How to Spend 52 Extra Hours

Thanks to Payton Climer for giving me this henna tattoo at the Pumpkin Patch to remind me of my stewardship pledge!

Thanks to Payton Climer for giving me this henna tattoo at the Pumpkin Patch to remind me of my stewardship pledge!

They say that good leaders don’t ask their followers to do things that they wouldn’t do themselves. That’s a rule I try to follow.

Thus, I have challenged myself to come up with an extra hour per week for service to God in the coming year, too.

I’d already decided that it was time for me to roll off the Refugee Services of Texas Board of Directors at the end of the year. I’ve been on that board for over seven years, the last two of which I have been President. I sense that it’s time for new leadership in that position. Besides, this last year was lots of work, given that I had to lead the way in hiring a new CEO for the organization.

It’s time to let some new people take the lead, and I gladly hand it off. My commitment to refugees and immigrants remains as strong as ever, but I’ll maintain that concern in a new way.

What will I do with my “free” time next year?

Glad you asked. I’ve agreed to two new responsibilities — see, that’s where the extra hour is going to be spent.

First, I’ve agreed to serve on the Lobby Corps for the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP), which is an organization I’ve been excited about for years. In fact, back in 2014, shortly before taking the pastorate at Kessler Park, I walked from the Dallas DA office to the Fort Worth DA office in one day with two other members of TCADP to deliver letters against the death penalty. Don’t worry — I’m not planning on repeating that stunt.

However, I do plan on making several trips to Austin during the 2019 Texas Legislative Session to meet with lawmakers about death penalty legislation. Over the last few years, fewer and fewer counties in Texas are pursuing capital punishment, and the tide has slowly been turning against the practice. Eventually, the death penalty will become obsolete in America again. I’m just going to do my bit in bending the moral arc!

And second, I’ve agreed to serve as the chair of the Crisis Management Committee for Faith Forward Dallas (FFD). FFD is an interfaith group which meets at Thanksgiving Square to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion.

My particular committee will be responsible for responding in times of crisis during 2019. When an act of injustice or tragedy takes place in the Dallas area, I’ll be contacting appropriate parties and organizing the faith response.

Both of these responsibilities are close to my heart and I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with all of you.

I’m interested in knowing what you are planning to do with your extra 52 hours in 2019. If you are willing to share, leave a comment and let me know. Or you can send me an email or text message, and I’ll share in a future newsletter column.

52 hours is a lot of time — use it wisely!