The Miracle of What We Don’t Want, Part 3

I have discussed the situation I found myself in here. I have also discussed how God directed me to lead with Spiritual Formation and Discipleship in mind.

Now, I will tell you about a few of the things we tried and how they worked.

Daily Prayer. Everyday at 9:30, any staff that wants to meet gathers for prayer. I will usually read a few verses and we will discuss it briefly.  Then, we will take prayer requests. When you have a fellow colleague who dies during the semester, there was no shortage of the need to pray. When another librarian loses her father and another one has a daughter with cancer, we have spent many of these daily prayer times crying, sharing with one another, and connecting in powerful ways.

Staffing With a Mission. We had many positions to fill. Our first priority was a part time person who could run our Circulation Desk. This person would be working closely with a large team of student workers. I wanted to find someone that could be more than a supervisor but could invest in and mentor our student workers. I needed someone with a minister’s heart. We found a Doctoral Student who was a former children’s minister and loved connecting with others. She could do the ins and outs of the job but she also could show love, care, and compassion for our student workers. She was an answer to prayer.

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The flier for Nuggets and Knowledge

Nuggets and Knowledge. I wanted to find ways to connect with our student workers beyond work. I had hoped to help develop what are known as soft skills with our students. And, I wanted to demonstrate and discuss how Christ changes how I work, parent, listen, and lead. I knew that I could meet with our male student workers and our new Circulation supervisor could meet with the females. I purchased a 30 count platter of nuggets and invited our guys to come to my office for lunch. I called it Nuggets and Knowledge. We were able to meet one time but I plan on making it a monthly occurrence. Our first meeting was a great opportunity to get to know each other and for me to share a little of my story.

The Value of Service. I couldn’t tell you how many times on our campus, I have heard people talk about experiencing something different when they arrived, the presence of God even. I have heard it so many times that I don’t think it is hyperbole. It is my desire that people have the same experience when they walk into the library. YES, the library. I want people to have a sense that something important is happening in our corner of the campus and that God must be a part of that. One way we can make this a reality is through our quality of service. We are training our student workers to smile and look up, to take extra time with our patrons, and to take their tasks seriously for the betterment of those they are serving.

I have only been Interim for one semester and I really don’t know what the future holds and I am not too concerned by it. I know that God has called me for this time and place and I want to honor that calling. The rest is out of my hands. No matter what happens, I can know that I did what I was asked to do and I did it in a way that fit with who I am and who God has made me.

The Miracle of What We Don’t Want, Part 2

When I was asked to be the Interim Director of the library I had a problem. I mentioned this at the end of the last post.

Why had God allowed me to pursue something like the Apprentice Experience, why had I gone through the effort of trying to start a ministry, why was I passing myself off as Spiritual Formation expert through blogging and mentoring if God’s plan for me was to have a management position full of paper work, budgets, staffing headaches, and limited resources? What was the point of all of my efforts to help others Grow Up if God had something unrelated in mind. This is not what I asked for.

Still, I was willing to be obedient, I was willing to fill the role and fulfill my obligations, but I couldn’t see past the drudgery and the administrative aspects that I knew I would hate. One evening after a day of work and trying to ride the wave of all that was going on, I was walking to my car and it hit me. In a revelatory way that is a Godly mixture of surprise and perfect sense, it was laid before me that, “why can’t you do both?”

Yes, I could do both. I could bring all that I have learned through the Apprentice Experience, through my years of studying and caring about issues of Spiritual Growth, and my care for other people’s spiritual life and blend it into my role in running a library.  I was at Dallas Baptist University for crying out loud, it wasn’t like I would be barred from bringing the spiritual into the workplace? I began to envision a work environment where our staff could connect and care for one another, where our student workers could grow and develop as adults, professionals, and believers, and our student patrons could be inspired, invigorated, and blessed by our work. God helped me see a library that could be a beacon of light and learning on the campus.

Just minutes before, I was dreading the next to-do item, the next crisis, the next urgent moment of overwhelm. Now, after God told me I could do both, ideas started flooding into my mind. I had inspiration after inspiration for ways to develop our staff, to enrich our spiritual lives, and to serve our students. I went from being just a person with added responsibility to a leader who had the inspiration and the Spirit-led direction to change things up, to try out new things, and to attempt to be who Christ would be if he were name Interim Library Director.

What did I have to lose? So I gave it a shot.

Find out what I have tried and how God has worked in Part 3 on Monday.

 

Why I Am Not A Dad Blogger

I am a parent but I hardly write about parenting. I am a husband but I hardly write about marriage. I hold a managerial job but I haven’t mentioned leadership on this blog. I am a member of a church but I barely mention church. I am a citizen of a democracy but I avoid political discussions and social commentary.

What is my problem? Am I avoiding these things?

This blog is about the maturity, wisdom, character development, and renovation of the heart that comes from the transforming power of Christ. My whole point of writing this blog is so that other people can find ways and methods and inspiration to be the Jesus they would be if Jesus were they.

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If individuals reading this can find growth in love, in compassion, in service, in sacrifice, in perseverance, and humility then their marriages will be improved and their parenting will be less selfish and their work will be more excellent and their participation in church will be more intentional.

I could make every post on this blog a listicle on how to have a great marriage but the heart of the matter wouldn’t change. I need the transforming power of Christ in my life in order to be the person, in all of its states and phases, that blesses others and makes a real difference.

I have a lot of work to do and so do you but the surest way to reach stronger, healthier, and blessed aspects of our lives is to follow Jesus, do what Jesus does, and be like Jesus is.

“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:28-29

Three Marks Of A Spiritually Mature Leader

The university where I work recently conducted an inauguration service for a new President. It had all that you would expect; dignitaries representing important places and institutions, fancy clothes and regalia, grandiose music, and words of inspiration and acknowledgement.

It also exemplified aspects of Growing Up that can be peculiar attributes of mature Christian leaders. Let me explain:

  • Good memory: Some would say that leadership is all about the future. Where are you taking the organization? What future will the people under you have in 5 or 10 years? What will be your future legacy? But could leadership be enhanced by a keen understanding of the past? Much of the Inauguration service discussed the 28 years that our previous president served and all the ways that God used him to accomplish great things at the University and among its students. As much as Christian leaders want to hear from God in the future they may need to focus at times on what God has already done and draw inspiration from those memories.

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  • Humility: After he was invested with the proper accoutrements of the office and he was officially announced as our President, he didn’t stand in the glory of the moment, instead, he and his wife knelt down and prayed and were prayed over by leaders and pastors. Mature Christian leaders know that when they reach their highest achievement, that is the right time to humble themselves and pray and call on God for all of his provisions.
  • Submission: President Wright, in his remarks to the audience, stated that “this is not my University, this is not the faculty’s University, this is not the student’s University, this is God’s University.”He went on to proclaim that his goal was to please God and be a part of God’s will for the University. Throughout scripture, the great call for people of faith, is to submit to the authority and direction of God. Leaders are only placed in leadership by God and they need to recognize that any achievements or successes will come when God is glorified and not themselves.

A leader could certainly lead without a good memory or humility or submission but they would not be an example of a mature Christian leader. These types of leaders have recognized their condition under God and know that their work is God’s work.

 

photo credits: Dallas Baptist University