I have almost four decades of experience managing human organizations, with all of their idiosyncrasies, bureaucratic behaviors, and intrigues. Working in higher education, I learned the nonprofit environment and working with people committed to high purpose of human achievement. I also know well how people in such environments feel passionately about their commitments, and how such passions can on occasion lead to conflict, even in a covenantal community.
I spent much of my university career staffing institutional committees and task forces with broad constituent representation. As a staff person, I had little direct power, but the responsibility to see that the group achieved its goals. These experiences taught me how to deal with difficult people, to make sure that all voices were heard, to craft compromises, and to keep groups grounded in core values. I have also served in most capacities in my congregational experience, from committee member to President. So, I appreciate dedicated volunteers committed to sustaining a vision of beloved community.
I have been enormously fortunate to work with talented church staff, first as a religious educator and youth advisor, then as a student minister and as an intern. In Columbia, it has been my pleasure to work with a gifted and committed religious educator, a music director a talented Music Director, and dedicated long-term office and maintenance staff. I maintain a deep appreciation for the work of support staff, from secretaries to sextons, without whom our church buildings might literally collapse.
My most strongly held belief about the practical art of church life is this. If congregants, staff, and ministers work with good intent and assume good intent of others, then anything is possible. I promise to always assume good intent on your part and hope that we can build that mutual trust that makes all goals achievable. One last critical element…a sense of humor.