As I sit composing this column, what stories are playing out in CHHSM ministries? What is happening in the great “meanwhile” of this community of healing and service? I find it a powerfully humbling leadership practice to sit quietly and imagine all the good that’s underway beyond my immediate situation — the meanwhile. My mind’s eye envisions scenes of an elder being escorted to chapel, a teenager’s tender smile as he strokes a horse’s withers, a woman sobbing in the arms of her counselor as her story of abuse pours out. I know all these scenes and thousands more are playing out in the CHHSM meanwhile.
I invite you to stop, close your eyes and see the meanwhile. Do it right now, before you read another word. What do you see? How does it move you? How will what you do today be done differently because you have seen the meanwhile?
The simple discipline of imagining the meanwhile points to a new way of leading to which we aspire in CHHSM. It is a way grounded in spiritual practices of introspection and connection; a way guided by deep self-awareness and emotional intelligence; a way that recognizes the critical importance of placing ourselves and our organizations in the context of the larger movement of Christian service that is God’s work in the world. This way of leadership recognizes that our work is fundamentally countercultural, subversive, and even foolish. The world does not ultimately value or reward our vocation. Clearly our calling is not of this world and we are certainly not called to be worldly leaders. We are, indeed, called to be “fools for Christ.”
This fall, CHHSM will launch the Nollau Institute, a new expression of our diakonal community’s ongoing mission to “sustain and advance the work of healing and service as a ministry of the church of Jesus Christ.” If you seek the strength, knowledge and skill to be a foolish leader who imagines a meanwhile filled with glimpses of God’s realm, Nollau is for you!
To find out more about the Nollau Institute, click here.