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I am a father of two amazing boys.  I have served in ministry roles for almost 20 years before transitioning to the areas of education and sports media, though faith is still central to my life.  I maintain multiple blogs and hope to some day have more published work.  I am an avid reader and writer and a self proclaimed sports junkie. Add all of that up and you get the foundation of my business, Varnell Media Resources.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Steering Through Chaos by Scott Wilson


I have read a lot of books over the years, but few connect the reality of the stress and decision making processes of staff ministry. For the last seventeen years, I have been a part of a ministry staff. Some teams were creative and effective, others dysfunctional dictatorships. One constant in all situations was stress and the need for critical thinking and decision making. In some places I learned the value of submitting to authority, in others, the importance of thinking big and creating "wins" for other team members. I do not think that in any ministry situation, there has not been a life lesson I was able to take away.

In Scott Wilson's new book, "Steering through Chaos", he not only addresses the focus and discipline of the key leader, but also that of the rest of the team. Let's face it, the team works hands on with his/her own team regularly to instill the vision God has given the key leader. We, as team members/staff need to know that leadership understands "our chaos". Stress and dysfunction is just as rampant in those who have a calling to a specific group as in pastoral leadership. If the calling came from the same place (God), and carries the same goal (reaching the lost, equipping the believer) why would we expect less resistance and stress from our efforts.

Scott Wilson seems to have a firm grasp on the importance of decisive leadership and communication of vision. In most of the stops in ministry in my life, I could not convey the vision of the leader I was to serve. Ministries have operated in survival mode and fear of failure for far to long. We no longer dream big enough (which would be evidence of one way communication during prayer), risk enough, or challenge our people. Chaos will find you either way. Play it safe, you will just have a different set of problems...but they are still problems.

In my time in his book, Scott has given me perspective. It's not about the problems, but how I navigate them. These stories of navigation will be the leadership lessons we pass on to the next generation and will be the core of our mentoring process. (Scott has a great section on storytelling) This was made vividly clear to me in a recent ministry event, when a student re-told one of my stories. During a service one night, I told a story about my 6 year old son and his soft heart for a hurting family. I listened, as any proud mentor would, as she told the story that happened in my family. I must admit, I re-tell stories that hear from my ministry mentors! (there is also a great chapter on finding a life coach in Scott's book)

Having known some of Scott's staff, I know the quality and excellence that has been produced in that team. I hope that my team will be as creative, insightful, and dedicated as I grow in leading them. I certainly know, I must stretch myself to improve to support my pastor and the team that I serve. The effectiveness of our church and ministries depend on it.



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