Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Turning the good ship Evergreen Leaders

The major emotional, intellectual, spiritual challenge I've been working on is expanding Evergreen Leaders into board training and consultation. At our Labor Day weekend board meeting the board strongly encouraged me to head in this direction.

First, it's an emotional challenge because our vision from the beginning has been to give ordinary people leadership tools to help their groups thrive. We want to work with groups who would not otherwise have access to leadership teaching. So it feels like a loss to me to invest in boards, pastors, and CEOs, as if we will be ignoring the people ate the extremities of the organization, the people we wanted to work with in the first place. I'm sad at the thought of turning away from ordinary people who make it possible for any group to thrive.

Second, it's an intellectual task because to keep integrity we need to figure out how to add board teaching and pastor/CEO consulting within the framework of our mission which is to give ordinary people the tools to help their groups thrive. All along I've had a nagging concern that to be really beneficial to nonprofits and churches, that we need to engage the pastors and CEOs. I pretty much overlooked the boards, a mistake, I think. I am reading a lot about church and nonprofit board development as a way of filling my brain with what others are thinking about the roles of boards. I am enjoying the reading and trusting we will be able to fit the pieces together into a uniquely EGL approach to boards just as we've done with our series of workshops.

Third, it's a spiritual challenge because EGL is God's business and I am God's man. Even though I am very passionate about Evergreen Leaders, it's not mine. Each day I focus on trusting that Jesus will shape my day and my work that day including my work with Evergreen Leaders. In turning the good ship Evergreen Leaders to also focus on leaders and boards, I am obeying the true founder of EGL, the big Dude I work for.

Evergreen Leaders is all about helping groups change so that they can thrive. Now we are getting to practice what we preach, or maybe, we are practicing on ourselves so that we will have something to preach.

Whenever I think of helping an organization to change I think of that a small change in the direction of a ship’s tiny rudder will, over time, change the course of an ocean liner.