Takeaway 1: It was wonderful to meet you all in person! Our in person meeting confirmed that one of the great values of this process is the connections I’ve made to each of you. I had one of the shortest trips to D.C. and I was impressed that each of you took time and energy to travel to the workshop and annual meeting.
Takeaway 2: I look forward to taking a deep dive into the CPA documents Felipe has provided. I’m trying to connect with major donors again and complete four grants this next week (and we have a major event Saturday night) so I’m really pushed timewise this week and next. But I have questions about how this could financially work in Lancaster and am interested in working through more of the details. It was great to talk a bit about how small churches fit into this work and I am interested to discuss it more.
Takeaway 3: Last week was exhausting mentally, emotionally, and physically. This cohort, if I’m honest, can feel like one too many things when I feel too pushed. But sitting at the Annual Meeting on Wednesday night hearing so many talk about the benefits of CPA reminded me why I really want to make this work in Lancaster. The great upside of my work is that moment when a church is struggling to make something happen and through their connection to the PRC it does. I heard that over and over again Wednesday night and it reminded me why I do this work and why it’s so important to continue this work. Is it hard, yes. But when it works, it’s so worth it!
RS: Grateful for your thoughts and questions! From the get-go, my general weariness has been, perhaps, more evident to all of you than it is to me. It’s certainly something my family talks with me about frequently in recent months. Sometimes I feel like I should explain that my tiredness comes, now, from a sense of overwhelming opportunity more than a slide into failure. My brain is often pushed to the max these days trying to sort through what is important to do immediately and what idea, no matter how good it is, should we wait on so that the team here at PRC doesn’t burn out.
For years I didn’t think these opportunities would materialize and I worked long, hard hours hustling rebuilding relationships, showing up, and listening to people’s frustrations. I have to do a lot less of that these days and I do more strategic work, more fundraising, more networking on a more abstract scale. It can be less emotional, but I’m also dealing with bigger things and saying yes to something can shift my workload quickly. And I’m still in the mode of saying yes to everything because I may not get the chance again.
I’m the child of two entrepreneurs, two artists who advocated for adventure over stability. And I definitely suffer from shiny new things syndrome and get the most adrenaline from starting something than continuing it. But this is way of working isn’t, ultimately, sustainable. These days I’m much more focused on carefully expanding things in what I hope offers longterm sustainability to the PRC. We’ve moved from critical to stable and I need to really recalibrate my energy. After years of feeding off of adrenaline, I need to find a new way to keep myself engaged and to deal with the years of fatigue that I ignored in the past by picking something new to do that could distract me.
Or at least these are the thing I tell myself and my family when we discuss my weariness. I think it’s true. I also think I’m relaxing for the first time in years and that can have a funny effect. All that I’ve held at bay can come rushing in at once.
This cohort has been wonderful in terms of building relationships with other folks who are asking the same questions I am while also looking for honest answers. This work can be lonely at times and certainly the connections to other likeminded folks is key to not getting bogged down in the bad and focusing on the good.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate in the last six months to have two key work relationships develop that have been really lifegiving for me. One is a new staff person who is creative and entrepreneurial. These can be hard people to find in the nonprofit world, especially in the church nonprofit world and I am grateful to have found her. The other is a development consultant who has a great ability to take my ideas and take them the next step, which is incredibly helpful.
Finally, I’ve gotten a lot better at taking care of myself, too. I spend a lot more time outside, a lot more time exercising, and more time free of sound (too many podcasts overwhelm my brain, I’ve discovered). It all helps!