Redefining Fresh, New, and Creative in Leadership

Today, Romy and I will spend the day on the Brandywine River, on a stretch that I would float and fish as a kid. I love the way the river brings unexpected surprises with many familiar experiences. From the curves and currents to the sounds and smells, this portion of the river will be deeply familiar.

Yesterday, we worshipped at the church I attended in high school – The Willowdale Chapel. It was quite an experience since I had not attended there in over 20 years. Under the leadership of Greg Lafferty, the small Bible church has grown from two hundred to around on thousand in worship.

It was at the same time totally new and totally familiar.

Think about that for a minute. Don’t pass the idea by quickly. Our most meaningful experiences in life, in some cryptic way, usually fuse the new and old. But many times in our leadership and vision, we exclusively chase the new as we strive for the “creative next.”

G.K. Chesterton wrote about the ideal human experience of simultaneously being on a wild adventure and experiencing the delight and safety of home. New and familiar. He pictured a man who left England thinking he had sailed around the world to find some new exotic land. In fact, he had sailed around the world only to land on the shores of Britain again. For a moment, this man experiences the shear delight of the totally new and the radically known at the same time.

While on the Brandywine, I will be near the home of legendary artist Andrew Wyeth. I studied Wyeth’s work years ago to better understand his visionary genius as an artist. My favorite sound bite of his teaching went something like, “Most artists want to find something fresh to paint. Frankly, I find that quite boring. I would much rather find fresh meaning in something familiar.” Wyeth would touch the world by only painting his immediate surroundings.

What’s the principle? In your search for something new, don’t think that meaning is found in the new alone.

With the rush of old and new in my life this weekend, I want to encourage you to appreciate this fusion.

  • In your storytelling
  • In your vision casting
  • In your next staff meeting
  • In your prayer time
  • On this Memorial day
  • With your family and friends
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Will Mancini
Will Mancini emerged from the trenches of local church leadership to found Auxano, a first-of-kind consulting ministry that focuses on vision clarity. As a “clarity evangelist,” Will has served as vision architect for hundreds of churches across the country, including such notable pastors as Chuck Swindoll and Max Lucado. Will holds a Th.M. in Pastoral Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary and has authored Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement; he also co-authored Building Leaders with Aubrey Malphurs.