By Rev. Deb Stehlin
A weird thing happened to me this month. I had time to think.
For years, I’ve read books on leadership that suggest carving out “thinking time” each week. They say Monday mornings are best. And, they promise that setting aside time to think will make a big difference in, well, making a big difference. But, in my zeal to make phone calls, meet with people, and generally “get stuff done,” I haven’t intentionally incorporated that discipline into my work.
In my zeal to make phone calls, meet with people, and generally “get stuff done,” I haven’t intentionally incorporated the discipline of “thinking time” into my work.
But this month, I made time to ponder, … to dream, … to pray, … to imagine something big and new. And I suspect that the church is well served when I do that.
I heard some smart, faithful speakers at the “Re-thinking Church” event at Luther Seminary this week. The biggest take-away for me wasn’t the latest shiny idea for saving the church. What struck me is that the speakers who have the most clarity are the ones who are doing the most compelling gospel work with their congregation. Each one is gripped by a clear conviction that won’t let them go. I have a hunch that this conviction came about because they made time to listen, be curious, think, and pray. I suspect that the voice of the Holy One was able to enter into that sacred thinking space and mess with their usual ways of being church.
LAST WEEK, I HELD a focus group to test out an idea I have for mission in our synod. The first question I asked was, “What’s the most valuable thing synod staff can do in this time of great change in the church?” The focus group told me, “Help us to make connections and build relationships. And, help us to take risks.”
Gladly will we do that!
The voice of the Holy One was able to enter into that sacred thinking space and mess with their usual ways of being church.
Here’s one small way: If you’re a rostered minister in our synod, I hope you can come to the Bishop’s Theological Conference this fall. We’re hoping that our time together will give you time to think, pray, and get clear about one thing – your next bold step.
What might happen if 100 leaders leave Cragun’s Resort gripped by a conviction and clear about the next a bold step? What if we support one another in being true to our God-given purpose?
I think that would be good.