Conversations….

Well, I’m in uncharted territory in my life: I have an abundance of time on my hands. I graduate from seminary in 4 weeks, and all of my coursework is finished. I’m preparing for life as a pastor, with a move back out to Virginia on the horizon. Wrestling season is over & my coaching tenure with Augsburg College is done. My last four weeks of internship will be busy with goodbyes rather than starting new ministries and ventures.

So, what the heck am I doing?

I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately. Conversations that range all over the map: different people, different places. I figured I’d share a couple of the better ones with you:

– Been talking with a good Pastor-friend of mine about long-term leadership in the church (he’s got 12+ years parish experience, I think?). Stuff like leading through change, visionary leadership, and models of leadership.

– I talked with another pastor at a day-long meeting for pastoral interns and their supervisors. She got asking me about wrestling culture, what so particular about it, and why it seems to be so important to the people who are a part of it. As I answered her questions, and then talked a bit about how I understand faith through the sport, she remarked, “You should write and say more about that. You might be on to something.”

– I talked with a guy in his 70’s in the sauna at the YMCA I go to about wrestling, and taking care of our bodies into that last third of life. (I had an Augsburg sweatshirt on) Then it came up I worked in a church in a pastoral role. Pretty darn good conversation….learned a lot from each other.

– I got to sit down with my internship supervisor for about 90 minutes yesterday and talk about leadership. As I asked questions, and he talked about things he’s learned from 25+ years of experience, I learned two things: one, things have changed a lot from the time he was in seminary and entered ministry to where I’m at now. There’s some things they did we should probably adopt. Two, most leadership and management tasks are NOT unique to the church….it’s stuff that applies across all walks of life. It’s stuff I learned growing up on the farm, at the US Naval Academy, and as a Naval Officer.

I got a couple things out of all these conversations. The first, we need to be able to talk about what we do and who we are with people in all walks of life. It’s one thing I think people in wrestling and in the church don’t do a great job of: getting the word out, sharing what’s great about what we do and believe in, and doing it in a way that’s confident, but not arrogant. Some of my best conversations about wrestling and faith have happened in that YMCA sauna, and in other places with people who wouldn’t ever talk about either otherwise.

Second, leadership and management is learned and tested out in a world where it means something: where you have to put your ass on the line for things you believe, and you’re held accountable for what you do or don’t do. Leadership is something that really happens when you’re working out differences and conflict; learning compromise and understanding; and where you have to consider what you do or say, because people will react to them, positively or negatively. Leadership requires you to acknowledge and accept that it’s gonna cost you something; it’s not a safe or secure role, if it’s done well, I think.

So I think this is what’s gonna guide my blogging for the time being. I’m gonna talk about some leadership issues and fleshing out the sport of wrestling more communally, individually, theologically, etc. I’m gonna hold myself to the fire and well, start putting myself out there on some of these things. Because I have to admit, I’m a bit pissed off these days…in a good way. A little “righteous” anger, perhaps. And, since my wife is probably tired of hearing me talk about this stuff over and over, I’ll throw it out to all of you.

I hope you’ll continue to read….and respond. Wrestle with me a bit…hopefully we can both learn something.

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3 Comments

Filed under Leadership, Missional Thinking & The Church

3 responses to “Conversations….

  1. Lucky! Graduation down here at Trinity is also about a month away, and I’m still looking at the papers I have to finish. God go with you as you leave Luther and head out into the world.

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