The WMBC Story Team recently sat down with Conrad to hear his thoughts on leadership and the future of WMBC.
While Conrad says he hadn’t aspired to sit in that chair (pun!), when the question about taking on the mantle came he embraced the role as an opportunity to serve Christ’s body. At this point Conrad has been a member of WMBC for more than 20 years.
One of the biggest challenges during his time was shepherding the church through a change in lead pastor, a task that was nothing less than stressful. The next challenge was building a board back up after dipping down to just four people at one point. Through it all, he says the Body of Christ continues to seek God’s sometimes mysterious will together in community, even if it can feel messy at times.
Question: How is serving in church leadership changed you? What was the experience like?
“First, it’s humbling. But I take a lot of comfort in the fact that I don’t have to have all the answers. We have people in our lives that disagree with our theology, but we can rest in knowing that we’re doing church in community, none of us are doing this on our own. We doing church with flesh and blood people, processing together, being real.”
“Secondly, I was startled by how much power my words have. At first I was just thinking out loud, sharing ideas like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what would stick. But like Andy Stanley has said, as leaders, our words have 50 pound weights attached to them. I’d see people like Terry sharing phrases or illustrations that I had thrown out there and I was just like, “I’m going to watch what I say,” and I became more measured and cautious.”
“I like to explore ideas and stir the pot. But when you know people are listening to your words closely because of your position, you have to measure what you share more cautiously.”
Question: What do you see as being the primary job of the chair of the Leadership Board?
“It’s letting other people carry the direction. The Chair is strictly a traffic director. I’m only strongly sharing my opinion to kind of break up ties. I haven’t always been able to totally be that, especially when for a season it was just four of us, so I had to speak more right? But I’ve been moving more in the direction of facilitating the board discussion.”
Question: Okay so, as a board and especially the chair, you’re shepherding the church, protecting the vision of the church. Did that ever cause you to see Jesus in a new light?
“I’m not sure if gracious is the right word, but I’ve become more excited about what other churches are doing. Like, just thinking about what our neighboring church communities are doing, making decisions, discerning direction, grappling with hearing God’s voice, there are other people loving Jesus.”
“Sitting up front I sometimes forget there’s hundreds of people literally behind me, it’s easy just to be mindful of the few people around you when you think of “the church” but you have communion and you look around the sanctuary and you see all of these people, some I don’t know if I’ve even talked to before. You suddenly feel the weight of guiding this group of people. Once again, it’s a reminder to be cautious with my agenda. You really start to think, “what would that person’s ideal church experience look like? Or what’s their needs? Are they lonely? Do they have a network?”
Question: What have been your guideposts when engaged in the mysterious act of listening, discerning God’s will, and then pushing forward to take action?
“For me, it comes back to community. Everybody hears the Holy Spirit, and we need everybody’s voice. We need everybody’s flavor right now. When making decisions we need big picture dreamers, and risk-takers, but also cautious planners, detail-oriented people. And then believing in God’s power to guide us into all truth.”
Question: Looking ahead, how do you feel finishing your terms and what gets you excited about WMBC’s future?
“I just have complete peace that my job here on the board is done right now. I came onto the board thinking “oh we have to move in this direction, or I’d like to see more of this or that,” but I’ve realized serving on the board is about being intent on hearing God’s vision for WMBC, and I think part of vision casting is seeing how every church in Winkler can have a different role. And we are continually discerning what God is calling us to do, and not be worried that it looks different than another church, and instead become excited for other churches in what they’r doing. It’s easy to fall into competition, but the body has many parts by design.”
“There’s so many people with heartache and tragedy and joy in our community, but we have no idea sometimes. And one person or one church can’t necessarily take care of them all. That’s why we have the whole body, and we hope everybody’s taking care of somebody. Being a friend to somebody.”
1 Corinthians 2:16 can be interpreted that WE, when we come together in unity have the mind of Christ. I don’t have all the answers or all the time to do it all. Terry doesn’t have it alone. The staff don’t have it alone. The board doesn’t have it alone. But together we can all contribute our voices and together we are Christ’s body, living and working in Winkler and the world.”
“Looking ahead, I just feel an incredible peace knowing the people who make up the leadership board, I have complete confidence in them and their heart for WMBC as they continue to lead the church and discern God’s will for what’s next.”