96: Coffee without Amy Butler

amy_butler2My guest today is not Amy Butler, the senior pastor at The Riverside Church in NYC.

This episode is unusual because I’d like you to hear from a guest who is not here. The time I’d like you to spend with Amy Butler today will, true to our tradition, involve her sharing personal stories and, also true to our tradition on the Coffeepot Fellowship, it will be a short podcast episode.

Despite my efforts, Amy Butler has returned my invitations with no’s, not now’s, and basic unavailability from her staff. I’ve met her several times and we have several mutual friends and run in some connected circles, albeit it a different levels.

When I heard her on another podcast recently I heard some of why I might have been receiving no’s. When I listened to the story I’m going to connect you with, I also found myself questioning, “Should (faith) leaders be yes people or no people?” How available should any given leader be? What is the cost of her saying yes very often? What do we gain or lose when our leaders implicitly ask us to lean on one another a little more than we are leaning on them? When is “no” or “not now” the right answer?

amybutler4And maybe it is important, in the way I asked the questions, to say, “Aren’t we all leaders sometimes?”

I hope you are seeing that this is not a public shaming to get Amy Butler to come on our show. If anything it is a check on me and the rest of us to make sure we’re all recognizing healthy boundaries. Honestly, my invitations are gentle and I accept no’s as graciously as possible even when I’m disappointed or frustrated. I love Amy Butler and would thoroughly delight in spending time with her, getting to know her and be known by her. And yet God works through others around us as well, like Ashlee Murphy, Lana Heath de Martínez, Jason Callahan and Ginny Bannister. In my ministries and yours we need steer far clear of exploiting anyone and be sure that our actions and motives are loving.

amybutler3Moving ahead, some of you may remember our April interview with Dave Csinos. Dave is the founder and Executive Director of Faith Forward. Among other things Faith Forward holds an annual conference and makes its key presentations available in a podcast. In 2015 Amy Butler delivered the closing presentation and it is that episode I’m connecting you with today in lieu of our usual  Coffeepot Fellowship format. We’re all about stories on this show and today’s will be delivered by Amy Butler on the Faith Forward podcast. Amy definitely ties together some very personal stories from her life that could easily be her answers to a favorite story, story of biggest trial, and a happiest moment story.

When you hear that short presentation I believe you will understand why I am glad that Amy Butler has said no to us and is spending her time in the places she has rightly discerned that she should be.




Faith Forward 2015 (scroll down)

Amy Butler, “Bread on the Water”

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