I’ve moved

Hi friends,

Thank you so much for following my blog. If you’ve wondered where I’ve been, I’ve moved to Everyday-Pilgrim.com

Please visit, follow, and share!

Thanks,

Darrel

Advertisements

My Mentor on Perspective

My mentor, Jim, poured far more into me than he realized. It has been over 24 years since we first met and his investment in me is still bearing fruit. Over the next few days I want to share several pieces of wisdom that really helped me and I believe would be beneficial for anyone involved in ministry.

Evangelicalism in the 1990’s was embracing a business model, speaking corporate language, and tauting the pastor as CEO. From my vantage point, Jim resisted that mentality and gave me a better perspective for ministry and a more healthy way of viewing my time at a church. Even though he was a gifted administrator and leader, I don’t remember him living out of that story. Instead he used imagery pulled deep from scripture to describe our role. We were watchmen and watchwomen on the wall. 

I remember hearing several variations of this statement in my five years on staff with him. 

“This is our watch. We aren’t responsible for what happened before we got here or what happens after we leave. We are simply to serve faithfully during our watch.” 

Jim made it clear that this was not our church. Nor was it our predecessor’s or successor’s…no matter how much it felt like it at times. It was Christ’s church and He would build it. 

Jim did not use “watch” in a passive form by any means. Being on watch in this sense is a big responsibility. But understanding I was ‘on watch’ released me from the burden that many in ministry carry to their graves, the heavy lonely idea: “It’s up to me.” 

It sounds admirable at first…but I assure you it is a plot line that will lead a pastor down a paradoxical path of guilt and pride. When, “It’s up to me,” becomes our mantra we can enter into an adulterous relationship with the congregation, a twisted relationship with time, and a perverted understanding of our calling. 

People, even good people, will take everything you want to give them. They will make unreasonable requests at times. If you think “It’s up to you,” you will say yes too often and then learn the art of rationalization to make sense of it all. Being needed can be very addicting. It will reinforce and fuel your hunger for self importance. You will become a slave to the urgent. Your life will not be peaceful, strategic, or intentional. You will be hurried and shallow. You will be inconsistent… miserable at times and thrilled at others. And you will measure the wrong things. 

Pastor, staff member, full-time, part-time, volunteer, woman, man, married, single, rookie or veteran please hear this: IT IS NOT UP TO YOU. You are on watch. You are not responsible for what happened before you arrived or after you leave. You are simply to serve faithfully during your watch.

A mentor can keep you grounded and help you with perspective.
Who is that in your life?

My Mentor on Perspective

My mentor, Jim, poured far more into me than he realized. It has been over 24 years since we first met and his investment in me is still bearing fruit. Over the next few days I want to share several pieces of wisdom that really helped me and I believe would be beneficial for anyone involved in ministry.

Evangelicalism in the 1990’s was embracing a business model, speaking corporate language, and tauting the pastor as CEO. From my vantage point, Jim resisted that mentality and gave me a better perspective for ministry and a more healthy way of viewing my time at a church. Even though he was a gifted administrator and leader, I don’t remember him living out of that story. Instead he used imagery pulled deep from scripture to describe our role. We were watchmen and watchwomen on the wall. 

I remember hearing several variations of this statement in my five years on staff with him. 

“This is our watch. We aren’t responsible for what happened before we got here or what happens after we leave. We are simply to serve faithfully during our watch.” 

Jim made it clear that this was not our church. Nor was it our predecessor’s or successor’s…no matter how much it felt like it at times. It was Christ’s church and He would build it. 

Jim did not use “watch” in a passive form by any means. Being on watch in this sense is a big responsibility. But understanding I was ‘on watch’ released me from the burden that many in ministry carry to their graves, the heavy lonely idea: “It’s up to me.” 

It sounds admirable at first…but I assure you it is a plot line that will lead a pastor down a paradoxical path of guilt and pride. When, “It’s up to me,” becomes our mantra we can enter into an adulterous relationship with the congregation, a twisted relationship with time, and a perverted understanding of our calling. 

People, even good people, will take everything you want to give them. They will make unreasonable requests at times. If you think “It’s up to you,” you will say yes too often and then learn the art of rationalization to make sense of it all. Being needed can be very addicting. It will reinforce and fuel your hunger for self importance. You will become a slave to the urgent. Your life will not be peaceful, strategic, or intentional. You will be hurried and shallow. You will be inconsistent… miserable at times and thrilled at others. And you will measure the wrong things. 

Pastor, staff member, full-time, part-time, volunteer, woman, man, married, single, rookie or veteran please hear this: IT IS NOT UP TO YOU. You are on watch. You are not responsible for what happened before you arrived or after you leave. You are simply to serve faithfully during your watch.

A mentor can keep you grounded and help you with perspective.
Who is that in your life?

Last Post on darrelharvey.com

This will be my last entry on DarrelHarvey.com however it will still be live. You will continue to be able to access and search it and I will link back to it at times.

Why?
I’m shifting my focus to Everyday-Pilgrim.com which is one of the tools I will use to build my spiritual direction, retreat facilitation, and mentoring practice.

What are you up to?
While I have been blessed with a great job in Bentonville that provides a generous income and great benefits I still want to walk intentionally with people on their spiritual journey.

What does that look like?
There are more details at Everyday-Pilgrim.com but in general it involves 3 things:
1. Offering spiritual direction to people in person or via Skype.
2. Promoting and scheduling speaking engagements such as camps, retreats, and leadership events
3. Mentoring people in ministry whether individually or in small cohorts, grouped together by season of ministry or stage of life.

Will you still be writing?
Yes, I will continue to write and pledge to be more consistent. Topics will be a variety of observations, questions, and insights concerning Christian spirituality, leadership, followership, family, and relationships. I hope to carry on the trajectory of mindful steps of spiritual discovery and divine surprise established at DarrelHarvey.com. My goal is to post three times a week and include guest posts by other pilgrims, the first being my son Tyler.

How can I help? (I’m really glad you asked)
Subscribe/Like/Follow/Share – Please go to Everyday-Pilgrim.com and you will see floating social media icons on the right side of the page.
Like my facebook page
Follow me on twitter and pinterest, and connect with me on google+.
Share – If you read something that you find helpful, please share it by posting a link on your social media outlets. And if you know someone who you think might benefit from my ministry refer them.

Thank you for the encouragement you have given over the years. I am very excited abou this next season of life and ministry.

Mentoring 101

men·tor
noun \ˈmen-ˌtȯr, -tər\
: someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person

The word ‘mentor’ comes from comes from Homer’s Odyssey. Odysseus, king of Ithaca, fights in the Trojan War and entrusts the care of his household to Mentor, who serves as teacher and overseer of Odysseus’ son, Telemachus. The word Mentor evolved to mean trusted advisor, friend, teacher and wise person. History offers many examples of helpful mentoring relationships: Socrates and Plato, Hayden and Beethoven, Freud and Jung. There are also many examples of mentoring in the Christian faith; Jethro and Moses, Moses and Joshua, Barnabus and Saul, Paul and Timothy. 

Mentoring is a proven tool of human development. It is a life on life investment of time, energy and personal know-how in assisting the growth and ability of another person.

1. Where in your life (marriage, parenting, professional, physical, etc) could you use some wisdom and guidance?
2. Who do you know and trust that has navigated those waters with integrity and courage? (chances are you’ll think of several so…)
3. Begin to pray that God would give clear direction through your conversations with the candidates and their sense of confirmation. 

Here is a link to a good resource from the University of Wisconsin – Madison on what the next steps are for both mentor and mentoree.

https://mentoringresources.ictr.wisc.edu/MentoringResources

Praying the Heart

This poem was shared with me in a newsletter I get and I wanted to pass it along to you.

Praying the heart

You can only pray what’s in your heart.

So if your heart is being ripped from your chest
pray the tearing

if your heart is full of bitterness
pray it to the last dreg

if your heart is a river gone wild
pray the torrent

or a lava flow scorching the mountain
pray the fire

pray the scream in your heart
the fanning bellows

pray the rage,
the murder and
the mourning

pray your heart into the great quiet hands that can hold it
like the small bird it is.

—Elizabeth Cunningham, from her book of poems Small Bird

People, Pain, and Deconstruction

Friday night we watched, Bridge to Terabithia. It’s about the awkward friendship of two fifth graders, Leslie – a girl, and Jess – a boy.

Leslie’s joy is the first thing to infect her neighbor and soon to be best friend. She was from an artistic family who told stories, wrote books, and slopped bright paint on their living room walls as they danced. Jess is the only son of a working class couple scraping together whatever they can to make ends meet for their five children. His family are faithful church attendees. They have the stern faces and serious demeanor to prove it. Leslie, on the other hand, had never been to church before and seemed to be captivated by the entire experience of it. 

Out of all the high’s and low’s of their story, this in my opinion, is the most compelling scene.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=swcEExbjVMQ

“You have to believe it and you hate it. I don’t have to believe it and I love it.” 

How does that sit with you?

Who do you most identify with in this scene?
– May Belle – certain of a harsh God who’s purpose is to damn people to hell
– Jess – confused as he reconsiders what he’s always accepted as truth
– Leslie – free to embrace the beauty of Jesus without the baggage of dogma

Why do you think that is?  

Whenever I watch this scene I long for the freedom Leslie exudes. I love the simple way she embraces the beauty of Jesus without all the baggage of dogma. 

But I see myself in both of the other characters too. As a young adult I was so certain about things…I felt I had to be. I was so sure about certain doctrines that Jesus and grace got lost in it all. Then about ten years ago I started going through a time of deconstruction myself. I don’t think I was necessarily wrong about all the things I thought, believed, and taught. I just look back and see somethings that were out of focus and other areas that were incomplete. 

God seems to use two primary tools to help us grow. 
1. People – ‘Leslie characters’ in our own lives. If we’re paying attention God seems to bring them into our lives to give us a clearer picture of Him. Some of them stay in our lives for a long time and others only for a season. 
2. Pain – My friend Larry calls, ‘disorienting dilemmas.’ These are experiences and events that rock us to our foundation. They can help us challenge things we’ve always accepted and distill what we believe.   

Who in your life is calling you to live more fully?

Are you in a place where it feels like your belief system is getting in the way of knowing God more completely?

Do you tend to embrace disorienting dilemmas or bury them?

Do you have someone to share that with?

Does it feel like you’ve laid claim to your own beliefs, or more like you’re living a second hand faith of your parents or pastors?

Reconnecting your Head to your Heart

Last week I threw out some suggestions of why we rarely experience long term change even though we really mean it when we declare our resolve to start something, stop something, do more, do less, and change. 
1. Sometimes our goals aren’t big enough.
2. We often don’t have a plan.
3. No one has been invited to walk with us on our journey.
4. We resist admitting that the power to change is beyond us. 

This week I want to zero in on the area of spiritual transformation. 

One of the things I miss about pastoring is being able to stand in front of a group of people and assure them that no matter where they are or what they are experiencing God is near, concerned, and accessible. To be part of God’s awakening process is both thrilling and humbling. I know…Sunday sermons aren’t the only vehicles that God uses…in fact I’m sure he’s had to intercept what came out of my mouth way more than once. But I have vivid memories of people encountering hope. Often times their eyes water, their cheeks redden, their posture changes, and they nod unknowingly.  

The message informs, excites, and moves us toward the mission (the identity and calling) God has for us. Naturally we get excited. We might even get a new Bible or buy a new journal. And for a few weeks we do great. Sermons and podcasts keep us going. Our small group or Sunday school class keep us on track. And for a few more weeks we do alright. We’re doing things…good things…things we’re supposed to do…but if we’re really honest it feels like we’ve just exchanged one type of busyness for another. 

And in our quiet honest moments we hear ourselves wonder, “Where is the life? Where is the joy? Where is the change?”

Do you ever feel like that? I do sometimes.

The answer is not: Leave your church, drop out of small group and put your Bible on the shelf.  

The answer may be: Try something different. Take a few minutes and jot down answers the questions below. It is a brief experience in spiritual direction. 

– Describe your communication with God. How and when are you speaking to him? How are you hearing from him?
– Describe the last time you felt close with God. Be sure to note when that was, where you were, and who, if anyone, was with you.
– If Jesus was sitting in the chair next to you, what would you tell him?

The Enlightenment period emphasized science and reason. Humanity began to seek answers by pulling things apart, observation, and examination. The scientific method was born and applied to all areas of life – including faith. So the spiritual life that once lived in the healthy tension between heart and head shifted mostly into our head. 

20140127-051619.jpg

In our desire for transformation, our head has been trained to take over and we default to persuing more information and mastering certain skills as the answer. “If I only knew more about the bible…or better understood what Christianity is about…or could explain it better…that would help me grow and be the evidence that I’m changing.” Not true. 

Author Dallas Willard said, “Spiritual people are not those who engage in certain spiritual practices; they are those who draw their life from a conversational relationship with God.” (Hearing God) 

Our process for spiritual growth must bring our thinking and feeling back into a proper tension. Spiritual direction helps reconnect your head to your heart and reframes your thinking. Our perspective ceases to be, “I need to learn more,” and becomes, “I need to pay attention more.”

Real Transformation Requires A Big Step

We need to come to the point to honestly say, “I am powerless over this habit, compulsion, practice and I need help.”

That’s a tough thing to admit. We’ve been brought up to be independant. In our culture it is one of the marks of adulthood. So to confess we can’t handle something equates to failure. For many asking for help is an admission of being less than they should be and therefore we muddle along in denial, disfunction, and defeat. 

And it’s not just other people we have a hard time asking for help. The sea of American Individualism that we swim in seeps into our understanding and relationship with God. We even resist asking Him for help.  

Do we actually think He’s too busy?
Do we believe He is uncaring?

No, I think many of us…myself included have this idea that whether it’s a physical, emotional, relational or even spiritual challenge, we should be able to handle it ourselves.

Let me assure you:
– God does not grow weary of hearing for us ask for help. 
– He never takes a posture of crossed to say, “You should be beyond this by now.”
– God never says, “I give up on you.” 
– He doesn’t tap his foot in impatience when he thinks of you. 

God wants to be included…no, He wants to be the source and sustaining power in your transformation. 

So let me also assure you:
– God loves to hear our pleas for help.
– He always takes a posture of open arms to say, “Welcome child.”
– God is always cheer, “You can do this.”
– He dances in celebration as you walk with him.

This is good news…you can do it! But the irony is you can because you’ve finally realized you can’t.

I mentioned AA in my last post. It would be good to read their 12 steps no matter what your situation.

http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/smf-121_en.pdf

Why our resolutions fall flat Part 2

My resolutions rise and fall on my resolve

It’s easy for me to get excited about a good idea. I can start initiatives, hobbies, and new ventures with the best of them. But my enthusiasm can only carry me so far. You can read a plethera of articles explaining both the science and speculation of why our resolutions crash and burn but today my blue collar logic says it has everything to do with support or the lack thereof. 

I’m talking abut two types of support in particular:
– We don’t have a stragey to support our desire to change. 
– We don’t have a person or a people that supports us emotionally.     

These are synergistic. Both are equally important and yet the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is something Weight Watchers, CrossFit, and AA understands. There is structure and community. There is a plan to follow and a people to journey with. Multiple levels of change happen. 

But in the church, the place were we should experience a divinely inspired plan and the deepest of community, there often isn’t. That isn’t a slam on the church, only what I’ve come to observe after 50+ years of experience with it. Whether it’s because we’re unknown in our congregation, we’re afraid of being judged or rejected, or there isn’t a climate of openness, we shrink back from the risk of being authentic. And thus starts the cycle of, “I really mean it this time. I’ll try harder. I’ll do better.” You know where that leads because the truth still is: My enthusiasm can only carry me so far.  

Without the structural support of a plan and the emotional support of fellow participants we will not reach the place we dream of. 

“But my people live hundreds of miles apart.”

I hear you. Relationships are difficult in our mobile society. My children and I live in three different parts of the country in different time zones and have extremely different schedules. I get that you may be physically far away from the handful of people you love and trust. 

The good news is that the technology of our day is miraculous and can be harnessed for a greater purpose than posting pictures of what we had for dinner. So I invite you to consider how to go beyond enthusiasm and trying harder. Let the possibilities stew, simmer, marinate, or insert your other favorite cooking metaphor.