In late August, my new team – the Cabinet – met for the first time in a quaint town near Milwaukee. As I reflect on our three days together, I couldn’t be more pleased. It was truly one of the highlights of my presidency.
Team-building was a top priority. After reviewing our Myers-Briggs and SIMA profiles, we openly discussed our strengths and flat sides. The degree of transparency and vulnerability was remarkable. In order to articulate our commitments to each other, we began work on a “Team Covenant.”
In true InterVarsity tradition, we spent part of each morning in the Word together. Our text for this year is 1 Corinthians, an epistle rich with applications. Several items were discussed, including our five National Initiatives, Urbana, Staff Conference 2005, and the Fall Leadership Meetings. In addition, each vice president was allocated time to deal with his or her pressing issues.
It was wonderful to have Josh Hall, my new executive assistant, with us. In mid-August, he left Bear Trap Ranch – where he has worked the past three years – and joined us in only his second day in his new position.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of the retreat was our closing time of prayer. Each of us took our turn sitting in a chair while others laid their hands on us. The Spirit’s presence was very evident.
May the Lord continue the good work He has begun.
Books, Books, Books
Every now and then, I like to share what I’ve been reading.
I continue to revel in IVP’s Ancient Commentary Series. In recent months, I digested Luke and am now about half way through I & II Corinthians. My favorite Patristic writers? Chrysostom, Augustine, and Origin. I am also thoroughly enjoying a commentary on 1 Corinthians in IVP’s Bible Speaks Today series.
As part of my church’s book club, I reread the Koran for the first time in 25 years. In addition, the group discussed several other helpful books, including What Went Wrong: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity by Bernard Lewis; The Koran: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Cook; and Whose Promised Land? by Colin Chapman.
Over the past month, I have been on a leadership reading binge – The Leadership Pipeline by Ram Charan; First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham; Basic Christian Leadership by John Stott; and the classic Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf. I guess that this subject must have some relevance to my job!
The old history major in me just can’t stay away from hefty tomes on planes. These include Pillar of Fire, the second of Taylor Branch’s brilliant trilogy of the Civil Rights Movement; Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro; and The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes.
I am touched that so many staff ask how they might pray for me. Here are two items:
- Our oldest daughter, Laura, is a high school senior. As such, we are looking at colleges for next fall. Needless to say, this is a time of excitement (for her) and trauma (for Mary and me). Please pray that she/we make the “right” decision.
- As noted, the Cabinet is a new team. It includes two vice presidents who have been in their roles for many years (Karon Morton and Bob Fryling) and three who are relatively new to theirs (Jeanette Yep, Jim Lundgren and Andrea McAleenan). Please pray that we will develop a strong sense of team and that the Lord will bring us the right person for the final Cabinet position, the Director of Strategic Ministries.
Many thanks. May the Lord richly bless you, your family, and your ministry this fall! </p?