This is the second in our PROJECT Worship series. Last Sunday, we spoke about how we need Yellow Communicators to help us envision new solutions to problems that face us. Yellow Communicators topple the dehumanizing Towers of Babel as they love ideas, concepts, and possibilities.

We are going through the Herrmann Brain Dominance Colors of Communication in this series, and today we will tackle what Green Communication is through our gospel reading of Matthew 7:24-27 and how it relates to a possible position of Youth and Missions. First, I will talk about what Green Communication is. Then I will compare it with Yellow Communication. In the third step, I will highlight the importance of process and how it relates to our hiring process for an associate pastor of Youth and Missions.

Green Communication is task and action oriented. It is detail driven. It trusts the past to guide us through the present. Green Communication is very sequential. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end to every task we face, and we face each task and put it away before we start another task.

This is what Jesus could be talking about in our first verses. The wise build on rock. Jesus gave us actionable items to put into practice. These are not abstract teachings. Instead, Jesus wants us to put his teachings into action. It’s why he uses concrete and approachable parables and images.

Green Communicators are grounded and trust in sure things. Traditions are a sure thing. They have guided our ancestors to this point. We can trust these time-honored traditions as they have guided us. Other guideposts of our traditions are things like the lectionary, various church celebrations like All Saints Day, Founders Day, and Ladies Tea and the 50 Year Luncheon. Church seasons like Advent, Epiphany, Lent, and ordinary time. We have the historical creeds and writings of the church. The ancient church witness has brought us this far and shall carry us beyond. The faith of our fathers and mothers is living still. They have given us the rock upon which to build virtuous lives upon.

Processes have been handed down to us. And we need processes. We need tangible tasks to accomplish that we can point to and say, “See! Here is what we have done.”

Green Communicators get frustrated when people hop around from subject to subject without a clear focus. Green communicators like to digest what they have heard. Too much information too fast doesn’t give Green folk time to digest and understand what they have heard before going onto the next subject. Green communicators like complete sentences. They also don’t like when others try to finish their sentences or their thoughts. Green communicators respect the process of attempting to put one’s thoughts and feelings into words.

Which brings me to my second point: How does Green Communication differ from Yellow Communication?

Green Communication cannot stand jumping from subject to subject. They must take in information and figure out what it means and where it properly fits. They view yellow communicators as having their heads in the clouds. It is worse than building on sand, it just blows around in the air.

Here is an example that happens in our worship team often. When some folks are brainstorming, which is an inherently yellow activity, they will bounce around from subject to subject. This is dizzying for greens who want to develop a whole process around each idea to determine its viability. But the yellows have already said 10 more ideas while we were still on the first idea.

Yellow and Green are very different communication styles. In unhealthy relationships, yellow and greens are natural enemies. In healthy relationships, yellow and greens complement one another perfectly. Yellows can help determine a new idea to try, and the Greens can help develop it and bring the idea to life. We don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel each and every time. We can also avoid building on sand, as Christ warned us against. When the streams rise and wind blows, we can rest assured a given process will hold true as we have built on rock, using the past as our guide.

For here is the truth that greens know: Christianity doesn’t spontaneously happen.[1] We are heirs to a great tradition that has guided us this far. Yes, we need the fresh blowing of the Spirit to visit on us and give us renewal. Yet without tradition, then we are just sitting around waiting for something to happen. Christ invites us to build. We know how to do that. We have practical training to guide our way. We can learn from others and get things in place to accomplish our goals.

Greens get things done. There’s nothing thrilling about paying bills, or sitting in committee meetings. But these processes literally keep the lights on. Just as our pledges do the daily work of paying staff, keeping the building repaired, and funding our outreach programs. It isn’t sexy or novel, but it does the job. The Yellows can help us find the wildness of a vision, yet Greens ground us and tether us together. We need both in balance.

Green grounds Yellow in practical considerations. One of those considerations when pursuing the new IDEA of an associate pastor is to attend to the details of a hiring process.

This brings me to the final topic: the importance of process and how it relates to our hiring process for a Youth and Missions position. We have a wonderful idea of creating this position. Yet without someone providing the practical funding, this would still be just a pipe-dream and not a real possibility.

Having the idea to serve not only our high school youth but also our mission partners is wonderful, yet without a precise position description that details starting salary, hours, benefits, and areas of responsibility; this would just be a scope and we could not tangibly or tactically build anything.

Greens understand process. There is a hiring process. There are details we need to look for in a potential candidate. Even what we will call this position is important. Would an associate pastor be an ordained call or could a lay person do this job? I suggest using a “both/and” approach. Pastor is a term meaning anyone working for the church. I think it could be a lay member or an ordained pastor. The term pastor is inter-changeable. However, the term “The Reverend” means that this person has gone through the process of ordination and has been ordained by a denomination. We can talk about this and decide what approach we would like.

Details are important. Details are what make up an institution. Details tell us, as leadership experts Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linksy point out, “No institution is broken. Every institution has been perfectly designed to get the results it is getting.”[2] If we want different results, then we will have to attend to the details of our process.

We have had a lot of children in our church. Yet after confirmation, they sometimes don’t stick around. Developing a position which can attend to these details is vital for the future of our church. We can look to the past versions of similar roles to learn from what has come before.

The potential candidate must value and feel called to serve high school youth and be involved with mission. This position will attend both our Christian Education group known as the DELT meetings as well as Mission team meetings. They will work closely with Stacie and Nicole. The position description will detail exactly how they will work together. For example, Stacie could be responsible for grades 3-8. Nicole will help Stacie with logistics and communication with this group. The associate pastor will be responsible for grades 9-12, as well as college aged and 20-somethings.

We don’t have to start from scratch with our position description. I reached out to a few churches that have hired a similar position. I asked after their process and how it turned out. A wonderful contact has been the Rev. Sharon Benton from First Congregational in Bellingham, Washington. They searched for an associate pastor of Youth, Young Adult, and Missions in 2016 and hired Davi, who is still working there. She reports that this position “has been critical to who we are and how we work in the community. Davi took some history classes on our town and has connected with local nonprofits as well as city leaders.” Rev. Benton stated that the position is more about connection than evangelism. It’s been significant ministry, as the community knows who to turn to in a crisis or when something needs done.

The Staffing Team and I will refine the position description. We’ll then send it to our staff to make sure everyone understands the role. Then we’ll present it to council in the coming months. Once council approves it, we will release it for the whole congregation to provide feedback. This is our process, and the details are important. I’ll welcome feedback at every step of the way because the details are important.

In conclusion, I have described that Green Communicators build on rock, using the past to help guide us through the present. I have spoken of how this differs from yellows’ big-picture style yet compliments it to bring the ideas to earth. And finally, I have stated how this style of thinking will help us get a needed person in the youth and missions role. We can build this role so that it is sustainable and benefits our whole church and our community. Next Sunday, we’ll talk about the Blue communication style in detail. Thank you. And God bless.

Works Cited

[1][1] Barrett, Lee. The Heidelberg Catechism: A New Translation for the 21st Century. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2007. Page 14.

[2][2] Leadership on the Line. Page 90.

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