It was four days before a major conference, and I was swamped. By having to move everything online. By having to lead a relatively new team through a difficult event while working remotely. By having the steepest learning curve I’ve ever experienced. And now I was staring at yet another new app that we needed to have running smoothly, and I just wanted to cry because it’s been a long couple of months and I had no idea what I was doing.
I took a quick walk to clear my head, and as I walked, I realized that there was an argument going on in my head. One side said it was my responsibility to figure this out, that it wasn’t fair to push this onto someone else’s plate; the other voice said that maybe I just needed to reach out to a colleague outside of our team who had some experience with this work. In that moment I realized that my need to get everything done myself was not an act of faith.
I was allowing myself to live in a story where God asks me to do something that I’m not gifted for, and then doesn’t provide what I need to get it done.
That is a stingy god, not our God of grace and abundance. I realized that I needed to live a different story. I realized that the critical factor of this ministry isn’t contingent on my ability to excel at things all by myself, but rather an opportunity to come together and share gifts.
I sent off a quick email and had a response within minutes; my colleague had a great deal of experience with the app, and had been waiting for an opportunity to put it into full action. He was excited to be working with new people, and within a day had things set up and was leading a training with the rest of the crew.
What’s your story? Are you trying to make up for “God’s failings” in your ministry, or are you looking around you with open eyes to see who God has sent your way? In this time of pandemic, it is easy to believe that as leaders we need to create every wheel anew and solve our own problems. Instead, this is a time for leaders to think deeply about what problems actually need to be solved for the sake of the Gospel, and then engage people who have insights into what is needed and the skills to run helpful experiments.
If you need some help seeing outside of your own circle, here are a few things to try:
- Pray for help. Connect with those people who come to mind, even if you don’t know them very well, for their expertise, connections or insights.
- Check out how local (or social media) colleagues are doing things. It might be helpful to share (curriculum, technology, staff) with one another instead of staying in our own silos.
- Think about who you may know in other professions that are experiencing similar disruptions. What are nurses learning about caring for people? What are teachers learning about how to connect with students? Because of their different vantage points, they may be learning skills that you haven’t thought of before.
We’d love to connect with you in the Learning Lab, and hear what people and resources God is placing in your heart, mind, and community to do the work you are called to do!
About the Author
Dawn Alitz is the Director of Communities and Coaching with Faith+Lead. Her role in Faith+Lead and the Innovation Team at Luther Seminary places her in a unique position to design, pilot, and build out new business models for theological education, coaching, and congregational leadership support.
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