Business Meeting Revelations
You know you are over scheduled when you cannot make time to do the thing you love most. For me that is writing. I could fill you in on what the last two weeks have looked like, but I do not know how to do it without sounding like I am complaining. There have been amazing opportunities for growth let’s leave it there. (In other words, the struggle is real people.)
One of the many things that occupied my to do list was the annual business meeting for our church. I was both anxious and curious about this item on my agenda. I have attended several churches in my life. I have been in several nasty meetings…in church. Meetings where people had to be escorted out and where there were calls for the removal of staff members. They were ugly and honestly, in those meetings you could easily forget you were there to conduct the business of God’s house.
The annual business meeting for Centerbranch solidified my love for my church, the staff and our church family. Our meeting started with the right focus. We spent time praising and worshipping God. We prayed. There was a sweet presence before we ever starting discussing the numbers. Where God is present, evil cannot abide. Although there were a couple of moments of uncomfortable discussion, it was never nasty or cruel. I am very thankful to be in a church where God is ALWAYS first, even at the business meeting.
Follow the Leader
I am researching and writing a book about leadership, specifically women in leadership. As you research things, there is a tendency to recall sayings or tidbits of wisdom from your personal past. I do not remember who said this (sounds like a Papa statement). “You can tell a person’s character by three things: 1. how they handle power (leadership), 2. how they handle confrontation and 3. how they handle correction. I know in my personal development as a leader, there have been times that these issues have been real struggles. I believe in general, I do these things well now. It took time. It took some failures. It took learning to develop my leadership skills and style.
The Church Annual Business Meeting solidified my support and respect of our lead Pastor. I am a bit of a watcher, like my Father. I hear and talk to people, but I watch their actions. Actions will betray false words, every single time. I am happy to say the walk and talk match up in our church staff, from my point of view. Pastor approaches his leadership role with a servant’s heart. He is driven to push our congregation in our relationships with God, with one another and to reach out beyond the church walls. He, along with the remaining staff, have genuine appreciation of those who serve on our Dream Team. Some people step into leadership and it becomes the “Me Show”, I have never seen that with our Pastor. (To be fair, have not seen that in any of our staff.) Although there is a frequent acknowledgement of the importance of others to make our church function, it is also clear who is leading the charge. Pastor obviously respects the importance of his leadership role. He leads with love, not from a seat of power. It makes all the difference.
Most of us do not relish the ideal of confrontation. I just had a meeting with someone where I had to confront some issues and I dreaded it. This is a person I love and respect, I did to want to bring these negative issues and drop them in her lap. It had to be addressed. Fortunately, God is in both our hearts and the meeting was never tense. It was filled with love and a desire, on both parts, to make things better. I had a situation several months ago, where my son was told not to help at a certain station for an outreach event. I had received my son’s version of the story, but I wanted to know the why behind things. (Devon is the youngest of four brothers, trust me…I KNOW that each of my son’s has a unique talent for jumping on your last nerve.) Devon was just beginning to get really involved with the Church and I did not want this incident to discourage him.
I had been engaged in a conversation with our church Administrative Assistant and asked about what occurred. A very brief time letter I received a message from our Pastor detailing the incident. I was seeking clarification so I could handle things with my child, but the staff did not know that. For all they knew, I was an angry Mother protecting her child. Though this was a minor confrontation, Pastor addressed it head on. He took the reins of the situation to prevent escalation or misunderstanding. Likewise, in the business meeting, a few questions came across rather accusatory. He addressed the questions with grace. He readily admitted a fault in the system of presentation. He handled confrontation with respect and dignity. He is comfortable letting you know when he doesn’t know something and he offers to get you the answers. For me, this was a difficult skill to develop – admitting you do not know something should be easy but our tendency is to “wing it” till we figure something out.
Lastly, is taking correction. Just admit it…no one likes to be wrong. I hate to make mistakes, but that is where I learn. I can own my mess ups fairly well, that came from learning to see them as opportunities for growth and development. A leader is able to do this. Our Pastor is a leader…a good one. During the meeting a statement was presented that, for lack of better words, called out our Pastor. He first apologized and then offered clarification. That did not quite satisfy the party making the statement. The question took on a heavier meaning, becoming more like an accusation toward the Pastor for not utilizing a certain group in our church. Once again clarification was given, but the heart of our Pastor was exposed. The way things had been worded, made it seem like this group of men were not trusted by our Pastor. That is not the case. Our Pastor obviously has deep respect and love for these men. He was hurt. (That’s what I took from it.) He was grieved that any action or non-action on his part might reflect negatively on these men.
This was a brief moment in the meeting; however, that moment of tenderness and emotion over protecting members of his flock will be forever with me. I realize that when I speak about our church staff, I can sound like I am gilding the lily. It’s not hero-worship or exaggerated admiration, I am deeply grateful to be a part of a church that is led so well.
During my years as a probation officer we worked with the concept of behavioral modeling. In fact, for a time I taught behavioral modeling to others. All the -ologies (psychology, sociology, criminology) have a version of behavioral modeling. It is the one discipline we all engage in. You can choose to be deliberate in the behavior you model to others or just “be yourself”. Deliberate modeling of behavior requires putting situations and circumstances through a lens. As an example: as an officer I frequently had to engage in searches of offender’s homes. I could show up, be rude, obnoxious and stir up tension or I could show respect for their home, property, family and just execute my job. I always chose the latter. I cannot imagine how uncomfortable it must be to have strangers rummaging through your home, badge or no badge. I did my best to keep the situation calm and respectful. In turn, the offenders saw my actions and behavior in their homes. Over time, the same courtesy was given to me in my office. I did not tolerate “showing out” in my office, but I did not “show out” in their homes.
Behavioral modeling is a key element in parenting. Our children mimic our actions. As they grow, they become versions of ourselves, warts and all. Pay attention to the behavior modeled by your leaders in you family, workplace and especially your church. Look at it through the filter of whether or not you want to explain that behavior to God himself. My Pastor models strong, positive behaviors to his flock. I could not be more proud to call Centerbranch my church home.