Just before leaving for Denver and my doctoral class right after New Years holiday, I attended the annual Literature Evangelist Year-End rally/convocation in Pigeon Forge. On Friday evening, It was a privilege to be involved in introducing the attendees to Mary Schmidt, a newly employed Kentucky-Tenn L.E. who lives in Portland, TN, and who shared her testimony of knocking on the door of an apartment a few weeks ago, only to be introduced to a former SDA who has since that meeting, attended church with Mary. What a ministry it is for our faithful team to often six days a week, introduce the public to not just literature and books, but to Jesus and His Church. Well done!
For the past five days I've been in Denver taking a class entitled "Solving Problems in Ministry and Leadership." The course, team-taught by Dr. Gordon MacDonald and Dr. Scott Wenig, attempts to introduce the student to the techniques, philosophy, and the practical approaches to identifying problems and challenges and ministry, and moving toward resolution. I"ve had several classes in this area and among many convictions arising from my course work is that what appears to be THE problem, is often only a symptom, and that it is only through careful evaluation, listening, and exploring the complexities of how parts and people relate to and affect each other, do you often begin to identify the real problem(s). That of course is the necessary identification that must take place before exploring possible solutions.
At the core of good leadership (also an oft repeated theme in this program) is the heart, mind, and spirit of the leader. Good leaders are constantly self-examining, looking beyond today to tomorrow, assume a continual -posture of learning, and are able to skilfully navigate the perilous path of change. A number of times this week my classmates and I commented and processed one gem of wisdom (one among many) offered by Dr. MacDonald and that is the reality that effective organizations are always poised for the potential of changing and re-grouping, recognizing that adaptability is, at least in the business world, the key to survival. For the church, it can be important in terms of its effectiveness in its mission and in its relevancy. I have said often to our administrative leadership that Adventism possesses a powerful, unique, and transformational message that we must never grow weary of delivering to the world. How we bring that message, that life, to our community through the presence of the Church, and the influence of it's members, demands vigilance, resolve, courage, and boldness in loving a sometimes unlovely world. It also insists upon a constant engagement in examining with honesty and energy, what is working in our task to win the lost for Christ, and, what is not working. Another self-evident truth that I'm reminded of almost everytime I read USA today, or, scan the news, is that the world is changing at break-neck speed. It means potential, opportunity, and challenges are before us. Enough preaching for now. The pictures below are . . . from the LE Rally in Pigeon Forge, an early morning picture of the back of the chapel at Denver Seminary this week, and finally, a classroom shot of Dr. Gordon MacDonald doing what he does best. teaching, not so much by delivering information, but through insisting that we think through what Scripture and life experience have to teach us in the context of where we are serving God and His Church.
Will be leaving tomorrow for Nasvhille, hopefully before the snow that is predicted begins to fall. Will be around 30 degrees and 30 mph wind at the time my flight leaves. BRRRRR! Grace to you.