Drive '10 Conference Day 3 - Thoughts
When I left to attend the conference on Monday I left all of my toiletries and medications (I say medications like an old man) on the bathroom counter. So I was feeling pretty rotten by the time I got home.
But I've had some time to think about the last day of the conference and so I thought I would share them--in no real order:
I attended two workshops before the last Main Session: A workshop for Senior Pastors and a workshop on Connecting Adults to Small Groups. The Senior pastor workshop was basically a Q&A Session with Northpoint's lead pastor Andy Stanley, his wife and his executive assistant. For the record, my wife is a lot hotter than his. And my wife also said I was a lot cuter than Andy. So at least I have that. I was envious of his assistant, though. He's living the life I want to live in that regard. Andy's assistant handles so much for him. She is the filter through which everyone has to travel in order to get to Andy. This leaves him free to do the things that he really needs to be doing: keeping the vision, leading, preaching, cheerleading.
I feel like I am on the right track when it comes to focus and on creating boundaries. I've identified my own "Five Things" that I basically got from Pastor Stan Ott, who wrote a book on pastoring a large church. Stanley does these things very well. It's amazing to see the way he has been able to gather the right people around him, implement the proper systems and keep the vision of the church alive in the hearts of his staff, elders and the people in the congregation. While I don't agree with many of the things he espouses theologically, I have a lot to learn from the way he leads, his personal boundaries and the way he casts vision and communicates.
The second workshop was a primer on how Northpoint does their small group ministry. It was incredible system and one that is working very well for them. 90 per cent of the people that travel through their introductory program find a small group. I get the sense that the major discipleship at Northpoint takes place at this level. The key is having sold-out, on program and talented volunteer leaders and small group facilitators. I am currently exploring the possibility of partnering with a smaller church in order to help them out and so that we can have a little more critical mass when it comes to this. I know that the system that Northipoint uses would be difficult to translate into a smaller setting without some changes.
The Main Session was probably the best session that I attended, to be honest. Andy Stanley taught on conflict and tension in an organization and how not all conflict needed to be resolved and not all tension needed to be resolved. The church tends to be a place where everyone wants all conflict to go away and whenever there is tension to relieve it immediately. Stanley says that as painful as it is sometimes conflict and tension are necessary elements for progress. If there is no tension and no conflict in an organization then it tends to be stagnant, he asserts. Stanley is a proponent of "managing" tension and conflict. In fact, he says that when our goal is just eliminate conflict and tension we simply create other conflicts and tensions as a result. As a leader, Stanley says that you need to do the following in order to manage the tension to the benefit of the organization: 1) Identify the tensions that need to be managed, 2) Create terminology that everyone can own and use to describe tension management 3) Inform your core group of the process 4) Continually give value to both sides of the tension 5) Don't weigh in too heavily based on your personal biases 6) Don't allow the strong personalities to win the day. 7) Don't think in terms of balance, think in terms of the rhythm of your organization.
I'll reprint what Andy wrote in the study guide: As a leader one of the most valuable things you can do for your organization is to differentiate between tensions your organization will always need to manage vs. problems that need to be solved.
It was a great conference. I am bringing my whole ministry staff next year.