Balcony Time

Dear Friends in Christ –

Over the last month or so I have been a participant in a virtual learning program through Hood Seminary in Salisbury as a part of my annual minister’s continuing education requirement set by the North Carolina Synod – ELCA. Every year ELCA pastors are required to receive 40-hours of continuing education to maintain our professional credentials. This reflects our church’s commitment to a gospel that encourages Christians to be always growing.

The course in which I’m enrolled is focused on business best practices in leading project launches in congregations. This training could not have come at a better time since we at Our Saviour are beginning to work on many projects that will impact our future. I will be sharing the processes for successful project launches and implementation to our leadership that I learned from this course. That way, our leaders will be encouraged to join me in always growing.

During this week’s class I was introduced to the importance of something called balcony time.  Although it’s a concept developed for leaders it’s also wisdom that can be applied to any life for more effective living. Balcony time is defined as time set apart from the usual detailed business of life to focus on the big picture to gain perspective and vision for the future. In any given week, so many things call for our attention at church, work and home that we can get completely caught up in chasing the day-to-day business of business.  After a while, if gone unchecked such busy-ness can have us working harder but accomplishing less in life. Burnout is often the result.

According to leadership experts, when we set apart sabbaths from productivity to make balcony time, we afford ourselves the opportunity to see things in a different way and find more direct ways of addressing the essential things in life rather than simply always chasing what seem to be urgent things.  By stepping up to the balcony for as little as an hour or two a week, we gain perspective on what’s happening on the dance floor of our life.

Be forewarned, balcony time is not idle time. It’s not taking a nap. It’s the opposite of going to sleep. It’s highly active time spent viewing life and activity from a bird’s eye view. It’s assessment time. It’s time for taking a distanced view of everything going on and deciding what is essential and what is not. When we are caught up in the busyness of life, we think we are spending time on essential things when in fact we are spending time only on urgent things whose urgency is defined by others.  Balcony time breaks the stranglehold of urgency and allows us to use our best minds in discerning direction and decision.

During this summer of adventure and activity, I encourage you to take balcony time every week to discover what the essentials are in your life. In August, our Church Council has committed to going on a retreat for some balcony time.  We will not encourage you to do that which we ourselves are not committed.
Happy balcony time this season!

Pastor Frank

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