First Third Conversations

Leadership and Time

Ecclesiastes 3 begins … “For everything there is a season and a season for every activity under heaven.”

Recently I have been reflecting on time and its relationship with leadership. And I am convinced that a key practice of leadership is helping a community identify what time it is and then discover that it means to be “in that time.”

…a time to be born and a time to die. Sometimes it’s clear with something is being born or dying. Marriages are born and die. People are born and die.  Relationships are created and end. But seeing new life is not always as easy as it seems.  And neither is dying. If we are honest, giving birth often comes with great pain, pain that could be mistaken for death more than life. So, what does new life look like within congregational ministries?  What does new life look like in worship? In Sunday School? In middle school ministry? How do we know something is dying?

…a time to plant and a time to uproot. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build. A time to weep and a time to laugh.

…a time to mourn and a time to dance.  There has been quite a bit of grief in my life in the past months. And I’m reminded how mourning is both passive and active; something I intentionally engage and something that takes overtakes my emotions when I least expect it. Yet mourning is part of the fabric of life and is good for the soul. Dancing, at least for me, is pure gift, a release. Dancing is at the heart of life’s celebrations. It’s not calculated or strategic; it is about letting go and being guided by the spirit. And I know, I don’t dance as often as I could. Both are personal and communal; both are necessary for life. And at times, dancing evokes mourning and mourning evolves into dancing. What does your community need to mourn? What does your ministry need to celebrate? What are ways you can engage each?

…a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them. A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to search and a time to give up. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend.

…a time to be silent and a time to speak. Most of us are bent toward speaking or toward being silent.  Yet both are needed. No matter how we are wired we have to exercise both. As leaders, we have the opportunity to foster disciplines which engage both. How are you listening to the people in your congregation? Within your community? And similarly, what are you called to speak about? Who needs to hear your voice?

…a time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. What time is it in your ministry setting? What does that mean for your leadership?

 “For everything there is a season, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Live into and out of the season in which your community finds itself.  

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