Willingham Weekend

This month held one weekend set aside for a special conversation about team dynamics facilitated by Dr. Randy Willingham of the Harding University Center for Advanced Ministry Training. Randy and I arrived at Harding the same year, he as an associate Bible professor and I as a student. We had a fortuitous encounter—a divine encounter, if you will—while I was searching for a Bible professor in need of an office assistant. He didn’t even know he could have an office assistant, which put me in a pretty good light. Since then Randy has been an amazing mentor and friend to me. It was a great favor to the team that he would take an entire weekend out of his busy and, more importantly, ministry-packed schedule to help us. 

Randy’s specialty, so to speak, is in conflict resolution and church leadership. In other words, he excels at dealing with group dynamics, systems, and relationships in the ministry context. He is incredibly insightful, which, coupled with his experience, causes him to perceive the truth about people and their relationships. He would also rather I not write these sorts of things, but what can I say? I admire him. The real effectiveness of Randy’s ministry to churches and church leaders is rooted in his strong theology of servant leadership. He courageously works for the good of those he serves—whether they like it or not! I’ve never known anyone with more integrity than Randy Willingham. 

So he lovingly dedicated a weekend to work for our good, and we are still reaping the benefit of it in our ongoing team discussions. To say we spent a weekend on “team dynamics” is a bit vague, so I’ll put it like this. Our hope was that Randy would be doing a lot of prevention--helping us see where our present weaknesses and blind spots might take us in the future. Part of that process, however, entails ferreting out what dysfunction already exists in our attitudes, personalities, and relationships. This takes a good deal of openness and is sometimes quite emotional, but Randy’s deft touch as a facilitator made all the difference. With a little prompting, we had a deeply honest conversation about what we like and do not like about us as a team. Needless to say, we all have a lot of growing to do, but the good news is that we are quite aware of our strengths and weaknesses. To date, we work well as a team, and we are basically ready to jump into life in Peru and face new challenges. It’s almost time! We are so thankful to Randy for giving us a final “tune-up” before we hit the ground running.