Yesterday George and I helped the Taylor family to demolish (I use that word deliberately) a tree in their back garden.
Here are my observations based on yesterday’s exploits:
1. Pruning is essential to healthy growth.
Our victim was a bay tree that had been left to its own devices for too long. It was comfortably occupying three other gardens and was beginning to cause some issues. It reminded me that whilst growth is usually desirable, it must be kept in check. In leadership it’s important for you to be willing to allow others to ‘prune’ and ‘shape’ you so that your growth is stable and manageable. I think the same can be said of being given too much authority too soon. Too much unchecked growth can lead to some major problems (with pride, if nothing else) and the process of being cut back to size can then be quite a challenge. This is a line that I need to tread carefully on as I realise that this is a risk in my life.
2. Falling trees can cause quite a mess if not planned well!
Something I hadn’t anticipated yesterday was just how big the tree was. Obviously, it was quite tall but when once it had been cut, it was astounding to see how much we had cut down (see picture above). If we hadn’t taken branch by branch off methodically, it would have caused a huge mess (and probably obliterated the conservatory)! I think this is also true of leaders. When the time comes to move on from a leadership position, don’t underestimate the importance of an incremental transition period where possible and the damage that could be caused without one. We have some fantastic role models of this with our Pastor Simon Benham and former Pastor Ben Davies who transitioned so well a few years ago. Even now, we’re experiencing this as my friend Helen moves on from her position as Worship Pastor. Though I’m not taking over her role, I do have a few extra responsibilities but thanks to her foresight and good planning, the change has been easy and manageable, like a tree having its branches cut slowly rather than the whole thing falling in a hazardous, uncontrollable way. I’m grateful for this!
3. Friends are such a blessing!
It’s such a wonderful privilege to have friends. Although it was George and me going to help Neil and Rebecca with their tree yesterday, Neil was invaluable in helping me prepare for my preach last week. He sacrificed so much of his time to help me and there have been many times where he’s given up his time to help me in other circumstances too. The same can be very easily be said of George. I’m so grateful for them! Yesterday’s task would have been quite a problem with just Neil and his heavily pregnant wife, but with three of us it was a breeze. And fun. It served as a fantastic reminder just how much of a blessing it is to have good friends around you.
There you have it. Three simple observations from destroying a pesky bay tree.