Past Tense #3

Past Tense, Chapter 3

A Solution
“Chris, let’s take a walk.” His relationship with Dave, the senior pastor, felt as secure as could be expected after just three months, but his posture was all business as Chris nervously followed him into the lobby by the coffee bar.

“Chris, I spoke with Shelly O’Brien yesterday. You know, she’s been here longer than you and me and the rest of the staff combined.”

That was true, he said to himself, but she doesn’t fit where we’re going. “Yes sir. I hear she’s been pretty important to a lot of people.”

“That’s true. How do you see her contribution in the future?”

“Shelly has a real talent, but her style doesn’t work with the music we’re doing. I can use her when the choir sings.”

“How do you think she feels about that?”

Chris was trying not to be defensive, but his answer betrayed anxiety. “Um, I feel bad for her, but when I came, we talked about building a cutting edge, relevant worship team. We knew that some people might not work out.”

Dave pondered a moment. “Chris, I respect your leadership, but I’d like to expand your vision. A lot of people will feel bad if we cut Shelly out. If she really can’t do the job, we’ll have to deal with it. But let’s try something; how about we bring in a coach? I know of a guy who helps people expand the way they present themselves on the platform. The whole team would benefit, and Shelly would have a shot at making it.”

“But what if she doesn’t? I hate to hold out hope and then pull it away.”

Dave thought, how can I communicate this? “A team is built on more than talent. Talent is necessary, for sure. But we have to value people for who they are, not just for what they can do for us. I want you to try to make a place for Shelly; she has ability, and a good heart. It won’t be the place she had, but it can be significant.”

“This is going to change our paradigm. It won’t be as edgy.”

He’s young, Dave thought; it’s my job to help him grow. “I know it’s not what you envisioned, but this is important; you have a lot of good people who will make the style solid. Shelly has a good heart, and she’ll be willing to learn. And she has something else: Shelly is faithful, and has proven herself over time. That’s a quality you want, even if it takes some work to fit her in.”

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