Self Propelled


I finally did it! I bought a new lawnmower, replacing the one I’ve had for the past ten years.  The transition has been harder than I expected though, because as much as I disliked the old mower, it was familiar and I knew how to make it go where I wanted it to go.

You may think that sounds a little odd, so let me explain.  My new mower is self-propelled, the old one was Joel-propelled and I’m finding there is a ginormous difference between the two.  When I pushed the old mower, it went where I pushed it – if I didn’t direct it, it didn’t move.

This new self-propelled gismo seems to have a mind of its own.  It responds to every mole hill and divot in the yard by bouncing left and right.  I’m finding I have much less control over where it goes.  My first couple of weeks of mowing were a disaster as I tried to handle the self-propelled mower the same as the old one.

I’m six weeks into learning to mow differently.  Rather than pushing and directing, I’ve found success by guiding and following.

Let’s talk about a shift in our leadership culture at Richwoods.  You see, we are about six months into retooling our leadership between staff and volunteers.  After some candid questioning and evaluation late last summer and into the fall, we heard volunteers telling us they felt over-managed and too controlled by staff – almost as if they worked for the staff – and resolved to just do what they were told to do.  Ouch!  But then the truth hurts and we are sorry for getting out of hand on this one.

Those of us on staff are now refocusing on walking behind and supporting volunteers rather than pushing and directing them.  We are shifting from “doing” ministry to developing and supporting volunteer leadership teams to live out the ministry in every nook and cranny of God’s Kingdom.

This weekend Jill and I hosted a small group at our The Big Table and the question was asked, “What do you need us to do?”  My response was, “Keep leading…”  Richwoods will make the greatest impact for the Kingdom when more and more of us are contributing to the leading and directing.  There are so many creative ways to fulfill our mission that haven’t been thought of yet, they just need to be discovered and pursued by committed volunteers.

Two things I ask you to consider as we continue to adjust our leadership culture:

  1. Think Bigger:  Leading alone is dumb. Find others in the church with the same passions you have and develop a team to dream and execute.  Think about what you desire to do as it relates to our Discipleship Process and pick one of the areas to focus your efforts under.
  2. Be Patient: Learning to lead differently isn’t easy. It involves doing everything differently – thinking, planning, evaluating.  To most staff this is a newer concept we are working out into reality, like mowing with a self-propelled mower, we are still trying to figure it out.

Weekend Attendance

Knoxville Campus

Parkway Campus


Weekend Giving

On average Richwoods needs to receive $39.1K in gifts to meet its 2016 operating expenses, 10% of which goes immediately to Missions and helping people in our community who are experiencing financial troubles.

Knoxville Campus: $35.6K
Parkway Campus: $3.6K
Total Giving: $39.2K
Weekly Anticipated Giving: $39.1K

YTD Giving

Our budgets are set on a calendar year, submitted by staff and approved by the Elders of Richwoods.  Our ability to meet the needs of the people, provide programs, offer ministry opportunities, and so on, are all contingent on the faithful and generous giving of the people who call Richwoods their church home.  As a church we do not take annual pledges to set a budget but we work off of our historical giving and attendance patterns to project a conservative budget.

Year To Date Giving: $683.393
Year To Date Anticipated Giving: $653,420

If you have questions about the information shared in this fyi, you can contact our Executive Pastor, Joel Dryden by email.  You can also leave a comment below.


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