Planning & Leading Change

Today, Joleen and I attended a seminar (a requirement of our ordination process) held at Wesley Forest, a United Methodist camp. The presenter for the seminar on “Planning and Leading Change” was Rev. Tom Berlin, senior pastor of Floris United Methodist Church (Herndon, VA).

During the day, I posted several quotes on my Twitter page. But here, I’ll offer a little further review and reflection.

It was a very good leadership event and there’s a lot we need to process and reflect on. For now, here are some of the highlights …

Berlin began the day talking about calling. He said that passion based on call is the difference between pastors who finish well and pastors who burn out. Pastors must be intentional in processing their own call. Berlin said …

No one is ever gonna tell you what you need to be about. Your calling is your business with God!

Berlin recommended Dick Wills’ book, Waking to God’s Dream.

Berlin also talked about the importance of clarity

Clarity of calling will keep you in ministry when everything is telling you to get out.

Berlin recommended Marcus Buckingham’s book, The One Thing You Need to Know (we’ve read his earlier book, Now, Discover Your Strengths but still need to read the follow-up book, Go Put Your Strengths to Work).

I love the following statement …

Try things that only God can do. … Listen to the things that God is calling you to do that you don’t think you can do.

But Berlin made it clear that leading change is difficult. He said that while seminaries “didn’t give you a hazmat suit, they should have” because we deal with toxic stuff in ministry.

Ministry is a distance event. (Berlin)

The closing session of the day, “the change marathon,” focused on self-care in the midst of leading change. With input from his wife, a marathon runner, Berlin offered several steps change leaders need to take in order to finish well, in spite of the challenges of leadership (incidentally, I came across some scary statistics on clergy families yesterday that point to the challenges clergy families face).

Marathon runners often train with “training buddies” for mutual support. Berlin noted the importance of pastors having friends, both clergy and non-clergy (the stats in the link above support this point).

Runners take time to stretch before and after running. Similarly, pastors need spiritual, emotional, and physical “stretching activities” in order to stay healthy. Related to this, pastors need to “make time for recovery” through daily, weekly, monthly, and annual activities. These points remind me of Wayne Cordeiro’s tank-filling activities.

Well, there were other good points, but I’ll stop there for now. Again, it was a worthwhile event, and we need to process it further, especially since the parts dealing with self-care have implications for us and our family.

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