Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Friends and colleagues have heard me say this from time to time:

I take my work seriously… but I don't take myself too seriously.

Take your work seriously.
Take God very seriously.
But don't take yourself too seriously.

I think that attitude served me well again recently.

I had opportunity to serve my church family last week, the Northwest Ministry Network, as chair of the Resolutions Team. I led a great team of twelve, wrote a bunch of whereas-and-therefore-be-it-resolved statements, walked leaders through our work, and presented the materials to our Network as part of last week’s annual business meeting. Pretty nerdy work... I’m a bit of a governance wonk, so I presided as King of the Nerds. All of our work was passed without amendment. 

I was surprised by how much feedback I received (all positive) in the days that followed. Most expressed appreciation for the competence of our work; all appreciated the presentation. Business like this, changing bylaws and such, can be both dull and tense. Around my presentation of resolution 3 of 8, it seemed like it was time to lighten things up, cutting the tension for a few and shaking up the potential boredom for many. I did not break into a standup comedy routine, or yuk it up too much… I merely applied a few witticisms and lightened my tone.

We came with our bags packed, our work was solid and I knew it well, ready to present the issues and respond to questions. We had taken the work seriously. But I think it was important to balance the seriousness of the work by demonstrating that we didn’t take ourselves too seriously. I think it put people at ease, making ourselves approachable, welcoming comment and even critique; all in all, I think the balance served to build trust.

Humor is a powerful tool… an ingredient like any other. Just the right amount results in something delicious… too much and the cake is ruined. Like I baker, I have learned the hard way more than once, ruining the cake with a haphazard approach, dumping too much humor into the batch. And I’m sure I will end up tossing out a few more cakes down the road. But last week it appears that I baked a pretty good cake.

And don’t worry, I won’t let that bit of success lead me to taking myself too seriously.


  1. It was the perfect cake!...and Thank you to the Resolutions team for "coming with your bags packed".

  2. King of the Nerds might be taking yourself a bit too seriously. I propose Duke of Dorks.