Monday, March 06, 2006

Back in the Game -- Second Chair as Warrior, Finally

Thanks for your patience with us as we have been quite busy these last few weeks.

First, we had a great day in Springfield. Mike and I both walked away enthused and hopeful for the first and second chair leaders that attended the seminar. This was a tremendous experience for me and one that energized my spirit.

Now, for the second chair as warrior take! I hope that you are ready. Go with me to Exodus 17:8-15. It states:

8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands."
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
14 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven."
15 Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.
Wow! Incredible story! But what portion do you identify with the most in the second chair? Isn't it Aaron and Hur? Isn't this one of the key ways that we as second chair leaders can identify with those who serve alongside another to strengthen them and assist them?
But, doesn't faitful exegesis require us to look down in the valley as well? What is down there? What is going on? Who is down there?
A second chair leader, who, in obedience and subordination ,went down into the valley to fight the Amalekites. This man was sent a special message by God, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it. . . "?
Joshua, this faithful second chair leader, was slinging the sword in the valley, enforcing and exercising the will of another. He was playing the role of second chair as warrior.
What about you? Have you ever had to enforce or exercise the will of another by, "slinging the sword?" Have you ever found yourself playing the role of warrior?
I have and it has not been a pleasant experience. As a matter of fact, this role as warrior has been the most difficult to play. Frankly, I have never been able to play it without it taking an emotional toll on me.
There are two very distinct times when I have had to play this role. The first time was a few years ago, the second, more recently. In both of these experiences, I finished the task with tears.
One of the things that has helped me is a lesson that I believe that Yahweh wanted Joshua to learn. Simply put, this is a lesson on perspective. Think about it! Joshua was down in the valley, and all he knew was war, swords, sheilds, death, and brutality. He didn't have a mountain top perspecitve. Only Moses, and his servants, fully understood this mountain top perspective and what was taking place up there. Yahweh saw fit to give Joshua a special message to help him know that there was a different scene playing out in a different realm, but at the same time and dealing with the same issue.
You and I must trust this message to Joshua, when, in times of tough assignments, we can only see the war portion of our assignments and we don't understand the higher perspective playing out in a different realm. We must trust that God, in His sovereignty, is going to honor us, even when we carry the load of the tough assignment as warrior.

15 comments:

Clayton Bell said...

Ok, remember when we talked about gasping for air? That's where I'm at right now, otherwise this would be a legitimate comment. See you all in Atlanta, and then Tallahassee in the fall, hopefully!

DivaD said...

Still prayin' for everyone!!

God's still God and He's movin' here in this chaotic situation.

... yep... crazy days right now. :o)

Marie said...

Hi all - well I'm back from vacation and back in the saddle again. For what its worth...Australia is a beautiful country and I had an amazing trip. But now I am back and will be soon "gasping for air" with the rest of you.

I've spent some time thinking about Roger's post. My first chair generally does his battles alone so at first I wasn't sure how much I could relate to this post...other than to feel a familiar ache to be able to take on more responsibility. But...truly his take on perspective applies in so many ways. Sometimes when I see my first chair take actions that I don't fully understand I know that I need to keep that picture in mind. Only he, as pastor, sees the full picture (or at least as full as any one person can see). Sometimes I am privy to information that makes things more understandable..sometimes I am not. But I must remember that is exactly the way it is supposed to be. I have even used that argument with people "under" me - that they should understand that sometimes I just have more or different info than they have - and sometimes it is info that I am not at liberty to share - but that I would hope and expect that they would trust me enough to understand and follow me anyway - at least to a point. And of course that kind of trust is only built up over time as it is earned. But the idea of not having a "mountain-top perspective" is true whether doing battle...or just whatever the next bit of service or job may come up. I thank you, Roger, for that reminder.

So - I hope to someday make a conference and meet people face to face - but I am pretty far off the beaten track so anywhere at all is a bit of a trip for me. But we do subscribe to the CCN broadcasts and I am really looking forward to the second chair leader one. I won't miss that one!
Marie

BVincentE said...

Howdy Second Chair Bloggers. I'm new around here and new to blogging, so you'll have to bear with me.

As far as second chair as warrior goes... interesting observation on Joshua. It is true that things do take on a different meaning when we have a different perspective.

My first chair has never asked me to step in and fight his battles in his stead. Fight along side him, sure! Cover his back, absolutely. But he's pretty good at doing what is his to do and not asking other people to do it for him.

I think my first chair would be down there instead of Joshua or alongside Joshua. I can't imagine him sitting in the seat of intercession, perspective, and wisdom that Moses took. At times I find myself thinking that I wish he WOULD do less first-hand combat and more oversight, but that doesn't suit his personality. He leads by doing.

I've had to "do battle" on occasion and it is always tremendously difficult. I'm very relational and not great at confrontation. I'd rather flee than fight I guess, which I'm working on for the sake of healthier relationships. But it isn't easy.

I would CERTAINLY rather be Aaron and Hur up there with the view than Joshua down in the pit with the sword.

DivaD said...

Hello BVincente!
Welcome!!!

Your comments would certainly spark a lot of interesting blogging/conversation with this group!

Right now - it seems that everyone is swamped with details and the communication has been sparse the last couple of weeks... However - we're praying for each other (I think). I know that the Holy Spirit brings everyone to mind quite frequently for me. Glad to add you to the conversation.

Second Chair leadership is most CERTAINLY an interesting adventure... all the time. Always changing. Unpredictable. Often stressful. At times VERY uncomfortable. ...

The relationship with first chair - the openness and honesty in relationship where truth is allowed to be spoken without being disloyal or disrespectful - but out of a desire to grow and to help first chair grow as well - is probably the most critical thing. How's that work in your current situation?

Again - glad to have you joining the "fray" :)

Feel free to get in touch in the interims between blogs.

Roger, Mike, Clayton, Marie, Jay, Doug ..... hope things are going well for you all! Been praying for each of you!

Debra

Marie said...

Hi all...welcome to you bvincente! It is great to "hear" a new voice. I like what you had to say...I find myself sitting here now wondering ...who would I rather be...a Joshua..or an Aaron or Hur? I know I am not a Moses! I think I do tend to be a "do-er"..much more apt to leap into the fray than to sit on the sidelines - even if - as in this case - being on the sidelines is incredibly important.

I think I am facing one of those conversations with my first chair later today that I hope will be as divad described...with "the openness and honesty in relationship where truth is allowed to be spoken without being disloyal or disrespectful". I think I can expect that given past history.

I thank everyone for your prayers....and I can say that you come to mind freqently as well.

Got to run...
Marie

Clayton Bell said...

Hey Gang,

nice to see we're all still alive, although it might have been touch and go there for a while!

Glad to have a new member of the family! the more, the merrier!

Also, please be in prayer for me (selfish, i know!), as there is a possibility i'll be taking a second-chair position helping to rebuild a national ministry...and one of my best friends will be the first chair! Could be some interesting times....

DivaD said...

Clayton,

Wow... now THAT always adds interesting dynamics.

Will be prayin!

Marie said...

I add a second "wow" to that Clayton. That could be pretty challenging - but it also sounds like an incredible opportunity. You have my prayers (and that is not a selfish request at all!)
Marie

Jay said...

I guess it took a new voice to get us all back into the blogging mode. Its been crazy busy of course and I miss the conversation. Welcome BVincentE!! Tell us about your position? What do you do?

Roger, stole your stuff for my last staff devotion I lead. It was interesting. My pastor, started out saying he's been feeling some intense spiritual pressure. It really seemed to fit. I was able to challenge the staff to consider our roles and to be an Aaron and Hur and to lift up the arms of our first chair. It was hopefully an encouragement to him and a challenge to the others. I'm alot like BVincentE in that I don't like the 2nd Chair as Warrior position. Its not a comfortable place, but I've been place there in many occasions. Its not fun, but in many ways necessary at times.

Clayton...Here's a third WOW! My First Chair was my first youth pastor. He's mentored me for over 17 years...I'm 32 so more than half my life. There were and are some interesting challenges that exist when a friend becomes a boss. Initially its pretty hard to seperate. I'm in the middle of it and have worked in this positions for over 2 years. It can be done...If you have any questions let me know. We'll be praying!

I've really missed these conversations...What's Easter like your churches this year? Anything cool?

DivaD said...

Oh wow... Jay... I am so excited about Easter service this year! Was thinking about it tonight.

We 'borrowed' an idea from Ed Young of Fellowship church and will be modeling a message after his Masterpieces message. Our service will be much different from theirs as we're using many different elements. However, Mike (my boss/pastor/friend :o)) will be sharing a message about how we're not just a face in the crowd, but God sees us each individually and He demonstrated how He feels about each one of us through Jesus' death and resurrection.

Got a great video from Sermon Spice about not being "just a face in the crowd" (our video team's on 'break' while we get our video editing machine fixed). We're doing the Kutless song Sea of Faces. Have a great drama/song combo about God's desire for healing/restoration in our lives... through Christ.
Mike will be painting a 'self-portrait' during his message (we've had live painting 2x thus far in the last 2 years and each time it has been powerful!). And, of course, He's going to give a great message.

We just (this past weekend) changed our service time to 10:30am - from 9:30am because we're in between 2 large university towns and have been told by many that services were too early. So - we changed the time to reach more people. And - we 'shrank' our auditorium this past week as well to help create a greater sense of community and intimacy. (We run around 300, yet meet in a local high school auditorium that seats around 900).

Our new webpage was just launched 2 weeks ago. And, we're creating some great (hopefully) advertising as well for our people to invite others to the Easter service.

All in all - it seems that we're entering a very exciting season... gaining momentum after a looooooong dry season of conflict, disunity, discouragement, and frustration. The changes have - thus far - been met with a cooperative spirit (which is unusual, believe me!).

I love what we do. And we don't do too bad for a portable church. We have to fully set everything up each week yet still have a great band, video, dramas, dances, visual arts, incredible stage design for each series... A GREAT team of people to work with who make it all happen!

Anyway - you asked about Easter... Hit the 'hot button' tonight :o)

Oh - and the whole friendship/boss thing can work out... but it certainly has its VERY unique challenges at times.
My first chair is the closest friend that I have - and vice versa, but it can get strained at times (VERY strained) and separating the friendship from the ministry relationship when making decisions, respecting authority, etc. can be interesting to say the least. Also, friendships often deepen by working through conflict - which can be difficult at times when there now is another level of relationship thrown into the mix. However, I'd rather be friends with my first chair than simply an employee... But that's just the way that I'm wired. Wouldn't work for everyone. At times - hasn't worked well for me either. Have had to make some hard decisions at times with regards to protecting first chair from a ministry perspective - that have put distance in the friendship for a season. However, it's always something we talk about to assure that, ultimately, damage isn't done to the friendship.

Not sure if any of that makes sense since I'm not giving details... Just trust me... it makes the second chair journey even MORE of an adventure!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Marie said...

Divad....your enthusiasm is wonderful! Kind of wish I could be there. We're still struggling. Far too much of our time and energy right now is being spent on on-going disputes and it is really discouraging. But ....onward.
Marie

DivaD said...

Marie,

Here's the kicker... after writing EARLY this morning, I was talking with my first chair before lunch and we discovered today that there is a website in our town dedicated to "proving" that our church is not Biblically based. And... one of the authors is currently a member of our church and small groups.
Every time we can catch a breath...

Anyway - my first chair responded very firmly, but balanced (not his strong point in the past). We will be dealing with it this weekend and part of next week I am sure.

I understand about the disputes part. We just got back from a regional C3 Conference where the speaker talked about those very things. Mike (first chair) went to a pastors luncheon and said that he was surrounded by ministers who said they are constantly dealing with conflict right now... people very vocally disagreeing with any move to change... disgruntled people... And these pastors are doing/communicating things the RIGHT way.

I'd say that God is up to something - and Satan is fighting it with everything in him... and using "Christians" to do it.
If he can get the focus off of the ministry, and onto conflict/disputes/etc. then all of our energy goes into discussions, back-tracking, putting out fires - and the lost stay lost, and the hurting continue to hurt. One of my 'second chair' tasks this weekend is to try and come up with a definitive strategy for immediately dealing with these types of things, graciously but firmly, so that the church is not damaged in the fray (which has happened WAY too many times before because of hesitation in dealing with strife and division). Ah - the joys of ministry :)

Our conflicts and disputes most certainly haven't seemed to slow down in the midst of all of this. But there have been some significant God-changes that have taken place in hearts and minds of some of the leadership that is causing their(our) perspective to change, our resolve to be strengthened, our love/care/concern for one another to take a front seat instead of a back seat, and our desire for unity to band us together. Honestly, in the almost 6 years that I've now been here - it's the first time that I've seen this happen. Ever.

But God...

I'm praying for you. Still walking the same path here as well. Hang in there. Don't allow discouragement to "dry the bones". Email if necessary...

Clayton Bell said...

Couple things:

1. I'll find out this Wednesday if the board approves moving the ministry to Tallahassee, thus setting in motion the events of me taking that new position. Please pray for widsom and grace. Also, I think this has clarified in my mind that it will be a stepping stone to planting a church in the next 5 years, so hopefully I never forget what it's been like in the second chair...
2. DivaD, what's your website? I always like seeing new ones...
3. For easter, we are starting a series of messages based on the TV show 24. The title of the message series is "24:What does it take to save the world?" The first message is "The right man" (jesus/jack bauer), then "the right Team" (a church/CTU), and then finally "the right training" (special forces/discipleship). We'll be starting a special foundations class right after this series ends and giving away free books for it as well. If anyone wants to see the flyer we made, send me and email and i'll shoot it over to you...

you all are the best! Atlanta, here i come!

WarriorGirl said...

Have been viewing this site since the end of last year and have been greatly encouraged by the various articles written. In all honesty though, I've been somewhat reluctant to respond - you all seem so ....... "very clever & right speaking" in your comments. I wondered if I would be just too outspoken in my thinking?!! That sounds awful just writing it down. But my husband and I have an absolute passion and desire to do God's calling on our lives and sometimes that comes across as such a big passion that we have to keep reminding ourselves to slow down.

A bit about us - I share this role of Second Chair with my husband. I'm full-time employed and he is "outside" employed, but does this role in his "spare" time - and an amazing job he does too! We are most definitely and could be described as warriors. We have always been the ones to do the battles and have the scars to prove it. We are not afraid of confrontation (in the correct way) and understand it's necessity. We always try to look at a situation from the point of "If Jesus were standing right here - how would He deal with/respond/act on this?" - then we try our very best to bring honor to His name by acting in that very way. We are only human and sometimes make mistakes - but overall, we are seen as just and fair with a compassion that may not be displayed on our sleeves, but is absolutely evident in our hearts.

Our First Chair is not like this. Neither do we believe he needs to be. He needs to remain within his own anointing - which is to teach and lead the Church and spend his time with God.

Many do not understand why we do what we do, but at the same time - none want our job either! For the most, we enjoy our role, but it is indeed a very lonely place and has its share of extreme heartbreak. We see all of the members as our spiritual kids, so as with natural parents - you suffer along with your kids. But the rewards it brings are tremendous. We have had an extremely "tough" 5 years, battle after battle, hurt after hurt. But if you had to ask us to do it all again, even knowing how much we would suffer - we wouldn't hesitate, even if it would just make a difference to one person in all of that. "The Cause" is what keeps us going and being a Warrior in the battle is all part of Life's big adventure.

It's great reading all of your comments - there's a real sense of community amongst you guys and I hope it's a place we can begin to settle into.

Will be praying for you all!