Life Lessons I’ve Learned (Part 2)

by Rob Appel

Executive Director

Last month I wrote the top ten things I learned while in my current position. I’ve been in this job now for the past twelve and a half years. So, what have I learned? Please check out 11-22.

11. We are in this world, but not a part of it.

Too many of our churches are starting to behave in ways that reflect this world, the society they are in, and the culture around them. This disturbs me. Rather than reflect a God that doesn’t change and is compassionate, we are acting like our politicians, talking trash to people we love, forgetting to forgive but rather planning on how we are going to retaliate, posting pictures on social media that show us in situations that we wouldn’t want our mothers to see. This has got to stop! We are to reflect Christ!

12. Don’t compare yourself or try to be someone else.

I came into this job not knowing what it entailed, or even why God would put me here. After all, I am not a pastor, and except K.D. Hurley (a man I admired a lot) there had been a string of them in this position. There’s always someone out there who is smarter, who has better relationships, who has more influence. Comparing yourself or trying to be someone else is a game you’ll never win. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”

13. If you’re passionate, you’ll prioritize.

I am watching our younger Directors taking on more and more ministry opportunities. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you want something done, ask a busy

man.” This is absolutely true! These passionate Directors are making things happen! Maybe too fast for some of you, but things are getting done!

14. When is something really an issue?

People like to talk. People like to vent. Sometimes people just need someone to really listen to them. They are not looking for a fix. They don’t want you to solve their problem. They just want you to listen and care — and then you need to let it go. If it is a real issue you should deal with, they will let you know.

15. Overall, people are good and want to do the right thing, I think.

For the most part, the world is a good place, and the people in it are just as good. But every once in awhile some comment, accusation, or assumption will come your way, usually out of the blue, and it will cause you to lose your step or take your breath away. I am not sure why we want to see people in positions of authority knocked down, but we sure have our cameras ready to capture their fall. Why someone would deliberately tell stories or fabricate lies in order to push their agenda is beyond me.

16. A good sense of humor can diffuse a tense situation.

Laughter is the best medicine. I’ve learned that in tense situations, a quick funny comment can diffuse an anxious situation. I grew up making people

laugh and my brothers and sister all have a keen sense of humor. So it is not surprising that so do my wife and kids. Laughter is healthy. More than just

brightening up your day, sharing a good laugh can actually improve your health. The sound of laughter draws people together in ways that trigger healthy

physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; strengthen your immune system; and diminish pain.

17. I can’t change the world.

But I can affect the people I come in contact with, and overall I can work to raise great leaders in this denomination.

18. I learned to have a thicker skin.

That’s probably one of the biggest lessons. It isn’t always easy though.

20. I have learned how to give grace.

This is also very hard to do especially when what you really want to do is chastise the individual for being rude.

21. Time and timing.

I’ve learned it’s not a question of “having” the time, it’s a question of “making” the time. Everyone’s life is busy, but we make time for our priorities.

22. TRUST!

It is something that we need more in this Conference of churches! We need it in our church and in our denomination. We claim to have trust in our pastors

and leaders, but our actions say differently. This prevalent sub-culture has lasted the test of time, so that it seems it is a part of us. It is a murky part of us

and we need to get rid of this junk.

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