Another great week in Knoxville

I’m in Seattle almost home after another great week in Knoxville with Crossings http://crossings.forgeknoxville.com/. It is an honor to work with the staff and leadership team. It is also plus to spend time with Crossings Senior Pastor and my great friend Mark Nelson and his family.

Here are Mark’s words related to working with me:

I have been in professional ministry for over 25 years in various forms (youth ministry, campus ministry, church planting). In all that time I have never had anyone ever come close to the influence and impact Jim has had on me both professionally and personally in the 14 plus years since I met him. His knowledge and understanding of leadership development, of culture (both the faith culture and secular culture), churches and para-church organizations and the mentoring and coaching he has provided to me in those areas has proved to be invaluable.

I have been in professional ministry for over 25 years in various forms (youth ministry, campus ministry, church planting). In all that time I have never had anyone ever come close to the influence and impact Jim has had on me both professionally and personally in the 12 plus years since I met him. His knowledge and understanding of leadership development, of culture (both the faith culture and secular culture), churches and para-church organizations and the mentoring and coaching he has provided to me in those areas has proved to be invaluable.

     Mark Nelson, Senior Pastor, Crossings Church, Knoxville TN

– See more at: http://jimschmotzer.com/testimonials#sthash.KPwtfQzQ.dpuf

I have been in professional ministry for over 25 years in various forms (youth ministry, campus ministry, church planting). In all that time I have never had anyone ever come close to the influence and impact Jim has had on me both professionally and personally in the 12 plus years since I met him. His knowledge and understanding of leadership development, of culture (both the faith culture and secular culture), churches and para-church organizations and the mentoring and coaching he has provided to me in those areas has proved to be invaluable.

     Mark Nelson, Senior Pastor, Crossings Church, Knoxville TN

– See more at: http://jimschmotzer.com/testimonials#sthash.KPwtfQzQ.dpuf

Clearing finished…

Another Clearing (staff retreat) with the Crossings team in the books. Always a great time with great people. We have developed a relationship that is unique, more than professional, more than friends, tough to frame it in words. We become all the best of family, team and community in sharing our lives together for the benefit of us all. It is a gift to have this be a part of my work better yet a part of my life.

the Clearing at the Clearing with Crossings

Let’s see if I can clarify all of that.

Sunday through Tuesday I’ll be with the staff of Crossings Knoxville  http://crossings.forgeknoxville.com/ for their annual January retreat, called the Clearing, at the Clearing http://www.clearingonthelake.com/, a beautiful retreat setting on Norris Lake, Maynardville, Tennessee. This will be my third annual opportunity to join the team in a time of reflection, team building and looking ahead.  As staff teams are strengthened entire organizations benefit.

Here are comments from Kim Day related to a past Clearing: So grateful to have had Jim on our staff retreat this week. Jim helped us through a lot of big decisions that without his outside set of eyes, would have been much more difficult. Jim shared lots of good laughs and stories with us, while challenging us to really evaluate everything we do. I can’t wait to have Jim back with us again!

Please contact me to explore staff retreat opportunities for your team.

Find…the speed at which you can run toward your own goal.

My goal is to help people…

“Find your own stress level — the speed at which you can run toward your own goal. Make sure that both the stress level and the goal are really your own, and not imposed upon you by society, for only you yourself can know what you want and how fast you can accomplish it. There is no point in forcing a turtle to run like a racehorse or in preventing a racehorse from running faster than a turtle because of some ‘moral obligation.’ The same is true of people.” Hans Selye

Let me know if you’d like to meet and make progress toward better things ahead.

Perspectives on “quitting”

Schmotzer’s never…

 “Don’t worry Dad, I’m a Schmotzer and Schmotzer’s never quit.”

So said my four-year-old granddaughter to her dad, my son, when recently being instructed to “really” clean her room.

My first response to hearing the story was I wish my Dad could have heard it. He would have loved that his great-grandchild wasn’t a “quitter.” Dad was no nonsense. Never give up was S.O.P. I could almost hear him, “Yep, she’s a Schmotzer.”

Personally I was proud she had learned endurance from her parents and I considered that a fine legacy. Tenacity is one of my high values and I hope my family shares it. I love the idea that at a young age she has a beginning awareness of the importance of seeing things through to the finish.

I eventually got off the cloud of thinking my granddaughter had it all figured out and was ready to meet any goal and overcome every challenge that life will bring. Reality check: she’s four and probably parroting something her parents said. It’s something positive, but something that will take years to learn, and more to live out.

Then I thought about the danger of the simplistic motto, “Never quit.” Remember the whisper, “There is a time for everything…”

For the rest of this piece follow this link to catapult magazine: https://www.catapultmagazine.com/quitting/article/schmotzer-s-never

File this one under, “Strange but true.”

     Today I was introduced to the congregation of Birchwood Presbyterian Church as “Managing Pastor.” The details: This is planned to be a six-month opportunity. I will be serving as Head of Staff and Moderator of Session. Simply put I will be overseeing the day-to-day life and ministry of the congregation. Pastor Bruce Becker is entering a process of transition related to health concerns and I will be helping the congregation through the time of change.

     So much for details. The deeper story is that Birchwood (http://bpchurch.org/) is the church that Connie and I joined soon after moving to Bellingham in 1979. Birchwood was our extended family for near twenty years. Our kids considered Birchwood a second home and people cared for us in exceptional ways. Friendships were formed, many of which have now lasted well over thirty years. In 1985 I joined the staff and served until 1997. The “end” was a time of conflicting emotions. I knew it was time for transition but struggled with the finality of “leaving.”

     Last week, while the details were being finalized, I thought of the Genesis story of Sarah laughing when informed she would have a child after untold years of waiting and disappointment. Something that was beyond possible was becoming reality. I think that if at any time, in the years since I left Birchwood, you told me I would be returning, I would have laughed. Well, It’s January 2014 and tomorrow morning I’ll be checking in to the office at Birchwood Church.

     I’m not sure who’s getting a better laugh out of this, God or me.

 

Deep truth revealed and…it’s no big surprise

December 3-5 I’ll be in Vancouver Washington for the annual Christian Leadership Conference sponsored by the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust and the Stewardship Foundation http://christianleadershipinitiative.org/programs/christian-leadership-advance/. Each year there are presentations and conversations related to critical issues for leaders in the broad Christian community. But let’s be honest, I go because it is a great opportunity to see long-time ministry peers and make new connections. Some of my best life friendships are rooted in meetings that happened at conferences. I’ll go to the meetings (at least most of them). But, what I am really looking forward to are the face to face times that will be worked into the schedule.

Finished, but not complete

It would be a stretch to say the UKirk Fundraising Support Team finished it’s work this morning. We reached a place of handing off much of what has been in process for the past year. Next will be a time of implementation as our work is shared with collegiate ministers around the country. We (Mark Elsdon, Susan Rose, Diana Malcom, Stead Halstead and I) look forward to supporting ministers and ministries in the coming days. Fundraising can be overwhelming. Our hope is that our work makes it less threatening by offering practical help and support.

1400511_10152100892104236_1661935363_oMark, Susan, Jim & Diana (Stead was unable to attend)

 

Back in the Windy City

I’m in Chicago to continue work with the Presbyterian Church USA Collegiate Ministries (Ukirk) Fundraising Resource Team. Our goal is to formalize and launch a system of training and support for Collegiate ministers and ministries. The realities of fundraising are changing drastically and rapidly. Campus ministries need new systems to address these new challenges and the goal of the team is to help meet these needs. I’ll update you on progress along the way.

Life’s Little Surprises

A few weeks ago the local Presbytery Exec asked if I would consider helping as a Coach with congregations in transition. I agreed to consider the possibility and attend an initial training. Within a few days I went from being open to the possibility to being matched with a church. 

The surprise is the church I am now matched with is Birchwood Presbyterian http://bpchurch.org/ In 1997 I finished twelve years as a staff member at Birchwood. It was the place where Connie and grew through our young adult years, settled into Bellingham, became parents, raised our sons, experienced community and, hopefully, matured as ministry leaders.

I’m thinking both Birchwood Church and I have changed greatly in the past sixteen years. I’m looking forward to this time of reconnecting and trust I’ll be able to help them in their transformation process toward a hopeful new future.