I'm borrowing a theme from today's announced Nobel Peace Prize in Literature, Bob Dylan because for me, 'The Times They Are a Changin'...
In just a few days, I'm heading back to Toronto for 3 weeks. In the 10 days that I've been home, I've caught up on life, with friends, work a few yard projects that needed to be done and many other things.
The one task that I've been avoiding in the past 10 days is writing this article. This article really marks a significant shift for me as my fade from active involvement in BC becomes complete.
For 9 years, serving the leaders of BC has been the focus of my work and ministry. While I'm very excited about the future, I recognize that I am leaving behind people that I have come to love, respect and appreciate in significant ways. Members, Staff, Security, Dining Room Servers are all people that I enjoy interacting with and while my transition doesn't mean I'll never see them again, it does mean that those moments become fewer and farther between and with me in a supportive role as I stand behind Jason rather than the other way around.
The space that most symbolizes this transition is what has been my office space in Victoria. For the most part it has been 'my space' and the clutter, trinkets, photos, etc have reflected that. While it will remain our national office, most of my work in that regard will happen from my workspace in Toronto. Our Victoria space will still be where I work from when I'm home, but the space needs to reflect Jason, so I've been slowly removing my 'stuff' over the past week so that he can make it a space that reflects who he is. My desk, complete with it's 2nd floor view of the park and trees has become Jason's and I'm glad to pass it to him. It's an interesting feeling to say the least but just like the changing season outside, this is a season of change for me and Leading Influence in BC.
I have tremendous confidence in Jason's ability to build on the foundation that has been laid. Watching him engage with members and they with him has been so satisfying and rewarding. He will serve BC leaders exceptionally well.
We are thrilled to announce that Leanne den Braber has joined our team as Executive Assistant. Leanne will work with both Jason and I with a focus on donor care, special events and administration. We are saying goodbye to Bethany who has been a blessing to us and wish her well as she and James await the arrival of their first born. Thanks for your hard work and ministry Bethany.
Ontario is off to a strong start. The primary focus now and for the next year is really about meeting people and building the relational capital that provides a platform for ministry. Thus far the Lord has helped us. Barb and I fly to Toronto on Saturday and will share a week together there before she returns home for work. It will be fun to have her with me in the big city where the Jays play home games.
Ontario beckons. The future is bright!
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Serving with Leading Influence at the BC Legislature is always exciting but with an election scheduled for May 2017 things are really ramping up. For BC’s politicians the door knocking, pre-election announcements and social media messaging is already in full throttle. Whether or not there will be a change in BC’s government is yet to be determined.
Where change is certain is in my life and ministry. After 22 years of pastoral ministry, including the last 13 in Victoria, I have felt the Lord inviting me to take a “take a leap of faith”. To step off the banks of the known and the familiar and to fully embrace the opportunity to serve those who serve us.
Starting January 1st 2017 I will be joining Leading Influence on a full time basis and leaving pastoral ministry. Speaking candidly, this has been a tremendous wrestle for me over the past 6 months. I thought I was going to remain a local church pastor my entire life. “I just turned 50!” I reasoned with God. “Are you really calling me to this?” “How will I support my family?” The Lord reminded me of the ministry call I responded to when was I was 18 years old. How with my hands lifted high I dedicated my life to serving him. He promised me, “If you give your life to MY calling for you, I’ll always take care of you and your family.” All these years later I can testify God has kept that promise!
We count ourselves to be very blessed with our leadership in Saskatchewan. There are a significant number of believers that serve in crucial leadership roles at the legislature. Prayer is a regular occurrence here.
Of course, the challenge of elected office can erode a person’s inner life. Nobody is immune to problems. The time demands of office can pull leaders away from self-care activities like exercise and prayer. There are difficult choices to make that are not obvious or easy. Many leaders feel an emotional weight when pressed for decisions that have long term consequences for society. It also takes strength of character to reject bribe offers and eliminate favouritism.
Imagine if you were in the role of member at a provincial legislature. Although it carries a degree of prestige and status, it also comes with contempt and vitriol from some of the public. Imagine how hard it would be for you to remain magnanimous, stoic, and compassionate while personal attacks are constantantly levelled at you.
The more that I interact with our MLAs here in Saskatchewan, the more I see a desire with many to prioritize spiritual life and relationship with God. That puts them in a good position to tackle the emotional and ethical challenges. Those that pray for our MLA’s contribute a great deal to the integrity of our leaders.
The Fall session of the legislature will run from Oct 19th to Nov 30th, 2016. This session is promising to be quite interesting with the prospect of significant transformational change to our province. This work is set against the backdrop of lower revenues due to low commodity prices. This is not an easy road to travel, so our leaders would definitely ask for your prayers as they contemplate the benefits and consequences of certain initiatives.
Dr. Scott Francis