Monday, December 12, 2005

In My Chair or On My Knees

I have a confession – I tend to live as if I believe the cliché, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” For me, this means that I confront challenges directly. I assess the situation, determine a solution, roll up my sleeves, and get it done. Honestly, that has served me pretty well in my career, both in business and in the church.

But more and more I find myself asking the question, “Am I leaving room for God, or have I left Him out of this process?” Many years of education, training, and life experience have taught me to rely on myself, and only go to God as a last resort. It’s easy to do this in a second chair role. Many competing demands scream for attention. And they’re usually not saying “Seek God in this” – they just say, “Fix it now!”

For second chair leaders, I believe the best answer is a balancing act in which we do both. God called us to be good stewards of all that He has given us, and that includes our abilities as problem-solvers and gap-fillers. But He also wants us to be dependent on Him, to ask Him for wisdom and for His power to be made perfect in our weakness. So in the future, I hope you’ll find me in my chair AND on my knees.


BeThere said...

Thank you! I have yet to read your book, but as I have poured over your website, reviews, and other materials, I have been deeply encouraged to see that someone has finally articulated so well my sense of calling to serve the local church and my pastor from the 2nd chair.
I can relate so very well to the "Many years of education..." I saw this recently as I read Chuck Swindoll's book, "Moses". Moses spent the 1st 40 years of his life gaining that education and experience, thinking that he truly was somebody. God then took him to the wilderness to remind him that he was nobody. Then God allowed Moses to experience in his last 40 years that that is exactly where God wants us.
It is that balance between using all God has gifted and empowered us to be, with as Chambers speaks of, to abandon it all for service to our Lord and His Bride.
I find myself in the "wilderness" these days. Your words are both a challege to be patient with the leadership in our church, and a renewed perserverence to hold fast to what I believe God has called me to be.

Clayton Bell said...

Such a great point, about making sure that we seek God in all that we do in the second chair. I know that I'm in position in part because of my skills to solve problems and make things happen, but I've recently caught myself thinking..."So What? Is this a logical solution or something that advances God's Kingdom?"

I think that logical solutions can come from God, and that as we honor him with our minds through study and experiancce he can give us an answer without a bright light, but we can also arrive at solutions without involving Him in the process. When that begins to take place, we've got to pull the emergency break and reconstruct our problem-solving process.

On a side note, I was thrilled to find this book, then the website, and now the blog, as I am someone who loves to interact with the material and the people involved in the same situations that I am. I hope that you both continue to post regularly, as I'll be waiting to respond and dialouge back and forth. Praise God for this book and these fraternity of second chairs sharing their experiences...I think it's saving my soul from being harded or embittered against my senior and our relationship. Thank you all very much.

Jay said...

I've recently come to the conclusion that part of the stress I experience as a second chair is that I try to accomplish things on my own strength, talent, and ability. Part of the responsibility that I have as second chair is to handle situations and things so my Senior Pastor, Worship Leader, and Youth Pastor can spend the time they need to prepare themselves spiritually for the roles that they have in the church. I find myself with little time to spend in prayer for my role, my pastor, or the church. That only gets you so far and eventually leads to poor attitudes, stress, tension, anxiety, and lack of motivation.

Our church staff, just came back from a two day prayer retreat and I took time to read over my journal from the past year and relived some of the feelings, experieneces, and saw myself going into 2006 facing the problems. I felt like God was putting a word in my heart and that word was "Breakthrough" As I shared that with my Pastor and the leadership team, I realized that we all needed a breakthrough. To some degree we've all tried to do things on our own strength and we repented of that as a staff and committed to seek God, pray for each other for God strength, wisdom, and guidance.

What are some of the things you do to discipline yourself as an individual to seek God wisdom for your second chair role and what do you do as a staff to develop in that area?