Lessons in leadership, Michael Scott-style

May 24, 2014
Pam (Jenna Fischer) listens to Michael's pep talk.

Pam (Jenna Fischer) listens to Michael’s pep talk.

I happened to re-watch this Season 5 episode of The Office entitled “Dream Team” last week. In the previous episode, Michael Scott quits Dunder-Mifflin and decides to start his own paper company. In a Jerry Maguire moment, he asks for volunteers to join him in his new venture. Impulsively, Pam, bored with being a receptionist, does so.

The clip below takes place the next day. Pam shows up at Michael’s house ready to get to work. Michael, however, is still in his bathrobe—depressed and filled with self-doubt. Pam encourages him. That afternoon, however, after failing to accomplish any of the goals they set for themselves—including convincing Michael’s grandmother to invest in his company—Pam is now the one with second thoughts. And Michael gives her a not-half-bad pep talk. (The acting is terrific. Especially watch Jenna Fischer’s face as Michael talks to her through the window.)

These are always my favorite moments in The Office—when Michael, despite his many deficiencies as a leader, rises to the occasion in spite of himself.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a crash course on leadership. I’ve been the pastor in charge at Hampton UMC for nearly a year. Now, with the strong endorsement of our church council, I’m making my first real changes to church life. While I believe these changes are good, necessary—and even exciting—they’re also hard. I’d be lying if said I couldn’t relate to Michael or Pam in this video.

I called an old clergy friend last week and said, “Remember when we were associate pastors and everything was easy?”

Of course, being an associate pastor didn’t seem easy at the time, but you know what I mean: it’s a lot harder when the buck stops with you!

I’ve said, half-jokingly, that while I have faith in the Lord, I’d prefer not to have to use it. Well, I’m now in a season in which I don’t have a choice—which is a great place to be. Thank you, Jesus!

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