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3 Small Town Church Lessons From Big New York City

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I recently took my son on a trip to NY for his 18th birthday.

I’m a small town guy and, honestly, big cities make me nervous and give me a desire to seek the first train out. While I was there, though, I did learn a few lessons on our short visit.

1- The view is always changing

I learned this during our trip to the Empire State building. It was very cloudy the day we went. The attendant asked us right before we were to go up…” There’s Zero visibility, do you want to go up?” I thought, “Heck yeah, you already have my $27,” but we could barely see the guard rails/

As small town church leaders, we have to keep going to the top, whether we can see far or not. As leaders we have to have the discipline of going up and looking at the entire operation and spot any needs or issues.

Somedays, we won’t be able to see the whole picture, it won’t make sense and the systems, processes and people connections just won’t seem to exist. However, they do exist and they are connected but it’s not clear how they come together.

2- You can’t see if you’re always looking up

You can’t see anything while looking up. You run into things and get lost. You have to keep looking down at your Map or compass app. You can’t keep your head in the clouds.

Leaders, and I’m certainly one of those, have to guard against the “dream view.” That’s when we keep dreaming and dreaming and don’t make the hard choices of putting boots on the ground and just get the dream done

Doing is not near the fun dreaming is! That’s why so many dreams die, they are great and impactful, but there’s no clear plan or process to take the dream and get it done.

We have to dream, but we have to look down at our feet and those around us, know where we are, devise a plan to get the dream done.

You need a plan, you need a map!

3- If you don’t know, you better ask

You can get off course really quick if you make a wrong turn, and you’re not willing to ask someone who has been to your destination before.

Every turn seems to take you farther and farther away, we learned this the hard way on our NY trip… The NY subway system is really not my friend!

As one who sets the pace and pushes the plan, it takes intentionality and humility to ask for help when things don’t go well. We are to quick to pull out of a plan rather than solicit input from someone with experience.

Ask for help! Just one good piece of advice like, “You should have gotten off at the last stop!” can save you great time and anguish!

Comments

  1. Hey Artie, Regarding #2 I know we need to keep our eyes on our map, but at the same time we have be able to look beyond to keep the vision for where we are going. Do you have any thoughts on how to keep the right balance?

  2. S D Cooper says:

    Implications of your thoughts stretch far beyond the boundaries of church leadership. Thanks for sharing profound ideas.

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