Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wet Cement

Guest post by Mark Collins

On a small corner of a sidewalk, on a non-descript street in the west end of Brantford my name is immortalized. mark collins 67. With fear, fondness and a small twig I carefully carved each letter in wet cement. It was so easy, the twig glided through the impressionable gravelly paste. To change it now would require a diamond tipped high speed grinder and three city employees.
I was reminded of this cement incident last summer while parked on the QEW waiting for a cement truck to fill a 36 inch round wooden form that would become the support pillar of a new four lane bridge. The weeks long preparation before the cement was poured became tedious. Daily, at the legal limit, I drove past as a cement footing was placed deep in the ground to prevent any shifting due to weight, freezing or ground conditions. Days later, iron workers came and cut, bent and welded reinforcement rod to create a metal inner support cage that eventually would be hidden by the cement. Time passed, hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent as they dug, welded and then created the exterior forms. Now I was watching fresh wet cement being shaped into pillars that will stand long after I am gone.
Conversely, at the Guelph Line exit, just off the QEW, there are the remains of a cement truck spill. It is an oddly shaped clump of cement. It serves absolutely no purpose, other than to remind me each morning of the importance of preparation, reinforcement and formation of wet cement.
A lead pastor recently emailed me to say that the staff person that he had so much hope for was taking a lot more time, effort and resources than he had originally thought would be necessary. As I read his email I became dismayed thinking that soon this staff person would be sensing a call somewhere else. Shocked, I read the next line. The lead pastor said, “But I am totally committed to him.  I have NO desire for a crash landing.  I have ALL the interest to see him be everything Jesus wants him to be.”
If we leave this next generation to simply be poured into meaningless forms they will be ignored, useless and non-productive for Christ’s Kingdom.      

The challenge is for all leaders to engage in shaping Godly leaders for the future. This will require skilled workmanship and resources. One cannot merely assemble some rough structures to temporarily navigate some tough patches, thinking that it will be a long term solution. Building people and leaders into pillars who are the upholders of Holy Living, Biblical Standards and Christ’s Love should be our key priority. It will require effort, support, resources and accountability.   
DID YOU KNOW?  The Temple in Jerusalem had two main support pillars. The name engraved in one of those pillars was Boaz. Psalm 144 “Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.”
  • This post was written by Mark Collins. He is a leadership consultant and a part of the Leadership Team for the Western Ontario District of the PAOC.

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