Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday Happennings!

More wall hangings - the wedding certificate is now accompanied by two signature photo mattes from the Wichita reception!

More time to decorate the apartment with two homemade wedding gifts (above)!

A morning note on the bathroom mirror to celebrate turning twenty-seven!

A birthday note left on my desk!

Dinner out! Having fun! Oh, and unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the beautiful and tasty strawberry cake that Jill made for me!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

El Amor De Dios

One of the special treats of the past week included the visit of Sergio and Luisa Ayala and their two children. They drove all the way from Nueva Rosita,Coahuila, Mexico to join us for the wedding reception, but we were also able to spend some more informal moments with them in the week leading up to the reception. This was one of my very favorite times - we gathered with Andrew and Jennifer in our living room and sang in Spanish as Sergio played the guitar.

Wedding Reception in Wichita

Adam and I were blessed, by his very generous friends and family, with a beautiful second wedding reception here in Wichita, KS this past Sunday. We were absolutely overwhelmed by the number of people who came to celebrate with us - quite literally from all over the heartland! I got to meet new faces of so many people who have been an integral part of Adam's life and was so grateful for this day!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Single Most Effective Evangelistic Methodology

The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches. Without exception, the growing denominations have been those that stress church planting.

-Peter Wagner, Church Planting for Greater Harvest

Friday, August 13, 2010

Solving "Problems"...or maybe not

...not all problems are equal. Some problems are temporary in nature. Unfortunantely, we are often incapable of discerning a temporary problem from a permanent one in the moment, and the result is that we create a system or a process that ultimately inhibits our future creating.

The more structures we have to navigate in order to do our work, the more difficult it is to do our best work. When we are required to resolve the dissonance of complex systems, reporting relationships and accountability structures just in order to get our objectives and check off our direction we will begin to lose our drive to do brilliant work. Over time, this complexity only pulls entire organizations toward systematic mediocrity.

Have you ever found something that worked for you once, so you started to incorporate it into all of your work?...These examples follow the same "permanent solution to temporary problem" mindset we must be careful to avoid.

Each time we add a system or process to our creating it increases the amount of energy required just to get to the actual work. These sub-problems that must be solved significantly zap our ability to engage effectively, especially in a create-on-demand role.

--excerpts from Permanent Solutions To Temporary Problems 7/30/10 by Todd Henry, found on the blog, article recommended by David Norman

Remember the post about the five attributes of a church in decline? One of those attributes was complex structure. The natural tendency of organizations is to add complexity to their structure and systems. The longer an organization exists, the more complex is typically gets. (Think government, big business, denominations...and older churches.)

One of the reasons I think new church plants are so effective reaching new people is because they are typically very lean. The structure is simple. The ministry strategy is very focused. The mission is clear. Then, as the church ages, the ministry strategy gets more complex as multipe new programs and events get layered on. Eventually growth slows or plateaus as the complexity increases, and then our solution is new structure or systems or rules to fix the problem.

If there's a problem, our natural tendency is never to do less - we always try something new.

If there's a problem, our natural tendency is to increase controls - we think people are the problem and we implement rules and policies to make sure they get it right.

What is the solution to the problem is few controls? What if the fix is less complexity?

Are you willing to get focused and lean again?
--excerpts from Complexity Leads to Systematic Mediocrity 8/2/10 by found on

This stuff reminds me heavily of a sesson at last week's Global Leadership Summit where Andy Stanley lectured on "The Upside of Tension". Below are his notes:

I. Every organization has problems that shouldn’t be solved and tensions that shouldn’t be resolved.
A. For example: What’s more important? Excellence V. financial prudency, family V. work, marketing V. sales, and flexibility V. systems: you can’t resolve or solve, you can just manage!
B. If you “resolve” any of those tensions, you will create a new tension.
C. If you resolve any of those tensions, you create a barrier to progress (a new tension, but not always immediately visible/evident)
D. Progress depends not on the resolution of those tensions but on the successful management of those tensions.

II. To distinguish between problems to solve and tensions to manage, ask the following:
A. Does this problem or tension keep resurfacing?
B. Are there mature advocates for both sides?
C. Are the who sides really interdependent?

III. The role of leadership is to leverage the tension to the benefit of the organization.
A. Identify the tensions to be managed in your organization.
B. Create terminology: “I guess that’s a tension we just have to manage.”
C. Inform your core.
D. Continually give value to both sides.
E. Don’t weigh in too heavily based on your personal biases.
-Understand the upside of the opposite side and the downside of your side
F. Don’t allow strong personalities to win the day
-need passionate enough people to champion their side, but mature enough people to understand this reality
G. Don’t think in terms of balance (or just or fair). Think rhythm (or season).

Conclusion: As a leader, one of the most valuable things you can do for your organization is to differentiate between tensions your organization will always need to manage vs. problems that need to be solved.

Friday, August 6, 2010

1,000 Words

(The first time Adam and I saw each other in our wedding apparel. I love my Grandma's expectant look in the background. Could be a Norman Rockwell scene!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our First Dinner Guest!

Nate drove up from his training site near Tulsa, OK to visit Adam and I in our new apartment! It was such a treat to have a family member in Wichita, KS of all places. The funny thing is that the evening before Nathaniel arrived, Adam and I met my uncle Jim from Colorado in Wichita for dinner. Adam said to me, "Sarah, is this your hometown or mine?!"

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rock Creek Night Trail Marathon

8:00 pm, Saturday night, July 31st, standing at the starting line of my first ever Trail Marathon. I'd run 20 road marathons prior but this was my first trail marathon. Oh yeah, and within 30 minutes it got dark. Real dark! Pitch dark in the woods dark. Navigating through the rocks and roots and mud and muck and ups and downs. So much fun! Below is the t-shirt image and starting line photo.

I finished in 5 hours and 10 minutes. I didn't have too much of a goal. Just finish, maybe somewhere around 5 hours. I was very happy with the finish time and with my effort on the trail - didn't walk much at all and pushed it the whole way. That's a 11.8 min/mile average which on a trail and in the pitch darkness - with a headlamp and handheld flashlight in mid to upper 80s temps and deep woods humidity - I was totally content with. I drank and ate enough to stay well and was really glad when it was over! Pretty much after the first couple miles of running in a pack, I stayed behind or in front of Tony Clark and Stuart Johnson all the way to pretty much the end. They kept up a great pace and they were a blast to run with and listen to their stories. I loved the 5 mile "Great White Shark" inner loop (something like miles 11-16) that was by far the easiest part of the course where I really flew! Below are the 'finish line' photos. Results: