My time at First Methodist has come to an end. I packed up my office this week during off hours. I brought two highly skilled individuals to help the moving process.
The most difficult part of that process was finding a place to store 500 books. Fortunately, a good friend had a vacant room in their home and let me stack boxes of obscure monographs there. I learned a tremendous amount at First Methodist – much about leadership, people and their spiritual desires, and (above all) about myself. I was afforded opportunities there that I otherwise would never have been given. I had moments of success, failure, and everything in between…all in three and a half years.
Over the last two years, I encountered some specific struggles in ministry I had not experienced up until that point. Some I handled well. Others not so much. I learned a lot about myself in that process. I also learned a very important lesson: some situations have nothing to do with me whether I’m personally affected by them or not. I found my ability to correct those situations is limited. I’m sure I’ll reflect on my time there over the next several years. I am extremely thankful for that time. I’ll take the lessons I learned there into future ministry. I imagine some day I’ll be having coffee with a church staff member or another pastor and I’ll hear myself say the words, “When I was at First Methodist…”
Over the last three years, I began to collect sayings and tape them to my computer monitor…tacky, but necessary. Some days I followed them to the letter. Other days I failed to follow them at all. I thought I’d share them with you. You might find it interesting that there is not a single Bible verse listed. Nor is there a well-known theologian quoted. Maybe they will mean something to you, too. If so, why not tape them to your computer monitor?
Hereafter, if you should observe on occasion to give your officers and friends a little more praise than is their Due, and confess more fault than you can justly be charged with, you will only become the better for it. Criticising and censuring almost every one you have to do with, will diminish friends, encrease Enemies, and thereby hurt your affairs. - Benjamin Franklin to John Paul Jones, July 5, 1780
The greatest need of my congregation is my own personal holiness. – Robert Murray M’Cheyne
Most unsolicited feedback is for the sender. – Harvard Business Review Article
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. – Plato of Athens (apocryphal)
In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. – Playwright Carolyn Myers