Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Who Signs Yours?

I was in a long meeting today interviewing candidates for an organization. The local group wants the new leader to serve their needs, yet the national organization is known for excellence and efficient leadership, sometimes at the cost of local groups feeling very much left out of the loop. Sometimes the cnetral headquarters, filled with really smart people who see the macro-view and travel all over the country, if not the world, know what's best. They travel in circles filled with other wise leaders and consultants. And life on the local level seems pretty pedestrian and puny.
I've picked that up over the years in some denominational gatherings. The local church is given a perfunctory curtsy and a nod, but it's really the headquarters where things are most important and weighty. As I mentioned in several blogs ago, I was overwhelmed when the conference superintendent in California visited our local church council and spent her most of her time thanking this church for its sacrificial and significant giving of money and leaders and pastors. And there was no ask or pitch, just thanks. Wow! When has that happened in your church? When have the members at the church I now serve heard me call them up just to thank them, and not ask them to serve on a committee, task force or give money to my newest project?
So, this administrative candidate, when asked how he balances his role as advocate for the local organization with that of being a spokesperson for the national body said: "I work for you. You sign my paycheck." That said it.
When I talked with a now retired Conference Superintendent years ago about his relationship with Covenant Headquarters and a particularly strong president, he said "He never has signed my paycheck. I work for the churches of this conference."
Who signs your paycheck? Who is your constituency? Who do you carry in your heart and advocate for? On whose behalf do you fight battles? After my meeting today I drove home wondering if the little children know they sign my paycheck? Do the overworked families who struggle to make ends meet here know that I work for them? Does the group of college students who walk down the hill to church know that while they are here, I work for them?


At 8:09 PM , Blogger Diana said...

Amen. Well put. So true. Thanks.

At 6:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, for a thousand more pastors like you, Donn.

At 6:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, for a thousand more pastors like you, Donn.

At 6:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops. I guess I went "click click" instead of just "click". Just take the duplicate post as an exclamation point.

At 8:31 AM , Anonymous Kent said...

I have a little desk sign that is always in front of me and it simply says "I don't have to survive." For me it is not who signs my check, but who has called me. When there is a conflcit between those who pay me and the one who has called me, I am reminded that I do not have to survive the battle. But I have won the war.

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