Officership as an Art
May 11 2021
Three years of officership are complete and like most officers in this stage of my calling I am painfully aware of how I miss the mark. People are more complex then I imagined. The role of municipal politics matters in ways that were seemingly non-existent before Officership. Communicating a Biblical context is harder than the process of interpretation, application, and proclamation. Working with Advisory Organizations has challenges from parliamentary procedure to empowering the chairperson to present the needs of our Corps.
These challenges and my growth therein have led me to believe that Officership is not an empirical science that can be inserted into the hard drive of my theological praxis. Officership is not something to be told or read. Instead I think effective officership is an art. When I look to the senior officers in my division and my circle of mentors, I see individuals who are making their appointments beautiful works of art. Officers who are adept at handling uncertainty, uniqueness, and conflict are, in my book, artists.
It is a missional and theological work of art to look at an appointment and nuance the scene with just the right color to change the dynamics. As with all art forms, learning happens while doing.
In college I was a music composition major, and I studied with legendary composer Jim Curnow. Some of my best learning came as he would look at slaughter my pieces with a red pen, “You could do this...” he would say. Then flurry of red strokes from this equally loved and hated red pen would go back to work, as he would say “Then again this could really brighten the sound.” The point of “this” and “that” language demonstrates that younger officer-artists need to watch how master officer artists handle the canvas of restricted trust funds or the careful texturing of the unsatisfied YPSM. Of course our Training Schools won’t completely teach us to be artists. To be an artist you must do art.
I stand back and look at Officers with 20 or more years, and I see appointments left as masterpieces. Only the Officer-artist knows how challenging aspects of the painting were. Regardless they have a beautiful piece of art to present to Christ.
As for me, I am still painting like my three year old son, who unknowingly draws outside of the lines or paints by numbers. Sometimes such a mess can be turned into good art. The art of this less-experienced officer surely appears questionable to my mentors, but they have the occasional word or concrete good example that helps me be the Officer-artist God has called me to be.