Reflections from the Leadership Team

Published on Sep 8th, 2022 by wpd-office | 0

Looking Back, Looking Forward . . .

Ah, yes. Early December. We’re in that annual in-between time. Thanksgiving is behind us, a time when we’ve paused with gratitude for what we have been given, and now we are entering Advent when we look ahead to things new.

Transitional times are both challenging and an opportunity for discovery and growth. We are thankful for extraordinary commitment from our leadership team, our ministry teams, and of course our staff during the last year of work with Western Plains Brethren. Some of their effort has been very visible. Other effort equally important has been behind the scenes and less noticeable to casual observers. Thank you to all who have expended energy, thoughtful analysis, sometimes including frustrations, to both maintain our ongoing ministries as well as to explore options for what is on the horizon in the next chapter of the Western Plains story.

The year 2023 will be an extension of our transitional work. In particular, our assessment and planning process through the DnA team will move toward a more concrete mission statement and action plans. Other teams will continue work on a special response process, on developing methodologies for engaging one another in matters of difference, on developing a profile for what our staff leadership configuration in the district should be, and on a search process for calling permanent district executive minister staffing.

The roads we travel through transitions are sometimes bumpy, as has this one at times. It is with both gratitude and anticipation that we acknowledge and encourage those who have given their time and their personal gifts to the furtherance of Western Plains ministries. Repeating my remarks to District Conference in July (paraphrasing an Annual Conference speaker), I may not believe in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, but I still believe in breakthroughs. I anticipate that breakthroughs are still out there along the road ahead of us.

Just as we live in a state of expectancy in this Advent season of our liturgical calendar, we live with the expectation that coming months will yield concrete steps in planning phases for district mission, new understandings in, and strategies for, how to be reconciling and a reconciled community of faith, a corporate example of how we model another way of living, and new initiatives for witnessing Jesus in the neighborhood.

Among my favorite resources on leadership is one that speaks to the value of being on a constant search for opportunities and seizing initiative to make things happen, exercising insight that is guided by clear purpose. With Western Plains’ articulated purpose of . . .  supporting our congregations in our life together to reflect, proclaim, and practice God’s love and good news in Christ to all Creation . . . we have opportunities to take risks to generate small wins that may initially feel counter-cultural in our neighborhoods but demonstrate how we give voice to our purpose and core values. In a world that seems paralyzed by people’s need to divide into camps and find self-assurance by distancing themselves from others whose beliefs don’t align with theirs, maybe we can be an example of how “peculiar people” believe and behave. May the inspiration of this Advent season create breakthroughs in which we see our congregations as centers of hope, see challenges through the eyes of others, and go a second mile to extend a reconciling hand.

Lowell Flory
District Leadership Team Chair

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