Starting point

Before trying to “fix” a problem and when trying to figure out “what’s going on”,

Start where people are

…not where you think they are or should be, or where you are.

Find out where they are by listening, being curious, and asking further questions for clarity.

The Church and Healthy Leadership

source:

In doing research for a paper on the mission of God and the marketplace, I came across Patrick Lencioni’s works on organizational health and management.

He’s been consulting with companies for years and recently, he’s been working with parishes (he’s deeply committed Catholic Christian).

In this short interview, he explains how church staff and leadership are the primary agents of health in the parish.

He says,

“They have to learn how to trust each other, argue well, make commitments, hold each other accountable, and focus on getting results for God. When they settle for mediocrity, it’s so sad, and that idea of settling for mediocrity because ‘it’s just church stuff so it’s good enough’ has often pervaded our Church.”

Patrick Lencioni

Like companies, the Church has a mission. But its mission has deeper implications than a company (not that it’s “better” than a company). So it requires deeper vulnerability, courage, resilience. Deeper accountability to one another and the work. A deeper commitment to practice leadership health and stay focused on the mission of God…to the world renewed by the love of God. that’s the aim. That’s the focus!!!

Leadership and Civility

In Scott Peck’s book, “A World Waiting to be Born:  Civility Rediscovered”, we learn that in order to become healthy organizations, we need to discover the art of civility.  Every organization will inevitably have conflict.  He goes on to say that, “As consciously motivated organizational behavior, civility (like healthy civics) requires consciousness of one’s self, consciousness of the other person, and consciousness of the organization, or larger system, relating the self and other.” 

The work of becoming observant, self-aware people is the cornerstone for engaging civility in our organizations.  We cannot expect someone else to do that work for us.  An organization can address its conflicts when the leaders (especially) can become conscious of their thoughts and emotions in deepening ways.  

Longing for Revival pt2

When I was 12 years old, I started praying for my dad’s reconversion to faith. He was a minister and left the pastorate for reasons that are beyond me. Growing up in a Pentecostal church means that we pray. And when we were done praying, we prayed some more. Prayer was a desperate cry for God to do something that we couldn’t do on our own. It wasn’t begging or pleading. It was what we call interceding. It’s the kind of prayer we make for divine intervention.

My dad had been drinking a lot after he left the ministry and things got very volatile. For reasons beyond my understanding, my dad ended up in jail 3 times (to the best recollection I have). After the 3rd time, something happened to my dad. He started talking about Jesus again. His life verse has always been John 3:16 (I like 3:17) and he began to experience that kind of love.

It took some time for him (and I) to undergo some major healing and reconciling but I’m happy to say that my dad is now preaching again and loves Jesus more than ever! He’s really a spiritual father and covering in my life.

After reading “Longing for Revival“, I was reminded of my holy discontent at a young age and praying for my dad to be transformed. I prayed for 13 years and in the 2nd year of my marriage, it happened. My dad and I had the kind of conversation that led to repentance, reconciliation, and renewal.

I share this personal story because all of us have some dry and dead areas in our lives. Relationships. Dreams. Career goals dashed to the ground. Broken marriages. Struggling children.

In those 13 years of praying, not only did my dad change….I changed.

In ch2 (From Holy Discontent to Crucified Hope), the authors (Ryan and James) start to map out their U-Shape for revival and breakthrough. There are 6 stages:

  1. Holy Discontent
  2. Untested Faith
  3. Crucified Hope
  4. Crisis of Faith
  5. Revived Hope
  6. Breakthrough faith
Longing for Revival, U-Curve, p.44

This kind of reminded me of Ronald Rolheiser’s Paschal Mystery (Life, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost) or of other models such as orientation – disorientation – reorientation. There are also some corollaries to the grief cycle since part of revival is something dead coming to life.

But the U-Curve seems to be a great framework for helping people work through stagnation, loss of hope, or a recommitment to God’s purposes in their lives. We need more revival to be stirred in our hearts and lives as followers of Jesus. The word “awaken” has been getting flamed in my gut for myself and others who feel dormant, are living a cruise control life, or feel despondent.

The stages are much like stages of faith development. Each stage requires a response of grace that is immersed in prayer, community, and discernment. As I previously stated (Longing for Revival pt1), I heard a lot about revival when I was young and even experienced breakthroughs in my life. But what I didn’t have was a framework to understand what was happening in me.

The U-Curve helps name what someone might be experiencing in their spiritual life. Again, the word revival has the connotation of something dead being given new life. And in the spiritual life, we wrestle a lot with loss, disorientation, discontent, and death.

Pfeiffer and Choung are trying to fan into flame a passion to know the Jesus who makes all things new!

Breakthrough typically begins with dissatisfaction with the status quo. What we’ve previously accepted as unchangeable, permanent, or permissible starts to give way to longing for something better…but our dissatisfaction never feels good.”

Longing for Revival, by James Choung and Ryan Pfeiffer, ch.2, p.38

There’s one line in ch.2 that just hit me in the gut:

Let’s not be afraid of the longings that are being stirred in us. Instead, take them to God. Some of us have been disappointed before and are afraid history will repeat itself Others of us might worry that confronting our discontent will only lead to discouragement, frustration, or even anger.”

p.41

Pfeiffer goes on to say that at the stage of Untested Faith, we might have a passion and something burning within us. We are to cultivate it, nurture it, and be gracious to ourselves in the presence of God. God is on the move.