As a bi-vocational pastor, I am often challenged on a weekly basis by words, phraseology, mannerisms and customs of people who lived long ago in an Eastern culture. Why, you may ask? So that I can understand the success in life they achieved and use that information to teach others who live in a Western culture how to embrace a lifestyle that enhances their own.
There are often significant differences between these two cultures. However, being different, having a different perspective, approaching problems and rationalizing solutions that are influenced by culture can often yield beneficial results. If we are willing to receive new ideas and try them, we will likely begin to see, analyze and process things differently. You see, in the overall scheme of things, we are all trying to accomplish the same results…something better!
As I thought about my weekly routine, I realized that this idea of appreciating how others lived, and the benefits that we gain by learning from them, didn’t begin when I became a pastor. Nor was it a result of my job experiences with major international companies, but rather it began as a young boy observing his father. My father was also a bi-vocational pastor and it was his work experience that had a significant impact on me.
One memorable career move my father made was to teach at a small school called Hope School. Hope School was unique in that it was a school for individuals who were mentally challenged but capable of living independently. Every student at the school loved “Mr. Wynn” because he embraced who they were, without reservation. My father worked with a team of teachers who interacted with these students in a manner that would be instrumental and beneficial for their independence.
I shadowed my father at school one day and imagine my surprise as I began to “see” these students as my father saw them. They were individuals who were simply challenged a little more than most. They laughed, joked and interacted with each other as we all do. After graduation, one couple married, others found employment in “real” jobs and lived independently in their own homes. They succeeded because someone chose to embrace their differences. Let us actively choose to embrace each other’s ideas and see things from another’s perspective. Regardless of our differences, we may discover that we each want the same thing…something better!
Senior Manager, IT