Here is numbers 6-10 from Jim Cantrell’s advice at the WNCC Young Clergy Group, The Branch, Young Clergy Retreat.
6. Be at least bi-lingual and bi-cultural. If you are only comfortable with your native language and your native culture, you will find your opportunities limited in the coming years.
I guess I need to put my order in at Rosetta Stone. Those three years of French I were really a waist of my time. There is a ton of truth in this though. We as a country are turning more multi-cultural than ever before (whether you like it or not, it is happening). I guess the good news is that instead of us going to the mission field, the mission field is coming to us.
7. Identify two groups to support your ministry and life – I would suggest that one might be an accountability group and the second might be a group that will offer you constructive critical insights into your work and who have the maturity to be completely honest with you.
The way Rev. Cantrell described this was that he had a group of older ladies in one of his congregations, he nicked named them the Steel Magnolias. He would meet with that group twice a month and get a pulse of what the congregation was feeling and how his ministry was doing. As the years progressed they would help take care of fires that the congregation started and stuck up for him. He also suggests that this group is not the PPRC or SPRC. He said they have agendas and egos usually and that this group is the group that is offer advice, honest, real advice.
8. The United Methodist Church needs visionary leadership. Make certain there are people in your leadership team who are visionary in their understanding of the church and will assist you in developing a ‘big picture’ view of ministry.
The only way we will keep the institutionalized UMC, or the Titanic, from sinking is to look ahead and see icebergs. Vision casting and visionary leadership is the only way this will happen. Not only from the clergy, but visionary laity as well. He mentioned a quote from Billy Graham that said the only place a new Great Awakening could happen in the US was from the UMC. Because we are strategically placed all over and have the greatest potential for a constant, effective, and dramatic change in this country. WOW…I mean WOW.
9. The selection of leaders for your churches needs to be one of your top priorities. The people that you and your lay leadership committee select to lead your ministries are people critical to the effectiveness of your mission. You need to give it as much thought, prayer, and time as you give to any other aspect of your administration. Pick leaders who are smarter than you!
That can be scary and very hard. I guess the true test of a minister’s ability to lead a congregation is to know when someone else can do a better job and get out of their way.
10. Take “prayed-over” risks in your ministry that grow out of your visioning process. “Playing it safe” is a surefire recipe for boredom and complacency. Personally, I would rather fail at attempting great things than succeed at being safe. Milton Wright.
Safe feels good. It feels warm and comforting. Risk taking is cold and can be very lonely. Yet which has Jesus Christ called us to do? If Jesus has asked us to do it than we don’t need feel alone, he is there with us. Rev. Cantrell also said that he has made huge mistakes but the only way to learn from them is to get up and try again. As Lynne Ford said, “Failure is a comma, not a period.”
11-15 soon to come.