Monday, March 11, 2013

Are You Dull?

The task list is daunting, even overwhelming. Winter Blast retreats wrapped up merely 2 weeks ago and this Friday we’ll be welcoming the Men’s Retreat, both my responsibilities. In addition I’m recruiting, interviewing and hiring 40 college students all while prepping for summer camp.

Last week I set it all aside for 3 days to learn, grow and be sharpened. Grace Adventures is a part of the Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA) and last week was our Super Sectional where over 500 people from 70 camps in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio gathered at Gull Lake Ministries. I went to workshops on bullying, spiritual experiences in camping, marriage in ministry and parenting fears. In the general sessions I heard from a dynamic speaker and raised my voice in worship. I played (and won) a giant game of Hungry Hippos and Twister. I shared meals with other camping professionals walking the same path and we laughed, commiserated, advised, comforted and prayed together.

Ascent & PACE interns with some hungry, hungry hippos.

The theme for the conference was ‘Like Iron’ from Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  As leaders it can be easy to get caught up in what must be done, today and in the weeks to come. We can lose sight of the bigger picture of our job, ministry or organization. In taking time to fully engage in the CCCA conference, I chose to be sharpened personally and professionally and returned better equipped to lead in my role.

What do you do to “get sharpened”? Consider these ideas to further your professional or personal development.

Attend a conference.  CCCA is an easy one for me because it’s specific to camping ministry. Think outside the box. I’d love to attend conferences on public speaking and story writing to make me more effective.

Listen to a new podcast or webinar. If you have a 20 minute commute, run or get ready in the morning this is an easy way to get new information. Michael Hyatt writes and does podcasts on intentional leadership. Tim Elmore at writes on leading the next generation. CPYU sends me a weekly email rounding up articles on understanding culture to impact culture. Twitter is a great way to find new articles, authors and speakers.

Read books, blogs, magazines or newspaper articles. In my last post I mentioned that our staff is reading TheAdvantage. Other books I’ve already read or have started this year include Eats, Shoots and Leaves (on grammar), Everybody’s Normal Till You Get To Know Them, Imagine: How Creativity Works and Victory Over Darkness. Many leadership experts will release their yearly booklists which I find to be a great resource. I also ask my supervisor, friends and other camping people what they are reading for ideas.  

Network. Find someone doing what you’re doing and build a relationship.  For me, a relational driver, this is key. I am so thankful to have met other people in camping ministry who are program directors, associate directors, and guest service representatives. We email, call and sit down in person when we get the chance. It’s nourishing for me personally but also in my job function. I get new ideas, encouragement and inspiration. It’s also nice when you can bring up a strange camp scenario and have someone genuinely say, “I know what you mean.”
Over 500 people from 70 camps at the CCCA conference. source

So what about you? Are you dull or are you being sharpened? What is one way this week that you can explore a new topic or idea to grow in your leadership?