Thursday, September 27, 2007

Team Development - Part 3

Flipping the Organizational Chart

If you’ve missed the first two parts of this series, you can read them by clicking the links below:

Team Development Part 1 - Praying for Clarity of Your Purpose

Team Development Part 2 – Your Spot in the Big Picture

Flipping the Organizational Chart is more of a mindset than an action. But, it is an essential part of establishing a team that has a strong foundation. It is also helpful to get this picture so that you can cast the vision of where the ministry is actually happening.

The traditional organizational chart places the leaders over those they lead. In this picture, you have the ministry dangling from the grip of leaders. I suggest you view leadership from a different perspective.

Picture a garden. A seed is planted. A root system then develops to nourish the flowers, fruits, or vegetables. God has planted you to develop a team that will feed a ministry and bloom into a beautiful garden for his glory. The produce from this garden will nourish a multitude because many seeds will be carried to other gardens.

Are you losing your grip on the ministries you oversee? It’s much easier to support from below ground. Letting go allows others to grow up to their potential in Christ instead of depending on your strength to hold them in place.

Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.
Colossians 2:7 (NLT)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels

“Friends, the trouble with contentedness is that, when lived out in isolation, it can be lethal! If you’re not careful, you will become lulled into a state of satisfaction, safety, and serenity, and you’ll altogether neglect needs in the world that should elicit deep discontent when you see them going unmet.” (Bill Hybels, Holy Discontent, 29)

Apparently, I am not the only person who struggles with whether to walk away from things that don’t seem right to me – even in the church –or to do something to change the situation? Is change really worth being inconvenienced?

I grew up with the attitude of “just enjoy life.” Don’t worry, be happy, be content. Life should be fun, easy, relaxing as much as possible after earning your wages. Oh don’t get me wrong, I was taught to help others but it seemed I was to help others if it was convenient.

Please keep in mind that I don’t think my parents intended to teach this to me. It’s just the way I interpreted it with my personality and giftedness.

I’ve discovered over the past few years that contentment is not about how full or empty my calendar is; how much I’m doing for others or how much time I have available for family and friends. True contentment comes from living out the giftedness and passions God has placed in me.

In Holy Discontent – Fueling the Fire that Ignites Personal Vision, Bill Hybels points out that there are times we should walk into our area of dissatisfaction instead of away from it. He refers to Moses’ frustrations with seeing the Israelites mistreated by the Egyptians. Moses confronted and killed an Egyptian out of his frustration. It is safe to say, that is not the desired result of Holy Discontent. However, witnessing the mistreatment fueled God’s purpose in Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

I can relate to this story. I recently dealt with frustrations on an individual basis causing more harm than good. Looking back, however, I can see how my dissatisfaction with the situation ignited my passion to do more in the area of my giftedness. Hybels puts it this way, “what wrecks the heart of someone who loves God is often the very thing God wants to use to fire them up to do something that, under normal circumstances, they would never attempt to do…. You (yes you) can join God in making what is wrong in this world right! And it all starts with you finding your holy discontent; it begins with you determining what it is that you just can’t stand.”

Need a little help finding your holy discontent? Pick up this 149 page book for some inspiring examples of those who have devoted their life to their holy discontent. Ask God to open your eyes to the wrongs he wants you to help make right. Then start living a life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:18-19) It really is worth the inconvenience.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A New Kind of Normal by Carol Kent

“Why did God let this happen?” Have you ever found yourself asking that question or maybe someone is asking you that question about their life.

Carol Kent, in A New Kind of Normal, does not attempt to give cold answers to that tough question. Instead she invites the reader to see how she eventually was able and continues to choose to trust God with all the emotions that emerge in an unexpected, undesirable life-changing event.

But it’s not all about her. She includes personal stories written by seven other women in various circumstances. Each one is vulnerable and authentic. Kent’s husband also contributes from his personal journal which allows us to see that men are not immune to the emotional strains of life change.

In this book you will find hope more than answers. And perhaps the greatest encouragement will come in finding that you are not alone. You may not have what you once had but you may discover, as Kent has over time, that some parts of your new normal are better than your old normal.

Click here to view the motivation for this book.
Please visit Speak Up for Hope

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

“What I believe is not what I say I believe; what I believe is what I do.” (Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, 110)

I have walked through a life of discovery with Donald Miller in reading Blue Like Jazz – Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality. I have also revisited some of the places I walked in my years of doubting God’s existence and wondering why it is often easier to be with non-Christians than it is to be with Christians.

In the midst of my wandering years I found non-Christians to be more authentic. If they were caring, they were more genuinely caring. If they were angry, they didn’t try to hide their anger. If they were laughing, they were enjoying the laughter completely. It is much easier to be around people who are genuine than it is to be around people who are trying to be something they are not.

The most enjoyable element of being in a group of unchurched folks is that they generally don’t expect anything of others. This, I think, is the most enjoyable attraction to not attending church. Ah, you think that is a cop out?

In my early twenties, I organized a volleyball night at my church. The first few weeks the only people that came were co-workers – several of them unchurched or at least not big into church like me. We had a blast. We didn’t care who won or how well anyone was playing. We just had fun.

Then couples from my church started coming to play. And, well, the volleyball nights didn’t last much longer. The couples bickered with each other, picked on others from the church and pretty much made the fun disappear. It didn’t help that the church leadership blamed our unchurched guests and their children for messing with some stuff in the basement of the gymnasium. Truth was, the unchurched kids didn’t wander away from the volleyball court because they didn’t know the church.

Miller talks about love and community in this book a lot. We all need to feel loved and we can’t experience love without community – it’s impossible. The problem is that for many Christians, “love” means making people behave a certain way or behaving a certain way themselves.

This book has made me look at myself and remember how I used to feel about Christians. Am I what I used to hate? Do I “do” what I say I believe?

Blue Like Jazz is a good eye opener for Christians and an authentic look for non-Christians at one man’s discovery that true Christian spirituality is like jazz music. It’s something you feel. It’s something very difficult to get on paper. “But it is no less real, no less meaningful, no less beautiful” when it is lived out authentically.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

How Faithful are You?

I have done nothing to earn or deserve God’s mercy. For six years I fought against him and led others away from him. I don’t deserve his blessings. I don’t deserve the opportunity to participate in his divine nature.

Even after I turned to him, I entertained thoughts and let my curiosity lead me in areas of darkness.

Today I am still far from being as faithful as God.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." Lamentations 3:19-24

How faithful are you?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Psalm 117

Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Psalm 117

Yep, two verses. That’s all there is. Not exciting enough for you? Ok, read it in The Message version.

Psalm 117

Praise God, everybody! Applaud God, all people! His love has taken over our lives; God's faithful ways are eternal. Hallelujah!

Enough said.

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
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