Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lessons Learned from the Road

Hey Gang! I just got back last night from a time with the Christian Educators of North Carolina. I had the privilege of sharing the 2nd Chair material with them in our conference setting, and I was greatly blessed.

As you may or may not know, Mike and I have been on the road about once or twice a month for the past few months. We head to Northern California in Mid May for our recording of the 2nd Chair simulcast with the Christian Communication Network, then spend the next day with the California Baptists in a 2nd Chair workshop. All of these opportunities are so exciting and I am grateful to God for each one of them.

As I have been traveling some lately, here are some things that I have been learning:
1. Hunger for community -- Second Chair leaders are lonely and need community.
2. Validation -- Second Chair leaders haven't been validated all that much before and as a result, they need affirmation, encouragement, to be told they aren't crazy, and a day off every now and then.
3. God is with us -- Although our settings are different, our titles aren't all the same, our wonderful Holy Spirit is with us guiding our steps and helping us navigate these difficult paradoxes.
4. My First Chair -- I value my first chair more and more and I am grateful to be serving with him.
5. Second Chair Leaders are Passionate -- Passionate about their Jesus, their church, their determination to make things better.

Thank you all for your affirmation of the work God set before us. We are humbled to be a part of this community of second chair leaders and I am grateful for the relationships that are forming.

Let's keep the conversation going. What lessons have you recently learned about the second chair?


Jay said...

The list you posted is right on Roger.

One of things I'm learning as a second chair is that I constantly need to be looking at things around me. I need to see problems and act on them before they become major problems. My first chair responds to that and it builds his confidence in me.

I'm also learning that the landscape changes daily, and being flexible and open to change, and interuptions is part of my role.

Hope everything is going well in your ministries!


Clayton Bell said...

I've learned that it's hard to find time to comments on blogs as much as I used to...

I've found that it's important to remeber that even though you're not the first chair, you need to think with the same ownership...

I've learned you've got to listen to people regardless of their position to be successful...

DivaD said...

Well said all.

Clayton - amen to the 'hard to find time to blog' thing. Not sure if that's a good thing, or a bad thing. I do miss the conversations and learnings!

I've learned that...

Although first chairs may sometimes not say it, they really appreciate - and need - a second chair who is loyal, tenacious, supportive, truthful, proactive, and won't give up no matter how tough the fight.

Also - that perseverance, when it's God-empowered, will pay off. Maybe not in my ideal time-table - but in God's.

That through the toughest of situations, God is still teaching me something - and those around me as well.

That quitting, unless it's got an absolute stamp of approval from the God of the Universe, is NOT an option.

That I am fiercely loved by God (regardless of my 'chair'), and that it is an incredible thing that He trusts me enough to allow me to serve in a 2nd Chair role.

That I've got a lot to learn. :o)

I look forward to the day when I get to meet you guys face-to-face - whether that's here, or in eternity! Thanks for throwing me a 'life-saver' every now and then!

Still prayin' for this community of leaders!

Going home to rest - and chill with my family.

Jay said...

Finding the time to blog...its a challenge. I'm at an coffee shop trying to get caught up on some stuff. But thought, I'd check the discussion. The coffee hasn't checked in yet.

Going back to Roger's list of things he's learned. One of my biggest challenges is encouragement. I guess, I'm a words of affirmation guy, but I like to know when I'm doing things well, things right, when I've done a good job. Its difficult for my first chair to be encouraging, or at least that's my perception of it. He's been a second chair and this is his first first chair role.

People encourage me all the time. My wife, people in the church, friends, Mike and Roger, you guys, the Holy Spirit encourages me, but I guess it always better coming from your first chair. Is this an issue for you as well?

Praying for you all. Keep up the good work friends!

DivaD said...


Funny thing... At times, I get most of the encouragement from my first chair - but he says the same things sometimes to everyone, and it can take away the meaning of what was said (if that makes any sense).

Other times, I'm firing on all cylinders and things are happening well, yet it seems those things are not noticed - however, mistakes are. Strange animals - first chair leaders, sometimes.

I think first chairs can come to just expect that you know that you're doing well... kind of like that married guy who said to his wife "I love you. And if that ever changes I'll let you know." They assume that we know - forgetting that encouragment, at times, is what gets them through to the next day's worth of challenges.

My first tends to give very general affirmation - which, again, doesn't carry a lot of weight. So, we've talked about it, and when he gives me a 'general' encouragement - like "you're doing a good job" or "I appreciate you", then I'll ask... "What am I doing well?" or "What do you appreciate that I've done lately?" He'll think about it, and then usually can point out some very specific things that he's thinking of when he makes that sweeping statement.
He's a big-picture, non-detail, thinker. So - my asking him forces him to think differently and allows me to get a specific picture of what's going well without creating assumptions in my own head. Works well for us.

I recently read a book called "The Paradox of Excellence" that talks about how, when you're doing things well - but no-one is really aware of how well things are going, then mistakes are glaring and get pointed out as huge, when, in the overall scheme of things they probably aren't. So... I took this information to my first chair - recognizing the validity (where things will be going well and he won't seem to notice, but he'll notice a mistake) - and now, added to our weekly meeting, I let him know... quickly, but thoroughly... what's going right instead of waiting until something's completed to talk about it.
Sounds like a no-brainer - but he would often list off a bunch of things that he wanted to see happen, I'd get the vision for it, and then just go make it happen. He knows I'll take care of it. However, the times that it would take more than the snap of a finger (which was 99% of the time), things would be moving along to make it happen and he might not ever ask about it - knowing that he had mentioned it - but then his 'mental timetable' was different than reality and he could get frustrated thinking it's not happening. (Patience is not a strong point for some who think vision, not details :))Then, when it would finally come to light, his frustration level - because of unrealistic expectations, mind you - would be too high to acknowledge good... or affirm... or encourage. At least now, he's uprised of progress and knows that things are moving and is much quicker to affirm 'steps'. I know this is not exactly what you posted about, Jay, but the book is well worth the read for any other 2nd Chairs who have bosses who are like mine...

And - as a side note, I have to say that the prayers and encouragment received from you all during recent 'dark days' here helped me get to a much better place, both within myself and with my first chair... and ultimately, believe it or not, with staff members who have been very resistant to my "new" role. Thank you for your prayers, and especially for the notes and words of encouragement. As my children say... "You guys ROCK!" :)

Marie said...

I have learned that the two most important words a first and second chair can say to each other are "I'm sorry".

Clayton Bell said...

Ok, not to pimp my own blog, but check out the video on there from king of the hill where they go shopping for a new church...Tell me what you think of it...

Marie said...

Clayton this is PRICELESS!!! Thank you for sharing this! I laughed so hard.....and boy does it show some truths! Love it.....

Clayton Bell said...

New blog! New blog! new blog!