I was sitting down to write an email update for my campus. It was an update that included some information about a possible permanent location we were praying about. I could not have been more excited. Moving into a permanent location was a big deal in my mind at the time. I really wanted to make it happen.
As I wrote the email, I was convinced that the Holy Spirit was flowing through my finger tips, into my computer and onto the screen in front of me. The words were powerful and the vision was impossible to miss. I was going to grab everyone’s attention and we were going to have 100% participation involvement from the campus in making it happen.
I finished the email with a gleam in my eye. I briefed it for spelling and grammar mistakes. I even had my wife read over it to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Once I got the go ahead from her, I hit the “Send” button. The personal sense of accomplishment was overwhelming. If Jesus Himself were standing there in the flesh, He would have made a fist and said, “Pound it.” I mean, this was good stuff.
Then about an hour passed by. My phone rang and the caller ID said, “Your boss.” This was it. A call of congratulations. He must be calling to congratulate me on such a wonderful email update that I had just sent out. But the conversation didn’t quite go as I anticipated.
I had missed many details from conversations that had happened behind closed doors. I failed to include information that was imperative to reaching our goal. The email had been worded in such a way that it almost promised that we were going to be making a move when that was anything but accurate. I had found myself on a windy corner. Out there on my own with no backup. No one to support what I had written. This was not good, because I can’t make good on a multi-million dollar land deal on a campus pastor salary. You feel me?
So what exactly is the windy corner? Imagine you’re hiking a mountain. You are tied to the other members of your team with a rope. That way if someone slips and begins to slide, others are there to grab the rope and hopefully stop them from getting seriously injured. Mt. McKinley in Alaska has a stop at around 13,000 ft. that is called “Windy Corner.” Being on a windy corner means you are in dangerous territory, especially if you don’t have support.
You do not want to be on the windy corner alone. The way is already treacherous enough, why add more by going it alone and not having proper backup? And if things start to go badly, even when you are able to correct the mistake, the damage has already been done. You can undermine your own leadership, affecting the level of trust others will place in you. You can show signs of insubordination to those leading you. You can also break trust with them. As a campus pastor, this is not the position you want to be in. My story is one example of many. You can also find yourself on a windy corner in these ways…
- Changing your small group/discipleship strategy.
- Adding, shifting or removing staff, including volunteer staff.
- Changing vision language either intentionally or unintentionally.
So how do you avoid ending up on a windy corner? Here are 2 keys that I have learned.
One of the best ways to stay off the windy corner is to over communicate with your supervisor. Ask them lots of questions. Seek to understand before speaking to others about vision and direction. It’s nearly impossible to communicate clearly to the campus you lead if you aren’t on the same page with those above you. Proverbs 4:5 – “Get wisdom, develop good judgment.”
Learn the art of “I don’t know!”
I want to have the right answer when anyone asks. If I don’t, my insecurity kicks in and I immediately think, “I bet they don’t think I know what I’m doing. They are probably laughing at me right now because I didn’t have the answer.” This is pride and ego getting in my way. We have to remove those thoughts from our mind. Learning the art of saying, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I will find out this week,” is a very wise answer. And people will respect you and your leadership more for this kind of honesty. Proverbs 17:27 – “A truly wise person uses few words.”
Have you ever found yourself on the windy corner? What did you do? What are keys you would add to help others avoid getting caught on the windy corner? Hit me up in the comments below.