leaders and managers.

30 Jan

I am at the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association CENTER Institute for Excellenece in Ministry in St. Petersburg, FL, with several hundred of my UU ministerial colleagues. Each day starts with worship, then workshops, then we end with worship as well. And the worship is always amazing.

Tuesday morning’s worship connected to what I have been working on internally for the past few weeks. As you may recall, I have been working on being a human “being” and not just a human “doing” (which is my modus operandi).

One of my recent realizations along these lines is that I use the administrative details of church life to distract me from the harder, more “being”-oriented spiritual matters of church-life. I like administrative details! I love things to be organized, and I love, love, love crossing things off my to-do lists. It is really hard to cross spiritual items off my to-do list!!

So the worship dealt, in part, with the difference between leaders and managers. Leaders have vision, Cheryl Walker reminded us, and managers have plans.

*head smack*

For the past few months, I have been trying to manage my congregation rather than lead it. I have not been the vision holder, but have been stuck in the muck of the administrative details!

Now both leaders and managers are important. A vision that has no plan will never be realized, and a plan w/o a vision just maintains the status quo. However, my congregation has plenty of managers who are capable of implementing plans. They need me to be their leader – to have a vision of where we are going and why we exist as a congregation. And to enunciate and share and remind them of that vision.

Beyond that, dare I say it, they need me to be their spiritual leader. They need me to encourage them to live lives of deep meaning, to develop and/or deepen their relationships with the divine/sacred/mysterious wonder of the universe, to help them expereince their own inherent worth and dignity, to remind them that we are all connected and that this has ramifications in how we live our lives, and, not the least, to help them bless the world with their love.

That is hard stuff – and it is not easily crossed off a list. And, most importantly, if I have no spiritual life of my own becuase I am too busy doing the managing, I cannot lead with authenticity.

And so, I am working on “being” more than “doing”, on leading more than managing, on cultivating my own rich spiritual practice. Isn’t it wonderful how these things all tie together?

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