I am currently reading a book by Jay Bilas entitled “Toughness.”  Jay is an ESPN commentator and journalist, a lawyer, and a former Duke University basketball player.  Though I have not yet finished reading the book, I am intrigued by Jay’s definition of toughness and how he sees individuals learning this skill.

          Jay says that “Toughness isn’t physical.  It has nothing to do with size, physical strength or athleticism.  It’s an intangible, an attitude, a philosophy.”  Mike Krzyzweski, Jay’s coach at Duke University, says, “Toughness is not found in bravado.  It is found in the heart of an individual willing to devote him – or herself to what he or she knows is right.”

          While toughness is not a word we often use in our congregations, nor is it in the vocabulary of Healthy Congregations, I believe we should include this word in our collective lexicon.  The words Jay Bilas uses to describe the process of becoming tough – trust, preparation, courage, communication, persistence, commitment, acceptance, resilience, self-evaluation, and hope – are all words we can and should use in developing healthy leaders and thus healthier congregations.

          I look forward to finishing my read of this book and to applying some of Jay’s principles to our emphasis in the Carlisle Presbytery on Healthy Congregations.

          The Healthy Congregations Initiative of the Presbytery of Carlisle is designed to help your congregation’s leaders grow and mature in many areas, including toughness.  If you would like to talk about how the Presbytery is able to assist your congregation’s leaders or, if you have specific situational questions, please contact me directly.

                                                                                      Bill Beck