When I heard those words, they rang true to me and helped me see the months of July and August through a different lens.
They were said by Shawn Williams, the campus pastor from Christian Community Church in Naperville, also known as the Yellow Box Church. He was speaking to a small group of leaders from my own denomination about training leaders from within and the impact that can have on congregations. He mentioned how he prioritizes this time in the summer and calls it a Season of Planning. He takes time to read the leadership books and have the meetings with people that he tends to put off during the year because of a full schedule.
Something clicked for me as he said that. I have tried to use the different rhythm of my summer work schedule to do those types of things too but I have not prioritized them in that way. If I got to some of those extra books on my shelf, that was great. If I could fit in meetings with other leaders, then that was a bonus. Now I look at this time differently. In my head I have known it is important to have time for planning, rest and renewal to "fill my well", but how I lived that was definitely hit or miss. This summer will be different. I am adopting a Season of Planning. I have lined up some books that will be helpful for me to read. There are important conversations I need to have with people in and outside my own congregation. Adopting a different prayer practice will be crucial to creating a new rhythm. Included in this time will also be continuing education: Praying with Imagination: Igniting an Artful Response at St. John's School of Theology-Seminary in Minnesota.
Here is my bibliography for the season of planning:
~ Writing to God - 40 Days of Praying with my Pen by Rachel G Hackenberg
~ Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton (This was a gift from Heidi, one of the pastors at my church.)
~ Listening to Children on the Spiritual Journey by Catherine Stonehouse and Scottie May (A book that has been sitting on my shelf for too long.)
~ Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau (My friend, David, told me one of the best ways to nurture your own creativity is to read great writing. I will read this while I am surrounded by the natural beauty in Minnesota.)
~ Crucial Conversations - Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillian, and Switzler (This was suggested to me by my friend Diane who has used this in her role of school administrator in St. Charles, Illinois.)
I look forward to this experiment of changing my work rhythm for two months and where it leads my professional and personal growth. Hopefully I will be able to retain some of these practices to keep me going the rest of the year too!