CTeam Retreat ’11: building

From 4/15-4/17 the new & old Coordinating Team members & staff went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to be refreshed, build community, & prepare for next year. It is incredibly important to build up these leaders spiritually, communally, & practically so that they are well-equipped for our InterVarsity camp at year’s end & leading in 2011-2012. This is part 4 of 4 about the weekend & about leadership development.

On Sunday morning, we gathered together for a last session before heading home. After we grounded ourselves firmly in material about identity (namely, the centrality of our relationship with the Lord, our attitude as servants, and celebration and enjoyment of each other), only then did we turn to the practical matters of vision, work, and excellence. But even so, we did and must turn to them! I led the talk that morning — talking about how to practically lead and live out the values we talked about but do our work faithfully. Because faithful work means good work. How do we work well?

I explained how a real Body does work all together — we are to be collaborative, not segmented. We must be integrated instead of siloed, we must care about EVERYTHING and EVERY piece of ministry and not just our own department. Do we find ourselves defending our territory? Do we allow for dissent? Do we give dissent respectfully? Do we really listen to each other? Do we pursue and invite and want quieter members to contribute? Or do we plunge forward like the Lone Ranger?

I talked about how the process of our leadership should be clear, should be streamlined, should be regimented. We highlighted the pragmatism of Acts 6 (to deal with a racism and distribution issue), or how the Holy Spirit and material/logistical excellence go hand-in-hand in the building of the Temple. We taught the students that God is in the details, not the devil, because God created order and loves it, that God created details, and loves them. We told them to put off the false dichotomy (and arrogance!) that some really “spiritual” Christians like to claim, that planning is less Spirit-driven than openness. Our scripture and experience has not found that to be true.

We are called Kingdom builders. And builders need the help of architects and engineers and craftsman and measurements and blueprints and plum-lines. And these all sound like awfully pragmatic and empirical things, but isn’t this partly how the Temple and Nehemiah’s Jerusalem wall-building take place? We are builders, and we want to build things that are sturdy, lasting, even as they are artful, and expressive. That is what the Kingdom should look like.

I laid out some clear guidelines, goals, and a sample planning worksheet to show them how good planning is a blessing to those we lead — how our preparation and detail-oriented specificity blesses them to better accountability. Instead of “organize this event” we come up with clear parameters to help them gauge success and goals by, and then they are really part of our vision. Instead of “lead that meeting,” we help them think through what kind of meeting we need to have and what it should do, and empower them to lead effectively instead of vaguely. We learn to prepare and think and plan and bless others with the details, because God is in the details.

And after that was all finished, we prayed together, took some photos, packed up and went back to Grounds. Because we have retreats not just to get away, but also so that we can come back better and more ready for what God has for us.

Pray that our leaders will put in the work/effort to prepare, plan, execute, communicate, and build well!

Preparing my notes for my talk on structure, systems, planning, and leading effectively


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