Dave Everson

Intentional growth

This is the first in a series of posts about my personal and professional planning process for 2014–how I’m taking my own advice and connecting ideas that matter most to the decisions I make.

Photo: harvesting applesOne of the remarkable things about this pastor job is that I often find myself in new territory that needs to be explored and settled. This is usually hard, mystifying work. But it’s also really engaging and energizing. I’m wired to enjoy it. Aspects of it, anyway.

I started that work last spring by outlining five leadership principles that would set the tone for my work in 2013. And a couple of weeks ago, I described an agricultural model of leadership that I’ve adopted since then: tending the church like a tree as it produces fruit, shelter and beauty in its worship and service.

2014, I said, will be for me a year of intentional growth. I’m carrying those five principles and my Malus mosaica tree into my personal and professional planning—building direct connections between the ideas that matter most and the actions I choose to take. Some branches I’ll encourage to grow, while others will be pruned. A couple of early changes have already emerged:

Office hours: Sermon prep and organizational work can easily overrun everything else. And although real people do benefit from that work, I want to make sure my schedule includes dedicated time with people, not just for them. One way I’m addressing that is by scheduling weekly walk-in office hours.

Less (& better) teaching: I’m inviting at least one guest speaker each month. This will create space for other gifted and wise speakers. And I intend to use the extra time to prepare more deeply for the weeks I do teach and to get out of town occasionally.

There are a number of less thoroughly baked ideas and themes in the mix, and I’ll write more about them here as they take shape. Right now, though, it’s wintertime. And that means a short rest while we prepare for the growing season.