You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Superintendent Randy’s taking a well-deserved rest this week after a busy month of leading our Annual Conference meetings and promoting and attending the Leadership Summit Simulcast. So this week, for the first time, and the last time, I, Carl Duhrkoop, will be filling in for him and writing “Coffee with Randy.”

So sit back, pour a cup of coffee, or tea if you are like me, and let me add just a bit to Randy’s last blog on attending a conference or seminar.


Let’s be honest. Most of us make excuses for not attending, most of which were answered by Superintendent Randy’s Five Reasons to Attend a Seminar last week.

But one excuse, my excuse, this time around would have been, “I’m retiring.” Or for you it might be, “I have heard it all before,” or pointedly, “You cannot teach an old dog new tricks!”

But you can and we know it. I learned these three “new” tricks at the Leadership Summit this past week:

  • From Bill Hybels I learned that a leader should be skilled and active in “talent observation.” Oh, I have done this over 40 years of ministry. Some of you reading this might have benefited from me seeing talent in you, but I didn’t do it regularly. I didn’t do it enough. I shirked my duty as a leader to look for the talent in every individual and bring it into focus with training and placement in the ministry of the Church.
  • From Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company I heard his mantra (can I use that term here?) “Compelling Vision, Comprehensive Strategy, and Relentless Implementation.” Again, looking back over the decades of ministry, vision was often set and I might consider myself good with strategy, but I wasn’t always relentless in the implementation, especially if it seemed that might come off as domineering or autocratic. That mantra left me wanting a do over for a number of good visions and strategies. I suggest that you not come to the end of ministry with a list of do overs in mind! And finally…
  • From one of the most deeply spiritual of the presenters, Jossy Chacko, founder of Empart Inc. I was instructed to “embrace risk.” Not just for risk’s sake, not just to feel the adrenalin kick in, but because risk, in the ministry world, is a matter of faith. Chacko went on to challenge me with this statement, “Without risk we move from pioneering to preserving.”


No matter what our age, no matter how long we have ministered to others, no matter how many times we have created vision and implemented strategy, we must trust God with the next step of risk/faith, and take that next step to His honor and glory. In the words of another Summit presenter, there are no do overs in ministry but God is all about make-overs.

Don’t forget to pray for Superintendent Randy and Linda as they are taking some time off. Pray for God’s refreshing on their lives as they continue to lead the Conference in helping build healthy local churches.





One Comment Add yours

  1. bill and diana vermillion says:

    Thanking God for you, Carl, and your faithful ministry for Him through these years in a multiplicity of arenas. God bless you and Nancy!


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