Blog Post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Transitional Leader of the
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
- Change is not easy. There is an emotional level to change that I did not count on. I feel sadness leaving the old building space. So much ministry was done on Tower Grove, and so many lives have been affected. As I’ve read through files, I’ve seen the evidence of strategic planning, hand written ideas that have become policy and structure, and the giftedness of those who serve the presbytery as volunteers and staff.
- Plans must be flexible. We planned on selling the building early February, and moving at that time. Instead it sold the last day of February, and we will be moving the first week of April. Every change of plan creates a domino effect involving movers, contractors, deliveries, calendars, etc. I have come to accept that things will not turn out as planned, but eventually all of our plans will happen.
- Prayer makes a difference. Each congregation I’ve visited has offered to pray for the presbytery office. We feel these prayers as we work, plan, and move. Thank you all so much.
- Good partnerships matter. The Botanical Garden is not just a buyer, they have been a partner throughout. St. Andrews Resource For Seniors is our partner at our new space. They have been a tremendous help with IT, copier, phones, and room reservations.
- Think long-term. With each change comes frustration. To offset this feeling, my motto around the office has been, “Five years from now, who will care that minor detail didn’t go as planned.”
- A team is better than a superstar. In college basketball, Villanova is favored to win the tournament. Villanova doesn’t have the talent of Kansas, but Villanova works well as a team. Our staff functions seamlessly in thinking through tasks, handing off responsibility, and getting the job done. I am so proud of them.
- Support others during times of change. I haven’t been the best at this. I was so focused on what I had to do, I wasn’t as sensitive to Partners for Just Trade, BRO, and the History Team. Unfortunately, we don’t get do-overs, so I can only try to do better next time.
- The future will be different. We will work in a different area, around different people, with different expectations. There will be different traffic patterns and parking. We are committed to making our space and experience hospitable for the presbytery and our meetings.
- Delegate and let it go. Deciding to delegate something is easy. Allowing others to do it their way and trusting it will get done is where the sweat comes in! As leader, I have to delegate the work and authority, but keep the responsibility. The buck still stops with me.
- Ask for help. One day I was frustrated and overwhelmed with all that had to be done. I spoke with my coach who said, “Have you asked for help?” I learned that asking for help is being vulnerable not weak. It means allowing others to get involved so they too can benefit from the work.
- (Bonus) Develop a narrative. We thought our office would be ready on March 27th, but it won’t be. Instead it will be ready on the 30th, which is Good Friday. We developed a narrative that we will not move on Good Friday while Jesus is on the cross. Instead we will move after Easter and live into the resurrection! Behold, God makes all things new!
Rev. Craig M. Howard