Monday, May 11, 2009

Ten Things I Think I Think

1) You will get a new post every time I don't want to write anything for this book. Today would be one of those times. Call it a mental block. Call it laziness. Call it anything you want, just don't call me late to dinner.

2) Resident Family Digital Genius, CJ, has dug up this gem of a commercial. Low budget at its best. These are the ideas I wish I had.

Pure genius on a $65 budget. I'll be singing that jingle all day.

3) Worshiped yesterday at Philippian Missionary Baptist where the Rev. Dr. B Lamont Montford was on fire yesterday. In all seriousness that might have been the most challenging, in-your-face, Mothers Day sermon I'll ever hear in my life. A powerful sermon from a guy whose own mother was a drug-addicted prostitute who was murdered at a young age. It was an honor to be there. A true honor.... although at a certain point in the service, I was sitting in the back of the sanctuary, and upon realizing I was there, Lamont invited me to come sit up on the platform with him. Unfortunately, it meant that another guy up on the platform lost his seat, which I still feel terrible about. Things work differently in predominantly black congregations.

4) Was told that yesterday's service here at Shawnee UMC was also very powerful. Testimony was given by a woman who is now a social worker who as a teenager gave a child up for adoption. Also heard from a teenager who lives here locally who realized a couple of years ago just how loved she is not only by her adopted mother, but by her biological mother who gave her up in the hope she would have a better future. Kind of a different take that Charlotte Hefner, our associate pastor, decided on for Mothers Day, but that's why we love her. Nobody's better at getting people to look at things from a different perspective. Here's the link for our podcasts. I'm sure at some point soon this week's service will be posted if there weren't recording issues (which we sometimes have). Just keep your eyes peeled.

5) I am having a hard time moving forward on this book regarding leadership transitions (obviously, cause I'm killing time here to avoid killing time there). Part of the issue is just feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand. In a lot of ways I just feel like I'm over my head. But the first and foremost issue is that there's a lot of information to sort through, and not a lot of time. I was up until 2am last night simply sorting out the various learnings I think have been uncovered by the research, and there are many.

One of the most important, for example, is that boards and bureaucracies have to show a lot of self-restraint in order to make a leadership transition work. Because these folks generally have a lot of power, the inclination, particularly as it relates to finding new leadership, is to use it. Once all involved agree on a transition process, this biggest challenge often faced is getting the board to keep their hands to themselves, and trust the process.

At one of the churches, for example, a board member who vehemently opposed doing a transition from a senior leader to one of the associate leaders, had to be asked by the rest of the board to resign when he simply wouldn't back down even after the decision had been made. The particular board member was convinced that the only way a church should receive a new senior leader was in the aftermath of doing the more traditional "national search" and "call" process where resumes were solicited, candidates interviewed, trial sermons given, and the congregation getting the final vote. So married was he to the idea of the traditional "call" process that the stink he began to create convinced the rest of the board that he really didn't support the direction of the church, period, so they let him go.

In many cases, particularly in church settings, the general rule of thumb is for boards to make stink makers happy. Whether or not a leadership board has the stomach to follow through with a non-traditional leadership transition is a big question that should be asked by themselves and the senior leader before they try to engage the process.

6) When do you know the economy is bad? When every quartet, band, actor, and choir is sending you countless emails asking to come play at your church. I can't remember a six month span where I've been solicited more by artists. It must really be lean out there. Southern Gospel quartets, guys who can recite the entire Gospel of John, a female singer who sings ACR music and gives her testimony about her life as a gypsy, numerous hard-core speed metal/punk/r&b/alternative Christian rock bands, a Christian motivational speaker who juggles, countless choirs from all over the world..... everybody just wants meals and a free will offering. Just another sign that the church is battening down the hatches in a difficult economy.

7) Cleaned Max's room with him Saturday (for Mothers Day), and realized that my son suffers from the same malady I do: Pack-Rat-Pile-Making-itus. What's more, its genetic. You ought to see my dad's office. Everytime I get depressed about mine, I just go see his and I feel much better about my organizational ability. Let's hope that there's steady improvement generationally as we continue to sit on Max to keep his things in order. There's still hope for him. For Dad and I, like Red from "Shawshank Redemption", we're institutionalized. We can't make it on the outside of pack rate pile making.

Or maybe, then again, there might still be hope for us pile makers after all. In any event I'll do what I can to help my son.

8) My excitement over my own discovery of Ben Harper only grows. You will be... I will be... forgiven:

9) I'll tell you where amazing is gonna happen this year in the NBA playoffs. Wherever this guy is. He's on a mission.

10) Finally, to wrap this up, not only is there apparently a Red House commercial, but also a behind the scenes video of the making of the the Red House commercial. The internet at its finest.

I too enjoy extending credit to all people. On that note, I hope you have a nice day.


Lois E. Lane said...

RE: #1, I suppose we can't call it a comeback either? :)

bryan said...

Nope. I've been here for years.

Jake Alger said...

Hope for emergence from the pat rack cycle is a good thing — maybe the best of things.