The end of the 2011 year is approaching fast. As my mother often said, “We will never see this year again.” How truthful was her observation. Eternity won’t bring back 2011, perhaps this is good! God is always moving forward and not backward. The best part about tomorrow from my mother’s observation is that we can bury our failures of the past and claim the successes of the future. The successes of the future are within our grasp.
So, we can chalk this year up as a “turning point” for the Southwest Region Conference (SWRC). The question that I ask constituents who are reading this blog, “is the past election a turning point toward a better future?” I have to admit that I might be a little biased with my opinion because I believe that we are on a track for “bigger” and “better accomplishments. Hey, this is my opinion.
However, we would be foolish if we don’t try to learn from our past. Acknowledging our failures and studying corrective remedies is not being negative but demonstrates an attitude to “fix” “derailed tracks”. Since none of us are perfect, our leadership can be scrutinized by observers for good or bad.
With this in mind I ask you “Who do you think should earn such a prestigious title of “Person of the Year”? Let me make a few suggestions that could be on your list. Keep in mind, a person of the year could be determined by someone’s good or bad accomplishments.
First out: Do you think it could be our former president? Considering that he served the Southwest Region Conference as our longest tenured Chief Executive Officer. Certainly we could name a number of positive innovations he brought to the Southwest Region Conference. Workers may not have been a part of the new regional retirement program if it were not for him. Ministers, for years to come, will owe this former leader a debt of appreciation. For example a worker most likely dying before retirement on the old plan at 40 years, compared to the new program that allows workers a full retirement at 30 years of service was a monumental achievement by the former president. He also brought technology to workers and members within our conference that surpassed all previous presidents. We could point out the development of the campground. Certainly during the span of the former president’s administration an informed member or worker could cite notable improvements in the physical landscape and purchased acquisitions adjacent to the campground. It is a far better environment compared to previous presidents. Also, the physical building of the Conference office shows notable improvements resulting from remodeling.
How these accomplishments came to be may “never” be fully disclosed to constituents. On the negative side we can mention the former president’s unprecedented and costly travel, lack of transparency, and the “demise” of older ministers, just to name a few questionable areas in his leadership that could list him as the “Person of the Year” on a bad note—but no one is perfect.
Second: with the changing of the guard our new president seems to be on course with innovative techniques in the areas of management and leadership. From what I have observed workers and members seem to have a different vision when it comes down to “hope” and a more “secure future”. Will the president reduce or phase out older men/women for younger workers? And if so, will he begin the process of a “pink slip” program in the office? However you look at future decisions of the current president, good or bad, they will have a major impact on the future of workers especially during a recession and nine percent unemployment. The president needs to spell out what his true intentions might be and “why” he seeks to enter into such controversial and divisive territory. Age should not be in the formula but work history “might”.
If we could know who are the president’s advisors we might understand better his proposals? Are his advisors retired leaders of the past with old methods and mundane philosophical solutions? An observation in a later post on leadership noted that “what worked two years ago may not work today.” It sounds to me that the current president is juggling bananas in one hand and eggs in the other. Which workers are bananas or eggs? Well, you figure this one out.
Third: What pastor do you feel has made a real impact on the conference good or bad this year? Please, please take into consideration workers total package of ministry in the year 2011. Could one possible selection be the unholy trinity, so named the “Rat pack” who didn’t have their way during the last election with their secretly planned, covert attempted yet failed coup d’é·tat? They got “caned” by the delegates at the quadrennial session.
Or might you consider the “Falcon” from Atlanta who was nominated by the small committee to be president of the SWRC but later withdrew only to sort out what his next advancement in the Seventh-day Adventist world church might be? Wow! Don’t we know how to “pick em”?
Last: just maybe your selection might name a “Fraternity Brother” as the Man of the year? What real advancement has one of these “technocrats” achieved as a real change agent? They seem to have the “presence” for position, power and recognition. Can you find one that can earn this title? Let me be perfectly clear, the “Frat Brothers” may be the most qualified workers now in ministry and their work seems to be very productive. Wanting to advance to the next level is not a “selfish” desire as I see it. What you have to watch for is how it “consumes” them. The growth of the church cannot be accomplished in the upper levels of church organization in departments or administration within the world church (Elder E. C. Ward recognized this and after numerous calls to the penthouse he decided to remain on the frontline.). The action exists at the local church level—and that’s a fact. If every minister landed in the cherished seats of administration and the departments, church growth would be dead—very dead—non-existent. I have not heard of any ministers campaigning to be one of the “administrative assistants” in the office. In the past our church grew at an alarming rate because of “boots on the ground” not through seats at the desk or seats in the “air”. This tells us that older men should be moved into departmental positions, administration and younger workers assigned into churches (Big churches if that makes them happy). Assignments to the local church should be sought as advancement not demotion. I think we have the pyramid upside down.
We have not mentioned women. Without women our local field would be devastated and stagnant. Let me suggest a hint of a person that could fill the shoes of Person of the Year. Could the woman of the year be the architect of the strategic plan? Let’s give the chairperson credit! She produced and earned approval by the vote of the constituents for her Strategic Plan. Like it or not she successfully brought to completion something no other person has done. We could say that the approval of the STRAT Plan was a “landmark” piece of work. However, she could earn this award for pulling off a vote at the constituency meeting by getting the plan approved with a flyer, not the finished document (Hey…were we sucker punched?).The new incoming president dubbed it as a “legless bug” that couldn’t crawl. Some have interpreted this to mean that it was an unfinished document that needed further work.
The woman of the year could be the anonymous person who started this blog, The Forgotten Shepherdess (We “assume” she is a woman). To all the pundits who want to live in the “la la land” of unbelief, the formation of the blog had an incredible impact on the election before, during and after the session. This was a landmark achievement. Constituents and viewers were able to get information as it unfolded. Her work brought people into the political process that educated the masses before the election. She did not bend when the powers tried to shut the blog down. Even the former president admitted to the “power of the internet”. Her innovative seminal work “got into their stuff” and informed constituents. The Forgotten Shepherdess should be praised as a “pioneer” in communications for our conference.
The present conference website is not a functional tool at this time and is controlled like the media in autocratic nations. Allow the following reasons to resonate for a few minutes. At our conference website you cannot state an opinion that administration disagrees with. If you do there might be repercussions. There is no forum at the website where members and workers can talk to each other and express an opinion. The SWRC should recognize that Forgotten Shepherdess created something where members and workers could share their opinions and learn. Criticism should be something that comes with the territory of leadership, and when we listen to the members we serve we can only get better. Again, there is no such forum where people can dialogue and “not” be “called out”.
What about Left Behind? The writings of Left Behind went national and maybe worldwide. People are still accessing these posts. And some are still out to get this person(s), as wells as ministers who are determined to “get him/them/her” if this person(s) is found to be a worker. Can you believe that the former president actually made this an item at the Executive Committee and spent over an hour addressing the issue of Left Behind and The Forgotten Shepherdess? They actually voted to take actions to restrict the freedom of speech of members and workers. Some ministers went back to their churches and told their congregants not to participate in the blog and admonished them to request to have their names deleted from the Forgotten Shepherdess’s email list. In spite of the few, many workers have “whispered” that Left Behind helped a lot of workers and members. Left Behind’s attackers got “bated” and “caught”—hook, line and sinker— a dream Left Behind couldn’t believe would come true.
What about the bold and courageous Dr. Winston Stanley? He certainly took a stand for education and teachers. Dr. Stanley could easily earn this title. To put in print his gut feelings to save church schools is admirable and note worthy. Heroic!
Oh, by the way, a pivotal comment by Clarion Call set the benchmark. His post helped people understand the importance of reading and knowing the contents of the by-laws and constitution. He penned an excellent comment on “term limits”. Because someone accused him falsely, might be the reason why he no longer writes at this time. His writings were revealing and helpful.
There are writers such as Jonah77, Sister Girl, Dolomite, Marian, No Fear, Anonymous(s), Me, Back Field In Motion and many others, by their posts that have influenced members and workers toward positive dialogue. They could be Group of the Year.
Well, who do you think The Person of the Year should be? We would like to hear from you. At the end of the 2011 year we will post the “Person of the Year”. Please list your reasons good or bad why your selection should be named. For me my selections would be The Forgotten Shepherdess, Left Behind, and the Strategic Planning Chairperson–because they accomplished something!
And remember this “it’s never good bye—it’s always—I’ll see you when I get there. HEAVEN IS OUR HOME!