Our organization has a wise, old, experienced oracle.
I mean, we really, literally do.
"Uncle Jack" is a legend in the world of global Christian organizations. For decades he worked with one of the two large umbrella associations to help their members be more effective. He was a founder of SEND International, one of the post World War 2 era missionary agencies. There was a movement of new agencies founded after World War 2 that has redefined global missions and Uncle Jack was an advisor and counselor to many of these agencies.
About 17 years ago or so he decided to "retire" to Florida and take a role in our small but growing organization. He is now 85 years old and still travels the world.
Uncle Jack doesn't have a staff or people reporting to him or any of that. He is just here to talk when you need some input. He attends many of our leadership meetings.
When I have a tough management issue to deal with, I walk over to Uncle Jack's office. He listens carefully and then renders sparse but wise advice.
The older we get, the less we seem to like change and flexibility. In 2008 we held a large conference here in Orlando called Story (yes, we are doing it again in 2010). I was an emcee for this event and I remember looking out in the audience one night, just after the very loud and raucous worship band put down their instruments, to see Uncle Jack out there in the auditorium, smiling from ear to ear. To Uncle Jack, the music was, I am sure, atrocious. It's not the music from his era. Why was he smiling? I asked him later on and he told me it was because he loved to see the young people worship. Uncle Jack has taught me a lot about what it means to grow older in a way that delights in youth but isn't enamored with youth culture.
I know it would be hard for a small startup to have a full-time oracle like Uncle Jack. I bet, though, that somewhere in your network of relationships there is an older, experience man or woman who would be more than happy to listen to your issues and problems on occasion. Tell them you need an oracle.
Just this morning I walked by our team room to see him praying for missionaries around the world. One more lesson for me to take in.