Follow Jesus into your neighborhood with fellow followers of Jesus. Allow the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ to form your imagination for faithful presence. That means taking your bodies, your location and your community very seriously, as seriously as God in Christ took them. Faithful presence invites you to act on the belief that God is giving you what you need to be formed as disciples within your location.
Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens, Dwight J. Friesen
In a work place that demands higher productivity, greater rewards and demands visible success it is no surprise that people are falling ill, requiring medication and suffering continual stress. The bottom line is market dominance, share price and brand awareness and if we are honest, this thinking has invaded the evangelical church to such a point that we are losing sight of God and building a church that is the bridesmaid and not the Bride.
We can quote sport stars that tell us ‘some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen and others make it happen’ (Michael Jordan) and put unknowing pressure on ourselves to perform. We need our church plants to be financially viable but try and model our churches on a franchise set up without reference to the community they serve, we want to see full pews in buildings that were built in a different generation…..the list is endless.
If you quoted that previous quote at Jim Elliot (missionary to the Aucas) his ministry would have seemed like failure. With the years that have passed, we can now credit the success of the ministry but it is only now that we can celebrate knowing that the Auca people met Christ. The disciples sat huddled in a room as their messiah was dead and defeated but in time they discover their resurrected Lord had conquered death.The missionary to London who has sowed seeds of faith continually in their neighbourhood and may never see the rewards but the person that follows…..Boom!
Goals are killing us…..because we are setting the wrong goals. The goal is to be faithful to a living God, to worship Him, living a life worthy of the calling we have received. We must not remain idle, we are fellow workers with Christ and will be held accountable for what we have done but we must reset the balance and set the right goals, otherwise our goals will kill us. It is not the balance sheet, it is not the numbers of seats filled, it is not the number of churches we have planted (they may be indicators of something…but do not over estimate their value) but the obedience to our call and the way we live our lives.
Set the right goals…..and know life.
We talk a great deal about partnership between organisations but we need to recognise that partnership may have limitations. Each and every organisation has its own strategic aims and objectives and whilst the synergy of partnership will strengthen everyone, there is always the hurdle of autonomy within it that will need to be negotiated.
For a healthy partnership, it is essential to have a respect for the autonomy of the other party in terms of its goals and objectives alongside its own hard fought for identity. This is why a partnership requires clear objectives to underline the value and the goals of the relationship. What are we trying to achieve? What is the purpose of the partnership? What does success look like?
For the Church and mission, partnership is essential. The way we engage and have love for one another will determine the level of its success.
We all know the dream. Imagine the possibilities, the things we could achieve, the lives we could change….IF ONLY…we had more volunteers. Then the world would be in a good place. WRONG!
Usually those dreams centre around capacity building and fail to consider the relational requirements of teams and especially requirements of teams who are full of volunteers. If you want to build a volunteer team, you must drop some of your own engagement with the frontline work and invest into those who sacrificial my give time. If you do not…you will not increase capacity, you will increase frustration.
Sometimes we are just to busy and the fall guys are those who willingly give their time. Don’t be too busy to help your team. If you want to grow, it is essential.
Treat volunteers as a fully paid staff member, the rewards for the organisation will be huge. Clear job roles, clear line management, good training, proper support, annual reviews, feedback…..etc.
You get the picture, if not you are too busy for volunteers.
Having worked in the third sector for a number of years, it has intrigued me as to how different organisations and people engage with volunteers. Standards vary, practices are diverse and the poor management of these crucial people often leads to poor retention rates. A few thoughts;
1) Treat them like precious gold – they are usually the most motivated and believe in what you are doing.
2) Treat them as you would a salaried staff member – why drop standards of care, support and management? These folk are precious.
3) Offer good support – they believe in you, do you believe in them?
4) They enhance your work – yet, many organisations see them as an imposition.
5) they will be your greatest ambassadors – they have chosen to work with you, to support you and to enhance your work. Treat them well and they will also tell the world how great you are.
“I hate the way people use PowerPoint instead of thinking” Steve Jobs
“We are all on the same team. Family doesn’t shoot family.” @kevezell.
“There may be times when we’re powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest” Elie Wiesel
“We are drowning in information, but starved for knowledge” John Naisbilt
“Preach from your scars, not your wounds…” Nadia Bolz-Weber
Found this little nugget in my notebook but have lost the reference to who wrote it…..big apologies…..but felt it was still worth sharing.
“My advice to leaders: Don’t cling to every aspect of the way your business works as you scale up. Stick to your core values, but recognize that you need to lead (or at least be ok with) the evolution of your culture, just as you would lead (or be ok with) the evolution of your product. But be sure you’re sticking to your values, and not compromising them just because the organization scales and work patterns need to change. A leader’s job is to embody the values. That impacts/produces/guides culture. But only the foolhardy leaders think they can control culture.”
Found the writer…..it was Matt Blumberg….thank you Matt
We have all been in meetings when we have been encouraged to think ‘outside the box’, ‘use a blank sheet of paper’ and ‘blue sky dream’. They are nothing new. However, the success of these meetings is dependent upon the attendees, the preparation and the ability to listen. Blue sky thinking quickly deteriorates into a rainy day when the managers begin to see the problems too soon and the potential for new things is swamped by the clouds of past failings. Setting up these meetings well is so important.
Here are a few steps that may help;
- Determine who will attend – these meetings need more creatives than managers. You want ideas to flow without restraint, in the initial stages, and therefore require the big thinkers.
- Guard the ‘rules of the meeting’ – the chair of the meeting needs to ensure that all voices are heard. However, this is not enough, the chair of the meeting must also ensure that clouds are not allowed to form – stay strong in this.
- Every new idea matters – there is nothing in blue sky thinking that should be out of bounds, the limitations come in the next stages of discussion.
- Positive energy – the meeting should be positive thinking, leave the negative views at the door.
- Reward the thinkers – rewards take all shapes and forms but we need to credit those who come up with new ideas, they are the lifeblood of any organisation and prevent stagnation. If we value these people, they will continue to contribute to the benefit of everyone. They are often taking a big personal risk in sharing their ideas.
- Listen well – attendees must listen to absorb what is said. Then ideas can flourish – we often listen to argue with what is said, this is not listening, it is combat!
There are many more that could be added to the list, these are just for starters…..keep dreaming!
“the Will, Skill, and Refill philosophy is a foundation of all of our personal and corporate training. This is how it works: Will—this is the “want to.” This is the heart, the desire, the attitude, the passion that people have. Skill—this is the “how to.” This is the skill, the process, the technical expertise that people have. Refill—this is reinforcing the Will and Skill. There is no such thing as “one and done” training and development. Will and Skill must be developed and reinforced daily”
Zig Ziglar “Born to Win”
“The more I tried to exert power directly, the less powerful I became. I learned to dial back my ego and distribute power as widely as possible without surrendering final authority. Paradoxically, this approach strengthened my effectiveness because it freed me to focus on my job as keeper of the team’s vision.”
“Some coaches insist on having the last word, but I always tried to foster an environment in which everyone played a leadership role, from the most unschooled rookie to the veteran superstar. If your primary objective is to bring the team into a state of harmony and oneness, it doesn’t make sense for you to rigidly impose your authority.”