May 19, 2014

Bring Out Da Woo

In addition to being an ENTJ, I’m apparently a woo as well.

The personality text, StrengthsFinder, indicated that one of my character (and leadership) traits is “woo.” What that means in part is that I enjoy meeting new people, asking questions, finding out what makes them tick. Striking up a conversation with a stranger gets my engines running.

I also express my woo by bringing some fun into my work (and personal life). When we send a book to the printer, we ring a cowbell around the office. With a hat tip to It’s a Wonderful Life, a book just got its wings. Hot off the press is the newly revised Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book. At nearly 500 pages, this book brought me to my knees at times: it was a bear to edit, proof, and design, and took a behemoth effort. So when the first ten copies arrived via overnight shipping, we celebrated with ice cream sundaes.

We’ve heard what happens when it’s all work and no play, but I wonder how we might consciously exercise our woo in the congregation. First we should encourage them to take leadership positions that accentuate their natural strengths. Woos would make great ushers and greeters. They would be fantastic to lead a visitor’s welcome group and evangelism efforts. Depending on their other strengths, most woos probably won’t be stellar members of the finance committee.

Secondly, unleash the woo when it comes to celebrating the triumphs of your congregation. Generally most churches do a pretty good job this time of year honoring graduates. But I’ve spent the last few days talking to folks who are retiring after decades of service, one to the schools and another to state government. How can we get our woo on and celebrate their retirement and transition?

Though Episcopalians pride ourselves on self-restraint when it comes to woo-worthy events, I wonder if we might celebrate when we meet a stewardship goal, increase Sunday attendance in a year, conclude a successful Christian formation session, or finish a thorough spring cleaning.

How can we infuse our congregations with joy, with lighthearted fun, and even the occasional woo-hoo?