Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 41

Wisdom Keeps Its Head In All Situation

By Mike VanAuken

I saw Wyndham keep his head while everyone around him was losing theirs. As a result, he was able to lead the Boston Church through dramatic transformation, building on her many strengths while laying the foundation for what she has become.

 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5)

Entering our 28th consecutive year with the privilege of serving on the Boston Church ministry staff, Scarlette and I cherish many memories and count many blessings.  While it seemed unlikely at the time, the tumultuous years of the early 2000’s are now an important part of both. Wyndham’s example, guiding the church through those years, is a lasting memory and still a blessing today.

Leading the Elders to Lead the Church

As of mid to late 2003 we evangelists had lost the confidence of much of the congregation and it was clear that our model of evangelist-centered leadership needed to change. Following several weeks of Bible study, prayer, and emails, a group of about 50 elders, evangelists, and leading brothers gathered to decide how to move forward.  Ultimately, we decided the obvious, that the elders would lead the church, rather than the evangelists. Wyndham and Gordon were the only elders on staff, with 3 or 4 non-staff brothers also serving in that capacity. Wyndham quickly took the point position and became the one stepping up to help people through their emotions and concerns. The church now saw the shepherds at the fore, we evangelists had space to develop a fresh approach to leadership, and both elders and evangelists learned to work well together.

Modeling a Leadership Team

In partnership with John McGuirk, Wyndham established a leadership team for the Boston Church. Gone were the days of “one man leadership.” The group’s roster shifted from time to time, but included elders, both younger and older evangelists, and administrators. Debate was the norm and, while Wyndham clearly chaired the group, he never imposed his will on it.

Keeping Jesus’ Vision Alive

Jesus has great dreams for his church and its impact. During those years, Wyndham never let go of the conviction that the Boston Church is a great beacon to the world and that her best days were ahead. Among other things he insisted that the evangelists once again step up to provide inspiration and faith, ensured that Boston remain a strong ligament within the ICOC fellowship, helped champion student interns at a time when we had none, and was the catalyst for the first Northeast Christians Conference.

Seeing Us Live the Lessons He Taught

I am blessed that the church in which my kids grew up has been so shaped by Wyndham’s example and convictions.  There are now 14 elders instead of 5 or 6, the church has grown 9 of the last 10 years, and every region has at least one elder as well as a leadership team made up primarily of non-staff disciples. I’m grateful that Wyndham’s wisdom helped guide us through some tricky years and continues to influence us today.


I could fill a daily blog for years with wisdom I have learned from Wyndham. However, I’ll stick with one day a week. Each Wednesday I will share wisdom gleaned, not just from me, but from our family who saw him day and night and from friends near and far whose lives he has touched.

Many of you have already told me you wish to share wisdom you learned from Wyndham. If you wish to contribute to this collection please email me at with the subject line—Wednesday Wisdom. If you wish to receive these blogs in your inbox, feel free to sign up to follow the blog.


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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