Welcome to The SHAPE of a Leader. I write this blog with the SHAPE leadership development program (for women pastors) I lead in mind, but it is for all who are interested in leadership, faith, and the intersection of the two.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Worth the Risk

 "Safe is good for sidewalks and swimming pools but life requires risk if we are to get anywhere."  (Simon Sinek)

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, a friend and colleague, Deanna, and her elementary-aged boys were talking about the events, wondering what they could do.  They noticed a typical elementary school craft project of an angel hanging at Deanna's computer and they decided to make some angels and send them.  But a few angels can only touch a few lives.  They decided that 750 angels was better than a few.  It was Tuesday.  Then they realized that all these kids would be going on winter break and they had to get these 750 angels sent in the mail the next day!

With faith like children, these boys believed that if they asked friends and family to help it was possible.  So Deanna took the risk and send email to 50 people.  That email spread.  Angels started arriving at Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan, MN.  A business called and said they wanted to pay for overnight shipping.  And the angels kept coming. As angels were dropped off, stories were told.  Before the angels were packed up, they were prayed over, and cried over. Preschoolers made angels and hugged them as they let them go.  The elderly made angels; executives and stay at home moms made angels. In 24 hours, over 1100 angels arrived. In 24 hours, 1100 angels were being overnighted to Newtown CT as a sign that the people of Sandy Hook elementary are not alone.  Angels are watching over them. 

It would have been so easy to say, "that's a great idea boys, but it's really impossible."  But she didn't. Together they took the risk and in taking the risk, not only were lives in Newtown CT touched, but lives in the Twin Cities, were changed by coming together to do a little thing for grieving souls.  

Safe is for sidewalks and swimming pools.  If we want to change the world, we must take risks.  It won't happen in any other way.  Individuals need to take the risk to speak their truth, whatever that may be.  Leadership teams need to take the risk that might just propel the organization forward, when it would be much easier to play it safe and maintain the status quo. My challenge to myself in 2013 will be to ask, continually, if there's a risk I should be taking right now.

Merry Christmas Newtown, CT.  You are not alone.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Re-claiming Christmas

Our theme at church this Advent is "Re-claiming Christmas."  For me, that would look like putting the focus back where it's supposed to be - with the expectation and arrival of the birth of Jesus Christ.  And actually, I've been forced to all but forget the commercialism of Christmas this year.  Truthfully, haven't really had time to shop or decorate due to final papers being due in this first semester of grad school.  Ok that's one small step.  

I've carved out purposeful time reflecting on what this whole season means to me.  And, I've spent time in this wonderful devotional a woman in my church community creates each year (you can find it here: http://easter.org/wordpress/advent-devotional-2012-re-claiming-christmas/  ).  The hidden blessing in all of this is that through these simple acts, I've taken the long journey from my head to my heart, where the joy and hope of Advent and Christmas seemed to have lodged themselves securely.  

How are you re-claiming Christmas? If you're not Christian, I'm sure there's something in your life you need to re-claim. What is it?  How are you going about that?

May the peace and joy of this season, Hanukkah, Christmas, or otherwise, fill you, your family, and your corner of the world.