Corey Bullock – Ahwatukee Campus Pastor
Do you ever find yourself wandering aimlessly? You know that place where you have so much on your mind that you just start to move and then you forget why you started moving. For some of you, it’s an age thing! But for most of us, it’s an intention and attention thing.
I get into these phases where I know I have to do something, but in my frenzy of movement I will totally forget why I started in that direction in the first place. Most often this scenario occurs on Sunday morning at church. I typically have at least 5 things on my mind at once on these mornings and my natural response is to walk fast. Somehow, I think that if I just keep moving quickly then I will be able to manage the whirl in my head.
This mentality, however, is akin to ‘happy feet’. This sports cliché is most often used to describe a quarterback that can’t keep his feet set in the pocket. The reason that this is viewed as a negative, is that if your feet are constantly moving then you are not set to throw the ball when you need to get rid of it. Being a former quarterback – no, I couldn’t see over my line – I can relate to this cliché. You have so many pressures bearing down on you and you have to make a split second decision based upon multiple factors and it is hard to keep your feet set. My happy feet would often cause me to miss my opportunity to pass the ball and instead have to resort to tucking it and running it – which at 5’8″ 138 lbs didn’t result in a ton of progress!
I was reading an article that Cal passed along to the campus pastors and I read a line that smacked me in the face. In regards to qualities desired in a great campus pastor, Dan Reiland writes, “They are fast thinkers but slow walkers.”
This is so contrary to my natural response, but something I must embrace in order to effective in my role as a pastor. However, this doesn’t only apply to my pastoral role. I see this quality as an intangible as I navigate relationships with my family at home as well as my interaction with my neighbors. More often that I would like to admit, when I come home I have the same walk-fast mentality because I have so much to accomplish. As a result, I fly right pass the opportunities that are on the way: asking my neighbor how we can help while they are heading out of town – simply saying hello and seeing how people are really doing – embracing my kids as I enter the door instead of finishing that phone call – encouraging and appreciating my wife in her efforts managing the home.
What I have found as a leader is that my approach also rubs off on the people I am interacting with. I perpetuate this busy attitude and consequently I get a bunch of people around me feeling flustered and on edge. In reality, I am squelching the peace inside of me and stealing it from others I am around. In contrast, I actually have the ability foster a peaceful and quiet spirit by embracing a think-fast/walk-slow approach.
For me there are two things that I must do in order to get into this state of mind.
- Intention – I must first realize the kind of environment that I am fostering and the one that I want to create. I must start with the intention to keep the things that are most important to God, important to me. Do I care more about stuff to get accomplished or the people along the way? Are the people in my life simply ‘in the way’ or are they the purpose behind the stuff?
- Attention – Even with good intention, if you don’t slow down enough to pay attention to others, you will blow right passed them. The only way to pay attention is to walk slow enough to observe. You will only catch the things that you take time to observe. Did you notice your neighbors countenance as you waved to them? Did you hear the tone of your kids voice as they told you about their day? Did you catch that opportunity to serve your spouse? Did you observe the opportunity to enter into the chaotic situation of your co-worker?
Think fast but walk slow today! God just might show you something you have been missing.