Inspired!


Today was a great day!… Leaders from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri and Wisconsin gathered in a hotel in Saddle Brook, New Jersey to dialogue about some of the ministry issues they are struggling with and encourage each other.

At the first regional Leaders Table, I sat in the back and observed as Nancy Beach asked each of them to share any challenges they wanted to be sure were discussed before leaving for the day. Five flip chart pages later, they had an agenda. Insights were shared by Nancy and others on topics like dwindling creativity, pastor relations, staying culturally relevant, leading artists, soul care for your team and yourself, plus many other “hot” topics.

Throughout the day, there were so many things that encouraged me…Before we even started, I met Howard who came all the way from St. Louis because he had missed the Arts Conference and just needed to connect with some others. During introductions, Divera from Pennsylvania shared their ministry’s vision to “Reclaim the Streets” in their town and shared how their ministry was committed to reaching those who may not step foot in a church. Somewhere during a few hours of conversations filled with the sharing of ideas and insights I watched first-hand as leaders who never knew each other before today became friends and cheerleaders for each other. The day ended powerfully for me, as each leader shared their commitment to do something to grow their soul.

The leaders today inspired me with their humble spirits, their incredible love for the power of the arts in the local church and their willingness to do all they can to reach people with God’s love. Randal from New Jersey said it best today…”There’s nothing better than being on the front line and seeing God change lives”.

3 comments:

hccdramaqueen said...

I'm really sorry that I wasn't able to attend this Leader's Table when it was so close to home (I'm in PA). I'm currently in a situation where I'm debating leaving not only my ministry position (Director of Performing Arts) by my church. I could have used the insight of other leaders. My reasons swirl around exhaustion, lack of trust in current leadership, loss of passion and just plain tired of doing it week after week. My conflict isn't 'where do I get revitalized?', that's easy - Willow and others offer many resources to do that. I conflict is 'should I?' When is it time to rest - to not be responsible for it all anymore? When is it time to step aside and let someone else carry the load? Physically, I'm recovering from adrenal exhaustion which caused me to quit another job in the fall. I haven't given up my position at church because I'm having difficulty discerning whether it's God I hear or my own desire to not be responsible anymore. Ours is a small church (translate 'there's no one to take over if I leave'), struggling with so many other issues that I would feel like I'm betraying them all if I'd leave - yet, a large part of me just wants to be done with it all and go somewhere where I am not in charge - where I can just soak for a time and heal. I would appreciate any insight, experiences, etc. that could help me where I am. Maybe I should just put on my big-girl panties and get over it? :) Any thoughts...

Nancy Beach said...

Dear “drama queen” (sorry, I don’t have your name…)

First, I feel an e-mail response is completely inadequate for such a complex and difficult situation. I would be very willing to set up a phone appointment with you to talk about this further. You can reach me at nbeach@willowcreek.org to set that up if you like.

But my shorter response is that you clearly need a “time out” in order to listen to the whispers of God. Whenever I’m in a state of exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed, I have the hardest time discerning what God might be saying. It’s possible you just need a rest, or an adjusted job description, or, perhaps God will lead you to make a more dramatic change. I do hope you have a safe friend in your life who knows you well and can help you process your decision. I am so sorry you are in this place…

Please contact me if you would like to talk further.

With love in Christ,
Nancy Beach

Pam Howell said...

hccdramqueen,

I wish we were sitting in a quiet coffee shop where I could listen to all that is in your heart and mind. I too will make the offer to listen if there isn't a friend who you can confide in & offer wisdom & guidance, howellp@willowcreek.org

I am praying you find the time to rest. I am also praying you have the courage to take time to rest. I know it can be difficult but when we rest it not only gives our bodies a time to replenish & heal, it shows God that we trust Him. Can you go to whoever you report to & ask for a couple days off? Can you explain that you are physically exhausted? Is she/he aware of your recovering from adrenal exhaustion?

I know it isn't always easy. Your situation sounds complex. I do believe rest, time to listen to God and someone to sort things out will help you gain perspective and in time a direction. Being a 'big girl' doesn't mean just living with the situation or leaving. You are a child of the Most High God. He created you and endowed you with gifts and talents that when expressed bring Him pleasure and turn others towards Him. He cares about every moment of your day. He is there to carry your load (& that can translate to sharing it with us.) He will provide a way.

Is there any way we as a community can practically help? Can we help with service ideas? Suggesting resources? If there is, please let us know.

Peace,
Pam