I think I’m holding this upside down.

sumerian cell phone

I can’t really say for sure.  Any ancient Sumerian readers out there?

Wow, there’s so much this spring I realize I haven’t brought to the blog.  Past stories I’ve left hanging out there like a piano dangling between the first and second story (better get back to that one soon).  I haven’t mentioned Mundelein.  Haven’t talked about the 2030 Calling.  So, I’ll try to work my way back to those in a series of shorter, more frequent posts.  Let me start here.  Last week.  Schuyler, Nebraska (for those nubes out there, you say it SKY-LER).

gfm central sbc lake

So my staff team does this retreat pretty much every year.  Last year was my first year to be with this bunch of Graduate Faculty Staff members.  This is the team I currently lead.  I am glad to report that the only person not appearing in this year’s photo – who was in last year’s photo – is the former team leader, Carrie Bare.  Carrie, where ever you are, here’s your old team after a year of being subjected to my leadership.  They don’t look too worse for the wear.

This is a significant moment for me.  Here’s what my first full year of team leading has involved.  This wasn’t true of the year leading up to that by the way.  Year one as you recall was MPD, MPD, MPD.

  • 19 campus visits connecting up with staff and volunteers in the following towns:  St. Louis, Columbia, Lawrence, Manhattan, Emporia, Iowa City, Des Moines, Ankeny, Ames (odd, no Lincoln yet, hmmm).
  • Weekly prayer calls with some of my team-members via Zoom most Monday mornings at 9:30.
  • Monthly Zoom staff meetings as an area team.
  • Supervision of my team’s finances and their Ministry Partnership Development (MPD).
  • Supervision of each team member’s Annual Ministry Plan and how they are doing developing their work on campus.

I’m tired.  This time of the year is a good mental resting place because the campus visits will pause for the summer and we’ll all be able to take a deep breath.  Just in time for job performance reviews and Regional Staff conference.  There you have it.  A year in the life of a GFM supervisor.

solarium sbc

Retreat this year had a lot of space for catching up as a team.  Formally and informally.  My two favorite team moments were the two nights we were able to hang out in the solarium at the St. Benedict Center.  It’s a quite, library-esque space with a tall, tall pointy wooden ceiling, lots of windows and bookshelves.  One team member noted that he felt my wood-wick candle had truth serum infused in it.  We took turns over the course of two short evenings catching up and praying for each other.  My team has worked hard.  Several of them are in serious moments of change on their family and ministry timelines.  The work at a few of our schools is at a difficult place and we’d like to see more fruit from our labors.  Please keep us in your prayers!

Two other favorite moments.

When you spend a lot of time and trouble getting to a beautiful place only to encounter a disappointing speaker or an activity that just doesn’t connect – it can take more energy out of you than what gets put in.  I’m not going to say everything we did at retreat was just over the moon, but we did all seem to enjoy Dr. Eric Smith on tuesday afternoon.  And pretty much everyone raved about David Brooks on wednesday morning.  Yup we had David Brooks at our staff retreat.  But first, the guy you might not have heard about, Eric Smith.

eric smith

One of our core commitments in GFM is the integration of faith and academic discipline.

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