Transforming Me: Change Beginning Now

“If you aren’t changing, you’re dying or dead.”

This past week, my friend Bill Adams announced to the mass choirs of the Fort Bend Boys Choir what Bill and I had been discussing for a bit . . . that I would not be returning as the FBBC Town Choir Director. This May will mark my final concert with this great organization. I will, without a doubt, miss the time with the organization and certainly, directing the boys.

Why the change and why now?

In the past couple of years, I have regularly found myself on Thursday afternoons exhausted at the end of a many-hour church week. I simply don’t have time to devote to the FBBC.

Couple that with being a work-a-holic, and you can see the problems I’ve personally developed — weight gain, stress, lack of focus, not enough time to dream, limited family time, Downton Abbey addiction.

Joyfully, I am in my tenth year of serving at First United Methodist Church. During that time, things have changed significantly and I’ve tried to be consistent in my work there. Some moments more successful that others, of course. Facing my limited family time, music ministry needs, increased workload, the arrival of a new dynamic Senior Pastor and my additional responsibilities in the area of Communications, I informed Bill of my intention to depart the FBBC.

No one specifically asked me to do this because of an event or a problem. In fact, I have the luxury of feeling very supported in all that I do both at home and at the church. Simply put, it’s time for me to focus and work on me and devote quality time to family, music ensembles, worship, communication and visioning.

This is the first step of a much longer journey for me.

In addition to being mentored as part of a new program, I’m deep into reading a book entitled Creativity, Inc., written by Pixar head Ed Catmull. I highly recommend this book as a way to rethink leading creative teams. Both have begun to change my thinking significantly.

Why say this on a blog? Mostly, to avoid having multiple discussions with others about why I’m leaving FBBC and what’s up with me.

I ask for your prayers during this time of personal “me-work” as I work through “me-change.”

Stop: You Are The One Who Can Help Me

As we are down a couple a staff members, I’m one of several who have picked up some extra responsibilities. I’ve been putting in extra time helping out. This is a temporary situation, but it has put me behind on some things I really must get done in my ministry areas.

So, I had it all planned. I was headed into my office at the church. I was going to get caught up on many things at the office. Yep, that was MY plan.

Stop, not so fast.

Got a call of a relative who needed help. Crisis time. Nothing really bad but certainly a crisis for them.

She said, “You were the first person I thought of. I really don’t know what else to do. I don’t know where to start. Can you help me?”

Great compliment, really . . . the skills, interests and talents that God gifted me could be the cause of relief in a crisis.

So, I stopped.

Yes, I’m still behind. Yes, I’ll be behind tomorrow. But, it will all get done. And, it felt good to stop — and to be able to render aid.

And so I pray — thank you God for helping me to stop. It was a moment of praise to you that someone thought of my skills could intervene in their crisis.

What if you were asked to stop?

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Yes, It Really Is Christmas in July

For all choir director-type folks, Christmas comes early. We are planners by nature . . . or force of habit . . . so that means research and the ordering Christmas music takes place in the summer months. Mostly in July, really. By then, we are beginning to focus on the Fall matters at hand — schedules, anthems, personnel, volunteers, robe cleaning, music library organization, etc — typically driving our senior pastor friends nuts. After all, we expect sermon plans to be provided from now through the end times. [We may not know the day Jesus is returning, but we’d like to have an anthem in the folder just in case he does.]

So, Christmas begins now, really. My desk is a wreck but it’s all good. Before long, carols will be sung & rung. Now, off to bug Lynne about sermon plans!

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After One Week Back at the Office . . . .

The planning and preparation it takes for one to leave office almost makes it worth not going. But, now that I’ve been back for a week, the amount of things that are now in the planning stages or that I have to execute are enormous, too. Now, I’m not whining . . . I love my ministry work. However, a simple view of my desk shows the current status of all my projects — in progress. Sigh.

Church musicians, can I get a witness?

The panorama shot distorts the actual shape of my desk. However, it does show the ministry clutter I seem to have accumulated.
The panorama shot distorts the actual shape of my desk. However, it does show the ministry clutter I seem to have accumulated.

Vacation Blog: Little Rock and Arkadelphia

Beautiful travel day as we drove from Nashville to Little Rock. We had never been to the Clinton Presidential Library. Rhonda made friends with the volunteer greeter at the library, a very sweet WWII vet who was a Navy man. He was very excited to hear the tales of our graduation experience in Great Lakes, IL. We took the tour of the library and walked the old railroad bridge that crosses the river. We’ve been to many historic sites, with actors portraying those historical figures who lived there. This is the first time we’ve been able to hear a historical figure talking about himself. Finished the day with a great meal with John and Christine, Rhonda’s sister and brother-in-law. We spent the night in their home . . . sans all our wonderful kids. Can’t remember when that last occurred.

Heading back to Missouri City on Wednesday.

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