Lead Like Butler: Six Principles for Values-Based Leaders is a good read in which authors Kent Millard and Judith Cebula define six dimensions of what Butler University athletes call “The Butler Way.” Being a former basketball player and serious sports fan, the nomenclature “The Butler Way” has caught my imagination.
Indeed this concept inspired the Conference Leadership Team to include in our Conference’s Ministry Action Plan a value we call “The North Alabama Way.” This value consists of the following six basic principles that guide how we do ministry in North Alabama.
- Team matters.
Here in North Alabama, “team matters” is more than a catchy phrase. It is a way of functioning based on our understanding that: 1) God is our ultimate team leader; 2) we are stronger together than as individuals; and 3) teams are typically more generative than solo leaders.
- Respond rather than react.
This is easier said than done, especially in the current cultural and church context! We are committed, though, to anticipating and responding to situations instead of reacting to them. This includes pushing the pause button when emotions are driving conversations . . . turning off the computer instead of shooting off reactive emails . . . and prayerfully considering the ideas of those who disagree with us.
- What we do is of critical importance. How we do it is of equal importance.
Content, programs and doctrine are only part of the equation. How we deliver our message . . . live our lives . . . and handle situations can strengthen or diminish our actions and our witness for Christ.
- The higher the expectations, the greater the outcome.
We have high expectations here in North Alabama. We expect our growing churches to continue growing and our declining churches to turn around. We envision spiritual leaders empowering life-giving congregations to transform the world. We anticipate that we will discover, develop and deploy more and more spiritual leaders to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We look forward to God continuing to work through the North Alabama Conference to reach increasing numbers of people for Christ.
- Move as quickly as we can and as slowly as we need to, for as long as it takes.
This “pacing” principle requires three qualities: a sense of urgency . . . the discipline to slow down when necessary . . . and the patience to keep on keeping on. Such pacing is an art that allows us to move forward together.
- Follow the process and honor integrity at all levels of the system.
We acknowledge that we do not always get this principle right. However, when we realize that we have jumped steps or levels in our own processes and system, we are committed to self-correcting.
I have a deep appreciation for "The Butler Way." I am even more enthralled with the North Alabama Way – six principles which guide how we do ministry together in our Annual Conference.
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference
See more at: www.umcna.org/ministryactionplan