Church Innovations’ Partners Post

August 21, 2009

Groundrules and Good Sense

Over the years I have learned a lot by paying attention to people I live and work with.  I’ve even put some of those learnings into writing from time to time. Here’s one from a co-researcher of mine 10 years ago who was trying to make sense out of handwritten interview notes:            “If you’re gonna write small, don’t do it with a dull pencil.”

I typed that up, printed it out, and it still hangs on the wall in my office. It reminds me of Bruce Peterson who said it and who is a pastor in another state these days, but it also reminds me of the wisdom of paying attention to the small things because they impact the big things.

Here’s another, this one from my hairdresser, Mia:                         “It’s easier to interact with people who aren’t irritating you.”

She speaks the truth. The trouble is discovering whether they are deliberately irritating you, in which case you can’t do much about it, or whether something about them is irritating you that you could turn down the volume on so that it isn’t so irritating.  She may have been talking about customers or bosses, but both determine how she makes her living, and given her gentle temperament, my guess is that she has ways of not focusing on the irritation and finding joy instead.

Our Bremer Grant Partner Congregations have done a lot of work this past year to identify, among other things, who they are and how they are called to be the church in their locations. In learning those things, they have also uncovered what brings them joy and what irritates them. They are identifying what blocks their relationships and what frees them.  They are even learning when and what to write in dull pencil and when to be bold. They are learning what irritates them and even who they irritate.

Knowing what they know (mostly they knew it beforehand, but this year sharpened the focus), it’s time for them to build a second year’s work on the emerging Good Sense.  Scott Hagley and I look forward to conversations with each one to see where the work will go this year – and I promise to share it with you in this blog.


What are you thinking and learning?

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