SEPTEMBER 15- NOVEMBER 3
Who reading this missive has found others are a bit snippy lately? Anyone notice the ornery virus seems to be spreading, and by “ornery virus” I am not referring to Covid-19 but to the reality that under stress we tend toward becoming ornery. Yes, I’m looking at you, social media (among others), which is one reason why Grand Canyon’s Reconciliation Team created LEST (Leading Emotional S.ystems T.raining).Of course, if everyone around us is trending toward ornery, the likelihood is that our own selves are affected by the rising tide. In the midst of chronic stress such as we are experiencing during the pandemic, economic fall-out and calls for police reforms, our emotional selves are at risk. It may be far more comfortable to look out the mirror at other folks’ nonsense, but spiritual transformation happens when we have the courage to look in the mirror at our own. LEST is an online course in taking a long look in the mirror.
As pastors and elders, church leaders all, we lead “emotional systems.” I understand our churches are also, even primarily, spiritual organisms, mission organizations, administrative systems, and social hubs, yet God created us with heart and mind and body and soul. Who we are in the complicated web of thoughts, feelings and actions influences our ability to be a healthy Body of Christ. LEST provides a healthy way of looking at our churches for this work of becoming the most faithful expression of our best selves as Christ’s Body.
How we manage ourselves and guide our congregations can lead to communal health or compound an already volatile situation; our leadership can open pathways for communication, creativity and connection or invite our lesser angels to make mischief. It is my observation that most of you are leading in ways that open pathways rather than invite mischief. Huzzah! Huzzah! And yet, health is not a one-time accomplishment but a daily habit. LEST provides helpful tools for the daily habit of opening pathways of communication, creativity and connection for the work of ministry.
LEST will be offered online as a “flipped classroom” on Tuesdays from 12:30 – 3:00 beginning September 15 through November 3. Those who participate will receive the LEST Handbook that was created for the in-person course, a participants’ journal for self-reflection at home, and short videos that review key concepts. The online gatherings will discuss insights, practice leading groups, and explore ways our stewardship of community can lead us toward healthy habits and practices.
Click here for the LEST brochure. You can preview the videos by going to YouTube and searching “LEST Leading Emotional Systems Training,” which will take you to the LEST channel. Please RSVP by September 8 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ornery is not a chronic statement of being to be sought unless your name is Jeremiah,