“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” ─ Proverbs 3:5-6

As I begin my ministry among and with you, I do so with life on so many levels in transition.

  • We are transitioning to a hopefully safer COVID world with vaccines on the way.
  • We are experiencing a shift in presidential administrations.
  • I have been on site for a little over two weeks. I am transitioning to a new state, apartment, and position. 
  • Grace Presbytery is shifting its manner of operation.
  • Our churches have made transitions in how we worship, equip and educate, and connect with one other.
  • And who knows all the ways our personal lives and families are changing?

Transitions are times when we move from one place or situation or way of being to another. The time between the place we once knew is yielding to a new way. This time is known as “liminal space.”

This transition was named by Victor Turner, a cultural anthropologist in the 1960s.  Liminal space is that awkward, uncomfortable, disorienting time between the old and the new. It is the time when rebirth and renewal occur. It is when creativity, intelligence, imagination, and love begin to blossom.

I commend a resource to your reading and reflection:

A book, How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season by Susan Beaumont.

The way to lead when we are in transition, in liminality, in the emerging chaotic fog is by:

  1. Leading with Presence
  2. Tending the Soul of the Institution
  3. Deepening Group Discernment
  4. Shaping Institutional Memory: Tell Me Our Story
  5. Clarifying Purpose

As we are in this pandemic, the greatest gift we can give our churches, our communities, our families, and ourselves is our truest sense of presence.

Susan Beaumont writes, “The authenticity of any leadership action depends upon the interior condition of the leader – on his or her ability to be true to self and true to the institution, to remain non-anxious, and to connect with the Divine.  When the interior condition of the leader is rooted in personal ego, the attention of the leader is inauthentic, not attuned to the needs of the organization.  Instead, the ego creates an image of the leader that the self will admire, and that will garner the admiration of others.”

Our presence with our egos held in check, with our hearts and minds in alignment with God, and with our imaginations open to and aware of the Spirit’s recreating wonder is critical as we move through this pandemic! No matter how busy we are, the greatest gift we can offer is an ego-less, Christ-centered, imaginative spirit.

Living into God’s vision for the world,

Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Shive serves as interim general presbyter for Grace Presbytery. Prior to his arrival in Texas, he lead the Presbytery of Wyoming as general presbyter. Steve is husband of 35 years to Doris, father to Claire and Jordan, and a proud Auburn war eagle.