plus my own site has been lacking because I am trying to get the 5th article on "The Perfect Church" completed (another day or so.)
Plus I was in a debate with a guy at another site about Christian cussing.
Plus I was trying to figure out the new teachings that Codepoke was throwing my way on my own site, and come up with semi-coherent arguements for my own position.
Anyway, I have had my biblical focus on other areas.
2.) I am a very slow reader and often need to read things a coupla times for comprehension's sake. So when I see the post is too long for what I have time for at that moment, I will print it out and try to read it during a potty break or something. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it don't!
Anyway, by the time I read it, the conversation has moved on.
(Yeah, I know. This from a guy who tends to go on a bit)
Forgive the hypocrisy and the lack of comments. They are not due to a lack of interest.

Milly said...

Danny Kaye,
I know what you mean I copy and try to find time myself. I've enjoyed Christian Unity but need to print it to read it all.
Life should take us from this.

codepoke said...

Danny!

Forgive the hypocrisy and the lack of comments.

How can you say such a thing? There is nothing to forgive! And there is no hypocrisy!

I'm tickled to hear that life is keeping you busy. Having time to type as much as I do is not exactly something of which I am proud. ;-(

I look forward to Perfect Church #5. Your series has been fun so far (and you have actually listened to my odd doctrines. It's been invigorating.)

Danny Kaye said...

Thanks, Codepoke. I knew you would understand. I just didn't want you to think that I wasn't comin' around. I come by a few times a day to see if there are any "short" posts I can read and comment on.

Regarding Article 5, it is done! I just want my wife to edit it. (She did that for a living so I think it best if I let her do it. My pride has allowed WAY too many typos and grammer flops to slip past me to not ask her input.

But let me tell you. Article 5 is the most inspiring thing I have ever written. I get the goose bumps everytime I read it. Our God is surely awesome!

DugALug said...

Danny,

Hey that is a great idea: I should use my wife to edit my comments... they would make them approach what we like call 'English'

Too bad she has no interest in blogging, so there is little hope of that coming around.

God Bless
Doug

Danny kaye said...

Dugalug, we are on the same page.
My wife is not in the least bit interested in blogging.
But she has read some of my stuff and asked why I didn't let her edit it before I put it out there for the world to see. (I'm not sure what she is inferring there, are you?)

;-)

DugALug said...

Danny,

Hey! My wife made similar remarks... are they taking notes?

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

You guys don't know about "the network?"

DugALug said...

you guys dont know about the 'network'

Aparently this 'network' is coutry-wide. Women have it all over us guys! I guess that is why they rule the world.

-Doug

Milly said...

We rule!!