Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mount Everest One Spoonful at a Time

The new LCMS administration has a huge job on its hands in implementing the structural changes approved at last summer's convention.  President Harrison describe it as "tackling Mount Everest one spoonful at a time."  The good news is that he and his team are not alone.  The pastors, teachers, deaconesses, and people of the synod are praying for them, and they will be consulting throughout the synod as they tackle this demanding task.

Read all about it here at Dr. Albert Collver's blog.  It's good stuff!  So good, that I just decided to reproduce the whole thing below, following my comments.

But I have to admit, President Harrison's remarks reminded me of two things.  First, the book that got me through my doctoral dissertation, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott.  While not a text for the squeamish (the language can get rough), it is a brilliant piece about writing a little every day--even if what you write is junk--and simply keeping after it.  The title comes from an event in Anne's life when she had a report due on bird life and little time to write it.  "Bird by bird," said her writer father.  And soon enough the task was complete.

The other is a commercial that cracks me up.  When the synod gave our semianry the responsibility of initiating a contextual education program using distance learning technology--and no funding to do so--we often laughed that we were "building the plane in the air."  Take a look at this!



Mount Everest One Spoonful at a Time

Barb Below, Jon Vieker, Herb Mueller, Kim Vieker
Yesterday afternoon, President Harrison met with his staff, 1st vice president, and secretary of the Synod to discuss Resolution 8-08A. Topics discussed included but not limited to: what actions are required to fulfill faithfully Resolution 8-08A, what are the expectations of the church; what timeframe is needed to bring Resolution 8-0A to fruition, financial concerns, how to integrate the former program boards into the Office of National Mission and the Office of International Mission, and the concerns people have about what this resolution means for them in the International Center.
Dr. Raymond Hartwig explaining updated bylaws to  President Harrison
In the meeting, President Harrison told Dr. Hartwig that figuring out how to implement restructuring (Resolution 8-08A) in light of the personnel, financial, and churchly concerns in addition to the regular duties that each person on his staff is entrusted is like tackling "Mount Everest one spoonful at a time." Dr. Hartwig replied, "I do not envy any of you in your task, but I am here to help in anyway possible." In the past, President Harrison has described the restructuring task as being like retrofitting a 747 Jetliner mid-flight -- rebuilding the engines, remodeling the cabin, and reconstructing the cockpit without crashing the plane. President Harrison plans to consult with people throughout the church as we move forward.

When there are monumental challenges, President Harrison's pastoral approach becomes particularly evident. After a couple of hours discussing what had to be done and creating some sort term goals, President Harrison said something like, "The task before us is great, but doable. The Convention has mandated it, and restructuring will be a blessing to the Church. The Lord has put each one of us here at this moment for the task before us. Take comfort in the Lord who gives all strength." 

And while Resolution 8-08A has not been implemented throughout the International Center (please keep in mind that President Harrison has only been in his position for 22 days and it will take time), the church's work of Witness, Mercy, and Life Together continues as people hear the Gospel, as people are helped in their time of need, and as we continue to live together as the Lord's people joined together in Christ. 


roger said...

One should always appreciate the work that others do, but building a plane mid air!! I had enough challenges just flying the thing in thunder clouds!! Sterle
PS: Will your history be ready by Symposia time??

Rev. James Leistico said...

funny, you felt like you were building planes in midair while preparing me to feel like I am herding cats.

Dr. Lawrence Rast said...

@Roger: Not this January, but maybe next

Dr. Lawrence Rast said...


Rev. James Leistico said...

the herding cats commercial (after already being on my mind after a meeting with a member) was on the side of the screen while I was watching the building the plane commercial