Moving Forward II

I got the job. I’m going to be the Hiring & Training Manager at the flagship store for one of our brands. I’m beyond excited. I see this as a definite step forward and not sideways, which is what I wanted and what is long overdue (or maybe right on time). When I was in the interview process, and as I listened to the various managers describe the position, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to ministry. One of the things about this location is that it has over 200 employees and some of them have been there the entire 10 years the store has been open, so I was sure to ask how change is received. I was told that there can be some resistance from the people who’ve been there since the beginning because they’ve “never done it that way before”. Sound familiar? I was told how I needed to listen to and lead gently the long-timers and encourage the newcomers to get on board and take ownership and develop them as leaders. As a leader, I need to be out and about with the team, focus on supporting leadership through training, be comfortable telling people at all levels that they needed additional training, inspire, coach, and facilitate growth. Basically, I’m buying into a brand, and then developing people to live that brand, which is the same thing we do with our spirituality.

Today, my friend Linda posted this quote on Facebook:

“Kingdom people seek first the Kingdom of God and its justice; church people often put church work above concerns of justice, mercy and truth. Church people think about how to get people into the church; Kingdom people think about how to get the church into the world. Church people worry that the world might change the church; Kingdom people work to see the church change the world”  Howard Snyder Liberating the Church

I think a lot of people who are in ministry professionally are Church people and the brand they’re trying to get people to live is the Church, particularly their denomination or their local gathering. They are amabassadors for their programs, some of which are, I’m sure, fine programs, but Jesus didn’t call us to Go and make ecclesiastical structures. We are to be in the business of developing ourselves and others into people whose chief concern is making a positive impact in the world by behaving in ways that are in line with God’s character as lived out in the person of Jesus. The maintaining of an institution should never take the place of doing what’s right, even if the entire institution itself must be sacrificed. The founder of my company said, “Change or fail.” It’s true for a company that sells pants and it’s true of religious organizations.

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