11.21.08

How to Run 10 Kilometers

Posted in friends at 12:31 pm

So I think I can officially say that I’m a runner. A little over a year ago I started a running program with Jason. I was pretty out of shape, and definitely could stand to lose a few pounds.

The program we started with basically takes you from the couch to running for 30 minutes non-stop. Those of you with more experience may laugh at such a short run, but to us it seemed like an eternity. We’ve had some set backs and some times when schedules just didn’t make running together possible. But soon after we started, we made the goal of running for 30 minutes.

And 30 minutes always seemed like the ultimate goal. We pushed beyond that a few times, but mostly that was it. Until Monday. Jason called and told me that instead of our normal run, we were running to Montacuto – a sort of suburb of Ancona – from his house. I knew it was a long run, and I knew it was almost completely uphill, but was willing to give it a shot. And sure enough, 57 minutes after we started, we ended up back at Jason’s house.

I was honestly pretty amazed that I did it. How could I possibly go from running 30 minutes one week, to nearly twice that amount the next? Jason said he felt like we had been putting an artificial barrier on ourselves. Once that barrier was removed, we were free to do what our bodies were able to do.

And it wasn’t just a fluke. We did it again this morning.

It makes me wonder if there are any other artificial barriers I’ve put up.

PS – Want to see our course? Click here! Oh,and so far I’ve lost 39 pounds from when I started.

11.18.08

How to Create Community

Posted in church, ministry at 8:28 am

Our church recently hosted our first ever all-church retreat. We rented a place just outside the city and moved our regular church meeting off site. We mostly just wanted to get together with everyone and talk and pray and dream together. I think this meeting was part of the baby steps we need to make to begin turning leadership and ownership over to non-Americans.

During dinner we started talking about community, and some of the ways we can help foster or create communities both among ourselves and with non-believers. Daniel really amazed me with his is simple, but I think very accurate, response:

Dove si mette le mani, già c’è comunità. There is community wherever you put your hands. The men he works with form a community. The people we eat with are a community. The things we do in our free time form community. In other words, whatever we are involved with, whatever our hands do, that is the place that God has put us and that is the place where we need to sow the seeds of the Gospel.

I really appreciate his insight. Instead of assuming people need to attend some church function to be a part, it was a reminder that the “church” goes wherever a believer goes. It was a reminder to let God work in what we are already a part of instead of trying to create an additional, and perhaps artificial, community.

Good stuff, Daniel! Any comments…?

11.12.08

How to be a leader

Posted in administration, leadership, Team at 6:46 am

My team leader is about to begin a six month home service in the US. Team Expansion strongly suggests that someone on the field be appointed “Interim Team Leader.” Though I’m not sure I’m up to the challenge, the job has fallen to me this time.

On one hand, I know that my job will be to keep “the ship” sailing, rather than make huge course corrections. So I don’t feel like I’ll be making big decisions. On the other hand, I don’t want to blow this off and pretend like nothing is going to change. So I’ve been asking friends who are smarter than me for their advice. Here’s what one guy had to say:

  1. Listen- Create opportunities where you can just listen to what’s going on with the team, personally and “professionally.”
  2. Encourage- You’re a nice guy, keep being that way. Let them know you want the best for them by encouraging your team in who God is making them and what He is doing through them, individually and on the team.
  3. Communicate- Don’t assume they know what you think they should know. Don’t hold information back from them. Unless it’s a really dire circumstance, there’s nothing you know that they shouldn’t know. Through communicating with them, you show them that they are valued enough to be trusted with information, even if they don’t have much to do with the use of the information.
  4. Don’t avoid conflict with them- I’m not encouraging meanness but conflict is good and can say, “Hey, we’re not all on the same page but we are all people who have been given minds by God and who can have a little excitement when discussing things, if only we’re willing to disagree in a Christlike way.” Check out this article for a cursory look at what I’m talking about regarding this.
  5. Love- Man, you’re a loving, cuddly guy, this should come easy for you. Really, influence is what John Maxwell says leadership is all about. I think people are more influenced by love than anything else. Not the cuddly kind (accept with wife and kids) but the gracious merciful kind that everyone needs. Keep things gracious and you’ll do great in this interim period.

I’ve got some smart friends, huh? Except I don’t think I’m cuddly.