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    Portrait of Three Leaders

    What about Bob?

    Bob's a Mr. Do-it-all. He's a member of four church committees- the nominating committee, the budget committee, the youth committee, and the Building and Grounds committee. He has (last time he checked) three kids, two cars, and a wonderfully accommodating wife. Bob is a juggler but not of the circus variety. He juggles schedules and deadlines. Yes, Bob is your basic fix-it guy. He loves being the solution for any problem or need that comes up. But he tends to get tired from time to time and then he shuts down emotionally in his personal life but right now that rarely happens. He's helped grow his church from a mission church to a fully staffed beehive of activity. He's considered by many to be the MVM (The most valuable member.) Sure he gets frustrated that other people don't have the commitment and durability that he has, but he continues to work and rarely asks for anyone to help. He's not sure if that would be the Christian approach to ministry. Plus he knows through personal experience that his lifestyle could have a negative impact on others home and family life. But Bob considers himself to be the exception. He's energized by the success that the church is experiencing and he finds himself admired by the entire church so certainly he is approved by God also.

    Desperately Seeking Susan

    Susan has been a member of the church for three years. She's a paralegal and a veteran Ladies Sunday School teacher. She's taught Sunday School in five different churches in the past 20 years. Susan enjoys her responsibility but prefers to go solo. She knows what has worked in the past and will fight to keep her ministry running the way she wants it to run. She's a very busy mother and new grandmother so she teaches under the stipulation that teaching is all that she'll do. No meetings outside the classroom please! She's done this since Noah and that gives her the right to miss weekly workers meetings. Susan has firm boundaries and she doesn't mind expressing her opinion to others. (As long as it's not in a meeting.) She's all for special events and Vacation Bible School (As long as they don't involve any meetings.) Susan is faithful to the task of teaching her class and very consistent. Sure she's changed churches a few times but churches have changed on her. Churches have evolved in organizational structure, worship style, and polity. Every time she feels compelled to move on she wonders why churches can?t stick to the formula that worked in the fifties.

    Regarding Henry

    Henry, by no means, has lived a perfect life. His marriage was about to blow up in his face back in '99. He had gotten to the point where he couldn't see his family in one house. On the New Years Eve of Y2K a member of his Sunday School Class took a leap of faith and called Henry to ask him how he was really doing. The friend had sensed that Henry's life was in chaos. At first glance Henry looked like your basic faithful church member who taught TeamKid and was on the finance Committee but there was a noticeable distance between Henry and his wife Amanda. That conversation marked a turn-around. The façade of religiosity dissolved and Henry was encouraged to enter into an accountability group. He took a break from responsibilities at the church for a year and began to rebuild his life. Thankfully, the men's ministry encouraged him at a time when he thought they would lecture him. God used the crisis to shape his character. Henry and His wife are teaching the Five Love Languages class on Sunday Afternoon. They've come to realize that God is using their lowest valleys and greatest hurts to become their greatest ministry.

    So where do you think they'll be? Perhaps if we had a time machine in the Activities Center of the church we could hop in and catch up on Henry, Susan, and Bob. Where would they be in 2006? Let's go.

    Bob: Believe it or not, Bob is a Sunday Morning only kind of guy. All the plates he was spinning crashed loudly on the committee room floor. It was the last straw when an entire committee opposed one of his recommendations. He felt betrayed and abused. He thought, "How could they oppose me when I spend as more time at the church that all of them combined. It was a very hurtful moment in his life. The sad thing is that his proposals were logical and he could have perhaps given the committee time to consider it and they may have come to the understanding that Bob's recommendations would work. But Bob was exhausted, overwhelmed and his emotions got the best of him. He immediately resigned all responsibility. He'd like to leave the church but his kids are so involved in the youth program that he doesn't want to unsettle the family. But the whole episode has become a source of bitterness in their family and in Bob's marriage.

    Susan: Susan is currently seeking another church home. A new pastor, and new education minister and a new vision statement were the final blows for Susan. She couldn't tolerate any more change. Susan has come to the conclusion that she was never really respected and that arrogance within the church was the real reason for the church philosophical change.

    Henry: He's still standing. Henry has discovered his personal mission and message. He is focused on authentic marriages, family, and worship. He is now teaching a young couples Sunday School class and he is able to share how God continues to grow him into a fully devoted follower. In fact, he?s having a lunch appointment

    Copyright 2004 Matt Tullos