Julie VanDerVeen Van Til wasn’t expecting the issue to come up in her Foundations of Christian Leadership discussion.
But when one of her conversation partners said, “Maybe you’re ready for more responsibility and authority than you think you are,” she took it seriously.
And she realized she was ready.
“It really takes somebody else reflecting that back to you to realize the tide has shifted. That’s a real gift of the program — putting you face to face with other leaders who ask good questions and meet you in a place of authenticity,” Van Til said.
Midway through her Foundations course, Van Til, who had been doing two part-time jobs, took a position as a pastor at City Church, an RCA church in San Francisco.
“It puts you in a posture of readiness to receive what God brings next for you – in your job or in new situations,” she said.
An important lesson she took away from Foundations was a new strategy for responding to stress.
“When you get into stressful situations — and that doesn’t have to be bad stress, it can be good stress too — you tend to ramp up your activity,” she said. But, “it is our job as leaders to leave ourselves time within our workday so we have time to reflect and think more deeply and prayerfully, leaving room for insight.”
She said she wouldn’t have had that perspective if she had not participated in Foundations, in part because the program allowed her to get away from the everyday.
“Part of the beauty of it is getting away to a different environment where the thinking time is so rich and the challenge of leadership is acknowledged so honestly. It helps you take not just the tasks but the inner posture seriously,” Van Til said.
In addition, she said the concept of traditioned innovation was something that she has considered as she has reflected on her ministry and also her roles as wife, mother and leader.
“It filled me with wonderful questions,” she said.
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