Wednesday, April 29, 2009

[UTCCF] Leadership Retreats

Questions:
How do we develop new leaders? Why do I need to lead / serve? What areas do I need to develop as a leader / individual? What is my calling / purpose and how does it fit into the big picture?

How Leadership Retreat fits in:
UTCCF's leadership retreats seek to provide one of many ways of addressing these questions. But first, I want to address some possible misconceptions.

Misconceptions:
1. Leadership Retreats are like other retreats. While the leadership retreats can be like previous retreats, the term "retreat" is meant to speak to the heart of what we do. That is, to create an environment where aspiring leaders can vision together, share ideas, and encourage each other. The "retreat" aspect comes from this being a time set-apart for leadership development and developing our visions.

2. Workshops are central to the retreats. Yes, there could be workshops. Yes, we're here to develop skills. However, these things are not central to the leadership retreats. The heart of leadership retreat is this: exploring and developing our spiritual gifts

The Idea:
1. Consistency: The retreats are meant to happen on a consistent basis and not just a one-time thing. This is to allow us to live and to learn (Jon Fung, 2009). To develop and encourage each other as leaders and to live it out in summer CCF, and in other events (planning, Bible studies, outreach).

2. 1+1>2: 1+1 can equal 3, 10, 100000, etc. The idea behind this is the power of synergy, that together, we can be so much more. It's a leadership principle. A business management principle. And also, inspired from the Bible. That we are all part of the Body. We are unique and varying in our abilities, gifts, and passions. There is power (i.e. 1+1>2) when we realize our common vision and purpose and unite together.

3. Applying 1+1>2: In the Leadership Retreats, we will have different leaders to lead different groups that focus on different parts of the Body. Some will be more focused on administration, others on prayer, others on listening / counseling, others on mentorship, others on planning, others on sports, ... and the list goes on. In these groups, participants will have opportunity to: 1. Explore their gifts, 2. Develop their gifts, and ultimately, 3. Exercise their gifts through commitment. 
Explore, Develop, Commit

EDC
1. Explore: different groups that may be of interest
2. Develop: your gifts/skills/passions through workshops, discussion groups, and leadership opportunities in summer CCF and preliminary planning for CCF 2009-2010.
3. Commit: to the Body of Christ. If that "Body" is CCF, contribute in developing and living out God's calling in your life through CCF.

Take-away
Leadership Retreats are meant to contribute to developing the cutting edge. To help sharpen the individual (through the Word and Community), and together, to live out the cutting edge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sharp References :)
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Running: A Vision for the Future

I'm at the computers in Gerstein after an afternoon run. I just finished church (Meeting House), Sunday school (TCBC, relationships), and lunch (Cantonese Fried Noodles, leftovers). I went for a jog and took a few laps around Queen's Park. What follows are some reflections during my run:

Law of Conservation in Running

Energy in = Energy out

As I was running, I was not feeling too good, pausing to walk every few minutes of running. This was shortly after my very "healthy" lunch. While I definitely enjoyed the food, I realized the impacts it had on my performance as a runner. I mean, not just intuitively, but I felt the impact it had. The key is this: it's not just about having energy to fuel your performance, but also about the quality of the energy. And this is contrasted to yesterday, where I had eggs and juice before my dragonboat workout. While I am not suggesting a particular diet, I would argue that eggs/juice is a "slightly" better combo than fried noodles. And I felt really great throughout the workout too - despite the rigor, intensity, and the soreness / tiredness after.

In the same way, in our lives, this law of conservation applies. What you feed yourself affects your performance. This applies to all areas. The habits you build as a student are related to your academic performance. The things you read or watch influence your thinking ("performance"). Reading quality literature vs reading not so good writing. Speaking of influence, the friends you expose yourself to often shape the way you think, behave, and talk. I jokingly tell my friends that I am very prone to peer pressure and fight it by choosing who to be influenced by. While this is not totally true, you become what you feed yourself. You plant an apple tree, you get apples - don't expect strawberries.

A Vision for the Future

As I was running, I was reflecting upon the imminent task ahead. Unless other things arise, I will be serving CCF as vice-chair for 2009-2010 ... and I am scared. I am worried that I will fail. Worried about this and that. And I continually entrust these fears and worries to my God. On the flip side, I am also very excited and fired up! There are so many leaders rising up. There is so much potential. There is a growing sense of unity - though pockets of disunity still exist. So anyways, the point is this: we're all growing and we are going to grow together.

The thought of Growing Together came to me as I was running. I was running by myself today, but others will join me. As I was running around Queen's Park, I began to pull back and just reflect. I noticed that there are just trees with no leaves - very barren. However, a closer look reveals many buds. These buds will eventually develop into beautiful flowers and leaves of multiple colors and shapes. And this is what gets me so excited: We are all on a journey together to develop our own cutting edge. Each of us has a unique purpose, a unique "color and shape", yet we are all part of one "sword". We have different "edges" but we have one common purpose. In the Christian context, that is to know God and make Him known (as my brother Jon would say).

And I began to imagine. To vision. To dream. That each week we run around Queen's Park, we would see these buds slowly develop into beautiful plants, fruits, and flowers. Each week we run, we will see each other get faster, build endurance, and grow in friendship. And each step we take in life, we will have the joy of seeing each other grow in maturity, beauty, and strength. And such is the joy that I have had a taste of, seeing CCF grow and develop, change and evolve, from when I was in 1st year (2004-2005), to now entering my 1st year in graduate studies.

It is my desire that these three will be preserved: unity, truth, and love.