Last December, 60 Minutes featured a segment on the growing practice of mindfulness; a self-awareness that scientists say is very healthy but rarely achieved in today’s world of digital distractions. Mindfulness is gaining traction in today’s corporate world where employees often complain of being overwhelmed by life. I enjoyed the piece primarily because I’ve benefitted from practicing mindfulness myself. Regular moments of silence and solitude bring clarity to my own life. But most of all, I was a bit jealous of Google’s resident mindfulness guru and his creative job. Chade-Meng Tan’s official title is “Jolly Good Fellow.” He describes his task as “enlightening minds, opening hearts and creating world peace.” I remarked that it must be some kind of special place to work where your title actually reflects the desires of your heart. And Google’s not the only place getting creative. Many businesses are jumping on the title bandwagon. Some of the most popular today include: Sales Ninja, New Media Guru, Happiness Advocate, Social Media Trailblazer, and Communications Ambassador.
So it’s no surprise that when I read a job posting from a Christian Reformed Church in Southern California I was intrigued. The title from Crossroads CRC grabbed me: “Mission Catalyst” and the written description was full of energy and movement. The position embodies a desire to partner with church members in becoming “bold Jesus proclaimers and active world changers.” My first response was “Yes! Finally, someone gets it.” Everything I read in the description seemed to point to things I value most and even gave me a bit of a tingle to wonder how we might do more together. I’ll admit I had reservations at first– our denomination is not known for being creative when it comes to organizational structure so this was a gamble. Having little time to waste, I took a leap and submitted my packet.
This past week, I had the pleasure of spending time with the dream-weavers of Crossroads CRC. I arrived in San Marcos on a Thursday morning and for the next 4 days, listened and dialogued with a wide variety of people: church leaders, retired folks, high school students, couples, women and even a Bonhoeffer
Fan Club Small Group. In each setting, I was impressed with the vibrant conversation, the honest reflections of where people would like to experience personal spiritual growth and the real desire to be used by God to make the world a better place. I also enjoyed a lot of laughter. Too often, we take church work so seriously and the joy is sucked right out of the process. What a thrill it is when people can get together and share stories of our “mini fiascos”–those times when we didn’t get things exactly right. I also found it refreshing to engage in witty banter…that back and forth that comes easily among friends. Just a little piece of heaven for me. A word I came to adore during my time there was winsome...sweetly or innocently charming; winning; engaging. How can you not love a place that uses such words?
It wasn’t just the people I met who made the visit remarkable. The surroundings contributed to an overall euphoric experience. Southern California had recently had rain and the rolling foothills radiated bright green, a nice change from the typical low desert landscape. The church itself has the feel of a calm sanctuary set off from the hustle and bustle of the city. and I was afforded moments of clarity and insight, something quite rare when the purpose of a visit is to meet and talk to as many people as possible.
Aside from the general good will I received from church members, I was nervous to make a good impression with the senior pastor and key leaders. As a recovering performance junkie, it’s always a bit of a strange internal tug-of-war between being completely open and honest and fighting the need to be liked by everyone I meet. I needn’t have worried…because when I met Mark and Arlan and Bill and “All The Others,” only gratefulness pours from me as I was welcomed into community with them. I still shake my head in wonder at how fortunate I am to learn and take baby steps in discovering what “bold Jesus proclaimers” looks like in this new context. What I came to realize is that my unique strengths and gifts are some of the extra puzzle pieces needed to keep the bigger picture in focus. How absolutely refreshing to find out that someone needs what I can offer. And honestly, isn’t that the kind of job you want to have?
Sure, it’s cool that this job has the best title of any out there. But when the purpose of the position matches your passion it’s kind of like you found that sweet spot where time seems to stand still and things around you come into living color. What a gift from God!