Step On My Toes. Please.

“Don’t create more work for people” is a useful motto when you work on a team. If you take care of your business and let your teammates take care of theirs, toes won’t get stepped on and you won’t get blamed when things outside your portfolio go wrong. Maybe teams are more effective when their toes […]

Year One Feels Like The Wrong Time For A Reboot

When you’ve been around the sun a couple of times with program work that repeats each year, you’ve already got your checklists and your calendars in place. The start of each new program iteration requires fine tuning, editing. Circumstances may dictate that you blow the whole thing up and start new, but even then you’ll still […]

The Church Is Terrible. The Church Is Amazing. 

Spend enough time in a church and you will hear and observe stark contradictions. In the span of three days last week people told me both that the church had let them down so that they would never return and that the church had sparked a conversion in their life. The challenge for leaders in […]

Installations Are All About Discontinuity. And Continuity. 

Yesterday was the installation service at the church I serve. I’ve been there since February, but now I’m officially installed as the Associate Pastor for Youth. The service was an apt illustration of the ways in which a new pastoral relationship simultaneously represents discontinuity and continuity, both for the congregation and the pastor.  Discontinuity: in […]

Somebody Find Me A Coach

Here’s the last piece of my professional development trifecta. In addition to cohorts and networks, I’m also into coaches these days. In my limited work with new worshiping communities I noticed that many of those leaders employ coaches to great effect, but I’ve also known heads of large church staffs to have them too. I don’t have a coach presently, but […]

Why Aren’t You In A Cohort?

Yesterday I wrote of my love for networks. I’m also falling in love with cohorts. Cohorts are the professional development tool du jour. Typically comprised of between eight and 12 people from a discipline or field of work, cohorts are structured around peer learning and utilize skilled facilitation. Cohort gatherings I have been part of make time for group study […]

Is Networking Ever Not A Good Idea?

I like building networks. Networking is usually my first impulse. Give me a job to do, and I will immediately start looking for others who are doing the same job and try to build a network with them. I’m extroverted and generally feel less smart than my peers, so a network connects me with people […]

I’m A Fan Of Mission Immersion Programs For Youth

I spent last week with 30 teenagers and the Asheville Youth Mission (AYM). AYM is one of several mission trip options in the U.S. that are doing a type of “mission immersion,” combining the service work of a traditional mission project with personal reflection and social analysis. People are running these programs in D.C., Charlotte, Philadelphia, and, through the DOOR […]