Annual break and Weekly Challenge – Leading out of COVID

Dear colleagues,

As Space for Grace takes its own annual break over the next couple of months, why not take some time to reflect on how God has spoken to you during this time of pandemic? How did the pandemic affected your relationship with God?

Over the coming months we wanted to showcase your own thoughts and experiences to the topic ‘Leading out of COVID’ (though we know many of us are still in the midst of it). Please do send your own responses to that question (however you interpret it). We’ll help you turn them into Weekly Thoughts that can be shared with this wider community…

Do send your responses to: Elaine Vitikainen elaine@ev-visuals.com

As ways to provoke your thinking you might consider questions like:

  • What have I learned about my leadership through this pandemic?
  • What do I hope to take with me and hold onto from this experience?
  • What does my leadership need to be like ‘post’-pandemic?
  • How would I reimagine my organisation to become fit for purpose in our radically changing world?

These are only questions to stimulate your thoughts, so don’t use them too prescriptively. They are not ones to structure your response around, unless you find that particularly helpful.

The next Weekly Thought will be posted on the 12th of September.

Cheers

Rick and Elaine

Interruptions as a breath of life

By Henrik Sonne Peterson

COVID-19 has been a massive ‘interruption’. It has forced me to try and change my attitude to interruptions. Interruptions take time from my administrative tasks. More fundamentally they undermine my attempts to generate order. So naturally I try to ‘refuse’ them. But more recently I have been trying to allow interruptions a place, giving them “space and grace”. Not in order to control them, but trying to listen to what they bring to me, looking out for how they might influence what I was about to do or write. Sometimes they inspire me to include things I had not thought about. Although this is still not easy to do, it does make sense. 

I find it a way of identifying ‘anchor points’ where I allow my faith to surface during the day. In this way, interruptions paradoxically become a breath of life, a surprising experience of God’s transformative presence (although at the time this may feel more like disruption than transformation!). Interruptions enable my generosity to grow. They change my attitude to my work and my life. They turn my leadership into servantship.

(Repost) Weekly Challenge – Leading out of COVID

Dear colleagues,

Instead of a weekly thought this week, we would like to set you a challenge. Over the next few weeks we wanted to showcase your own thoughts and experiences to the topic ‘Leading out of COVID’ (though we know many of us are still in the midst of it). Please do send your own responses to that question (however you interpret it). We’ll help you turn them into Weekly Thoughts that can be shared with this wider community…

Do send your responses to: Elaine Vitikainen elaine@ev-visuals.com

As ways to provoke your thinking you might consider questions like:

  • What have I learned about my leadership through this pandemic?
  • What do I hope to take with me and hold onto from this experience?
  • What does my leadership need to be like ‘post’-pandemic?
  • How would I reimagine my organisation to become fit for purpose in our radically changing world?

These are only questions to stimulate your thoughts, so don’t use them too prescriptively. They are not ones to structure your response around, unless you find that particularly helpful.

Cheers

Rick and Elaine

Weekly Challenge – Leading out of COVID

Dear colleagues,

Instead of a weekly thought this week, we would like to set you a challenge. Over the next few weeks we wanted to showcase your own thoughts and experiences to the topic ‘Leading out of COVID’ (though we know many of us are still in the midst of it). Please do send your own responses to that question (however you interpret it). We’ll help you turn them into Weekly Thoughts that can be shared with this wider community…

Do send your responses to: Elaine Vitikainen elaine@ev-visuals.com

As ways to provoke your thinking you might consider questions like:

  • What have I learned about my leadership through this pandemic?
  • What do I hope to take with me and hold onto from this experience?
  • What does my leadership need to be like ‘post’-pandemic?
  • How would I reimagine my organisation to become fit for purpose in our radically changing world?

These are only questions to stimulate your thoughts, so don’t use them too prescriptively. They are not ones to structure your response around, unless you find that particularly helpful.

Cheers

Rick and Elaine

Change starts from within… yourself

By Pieter Messelink

Change is all about planning and action – or so we think. I’m learning that it is much deeper than that. For me it is about repentance – but not the superficial repentance of my youth where I simply confessed, but left sins and patterns unchanged. I am beginning to understand that repentance is a process involving observing, reflecting, discussing, planning, being accountable and acting.

I am now holding on, to ask myself “what is actually going on here?” As I ponder that I also ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me. From there, talking with other people – and what God says through them – is helping me to discover the roots of my challenges. It enables me to make a small plan, be accountable about it to someone and to act upon it. The effects: more peace and rest – fruits of the Spirit. And I’m more effective too, as it is not my own striving, but more about doing what God has already planned for me.

So much of our capacity development is superficial. We focus on organisational action plans, but in doing so we booby-trap good intentions with human failure. We also need the personal development element that only comes from regular repentance.

This week:

  • Where do you see the need for change in your organization or yourself?
  • Where does reflective repentance fit in this process? 

Become tech savvy

By Rick James

With virtual teams, you need technology to connect. So to lead well today you have to become very comfortable with technology. If you are too old for technology, then you may be too old to lead in a digital age. You don’t have to become a geek, but at least work closely with one! Consciously push yourself to learn more.

You will need to learn what technology works best and use it appropriately. Some great collaborative software exists, whether Miro, Mural, or Google Jamboards. But keep your virtual meetings short and sweet. There’s plenty of research that says that after 50-minutes our brains need a break for a few minutes (and not to catch up on emails!). Otherwise people’s productivity will fall and boredom will rise. 

It is also about using the right technology to set the tone. We have an excess of technology at our disposal. Different methods like email, phone, Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, or Slack work better for different purposes. As Ecclesiastes would say, there’s a time and a place for each mode of communication, so chose carefully how you communicate.

This week, what new technology could you learn to enhance your leadership?

A future not our own

Last week was the anniversary of the murder of Archbishop Romero, shot in the Cathedral in San Salvador in 1980, while in the midst of preaching against violence and repression. I often return to this amazing poem written for his funeral. It is a good reminder at Easter of who we are and what our contribution is.

A FUTURE NOT OUR OWN

A prayer at the funeral of Archbishop Oscar Romero

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision. 

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us. 

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No programme accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything. 

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities. 

We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest. 

We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.