Balancing Efficiency & Trust in Ministry Staff/Volunteers (Part 3 of 5)

#2 – Drive the people that drive the people

We have all heard the phrase, Work Smarter; not Harder.  I still have not figured out how I completely feel about that statement, yet I have used it before – even on myself.  I just don’t know if it is 100% accurate.  Maybe, but with a few riders added on:
1.       Hard work still required -   Sometimes you just need to belly up and work hard.  Can I get an AMEN?
2.       Everyone needs led well - Most people that answer the call to ministry are motivated by their calling.  Often times, an unproductive worker isn’t lazy – they just need to know exactly what you want done.  Everyone wants to know their expectations and hear them evaluated.  Just giving someone a yearly raise not only wastes their time and yours, in the long run is a short term high for motivation that barely lasts after its reflection in the first paycheck.
3.       The Jesus Model - He is the perfect example (no pun intended – who am I kidding, yes it was) of the keys to working smarter.   
a.       Build Teams – Jesus knew that He couldn’t do ministry alone.  That is why he found the right group of imperfect people to team with.  He didn’t try to do everything himself.  Quite often, He pulled greatness out of them that they didn’t know they had.  Are you doing that with your teams?
b.      Pray for guidance, wisdom - Before Jesus chose the 12 disciples he spent an entire night in prayer and surely had spent a long time processing through it before that.
c.       Relationship – He built a relationship with them.  You can't be led well by someone who doesn’t take interest in you.

What I can learn from this besides A LOT
  • ·         Work hard with the staff in situations where they are working hard.  Lead by example.
  • ·         Give staff clarity, especially during confusing times of change
  • ·         Make sure staff leave my office (especially during times of evaluation) knowing where the stand, that they are appreciated and areas of improvement.
  • ·         Pray for the staff and the teams they lead.
  • ·         Get better relationally with everyone.
What you can do
  • ·         VOLUNTEER – Jesus didn’t do it alone, neither should the staff of your church.  You are as much a disciple as they are.  We are all called to ministry in some form or another.  
  • ·         Work harder and SMARTER when you are serving in ministry.  People over tasks


Balancing Efficiency & Trust in Ministry Staff/Volunteers (Part 2 of 5)

#1 – Care for the people who care for the people.

For lack of a better phrase, fellow staff members need to be my #1 care.  Ministry like any other job has its highs and sometimes lows.  Every staff member/employee of any non-profit organization or ministry willingly took a step, answered a call, accepted the mission to care for people, answer the calls of emergency situations, be present in times of crisis, love, coach, empower, provide empathy, lead through change and encourage.
Ministry is so rewarding; to be able to witness life change and have the high honor of influencing people, but when not managed well it can lead to BURNOUT.  And BURNOUT leads to disdain.  We can get so caught up in all the aspects of ministry previously mentioned that it can begin to affect 4 important areas – Physical, Mental, Spiritual and Social (relational, family) (Anne Jackson, Mad Church Disease).  This cannot happen.  When we let this happen, we are ineffective to those we minister to and not representing Christ well. 

Therefore, I will
  • ·         Encourage and lead staff to be efficient in the day to day tasks,  work harder and smarter with the processes we oversee so that when the people take priority when situations and the day calls for it. 
  • ·         Challenge myself and staff in the 4 areas that can be affected along the road to burnout.
  • ·         Think through a healthy way to get staff spouses and family members involved in goal setting etc.
  • ·         I need to keep an open door as often as I can at the office and LISTEN better.  I really need to learn from others by listening as we converse in my office or theirs.
What you can do
  • ·         Pray for the ministry staff that leads you
  • ·         Encourage them, fill up their tank – they need it sometimes
  • ·         Trust them


Balancing Efficiency & Trust in Ministry Staff/Volunteers (Part 1 of 5)

4 years ago I was leading multiple locations and local store marketing of a National Brand and Franchise. I was working with everyone from training a teenager to run the drive thru to leading managers to be better leaders to helping assess the needs of a certain store in a certain market to make the best of their local store marketing plan.  That was my life for years and luckily it came very easy for me.  I was a very firm, fair and consistent manager who never needed to be liked, just respected.  Respected that I was making the best decisions for the business - for the team as a whole, while empowering people to leave a stronger leader/employee from the day they started to the day they left; and having fun while doing it.  Customer satisfaction and the P&L drove my ambitions, but quite frankly  - my employees were my number one customer.  All of that was a tough balance, but one I feel I eventually was able to lead well.  

Today, I find myself in a position I have dreamed of for many years at the church I grew up in.  I have always felt called to ministry, just not from the front.  I'm not a preacher (although some would argue based on the topic ;-) ), I am not even that good from the stage.  What I feel called to do is make whats behind the scenes a well oiled machine so that the front line leaders minister most effectively.  What is most fulfilling about this job is that it is not about money, its about people - and its about a church God designed with imperfect leaders leading an imperfect community of believers and seekers. God's creative that way. 

Over the next week or so, I will be examining the balance of getting efficiency out of those leading in ministry, holding them to a firm/fair/consistent working environment while having heaps of trust in these amazing people with skills and talents I will never have or understand - and watching them flourish into what they do so well into the gifts He has blessed them with.

So for those of you who have never worked in ministry and those of you who have not worked in the same world your congregation or organizations members have, stay tuned - would love to hear if you agree or disagree with any of my thoughts.

To Be Continued.......


What's My Line Again?

Check out this video out for 2 Sentences that can help invigorate your motivation in career, family, life, ministry:

If you really want to find true motivation, you need to ask yourself, "what's my sentence?". I love this concept.
I have come across a lot of individuals who completely understand this concept.
  • Some have defined their sentence by turning tragedy into triumph, stories and life change
  • Some have found purpose in their careers
  • Some have found a redefined role in their families.
Sometimes, I fail miserably at my "sentence".  But that is okay!  Sometimes one of the hardest things to do in life is define our purpose, to clearly state God's purpose for our life.  If you feel you are missing that, take some time to define your sentence.  Just doing that gives you a clearer definition of what a win looks like for yourself.

What's your sentence?  Life, Career, Ministry, Family?


Twitter "Breaking-News Juked" Brain Williams & Friends

How very clear it was that the world is moving more rapid than we sometimes are prepared for.  As bulletins began to come across to stay tuned for Obama's press conference, twitter began to light up.  Not only did it light up, but it juked the television news media and proved that it is no longer the most reliable source for the most up to date news.  Twitter now is.
At 10:25 p.m. Sunday night, while Mr. Obama was writing his speech, one particular tweet seemed to confirm it. Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for the former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, wrote at that time, “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden."  Then it all came out.

Brian Williams and his cronies were breaking news juked.

Check out this video on how quickly the world is changing and evaluate how your organization is managing the tension of shift vs consistency when it comes to your direction, vision and mission.

3 Questions:

1. Who is juking you? Is your ministry, business, church or organization keeping up with the quick changes is this world in communication and relevance? Do you know how to manage that tension?
2. Are you listening to those who are catalysts of innovation or to those who drop phrases like, "we always did it that way" or "but that's how we like it"?
3. As a follow-up to Question #2 - Is your organization on the rise or the dangerous slope of decline?


You want vacation? Take as much as you WANT!

I continually enjoy to watch the progression of how different organizational culture is from 50, 30 and even 10 years ago. Daniel Pink references yet another organization (netflix)in his article, Netflix lets it's staff take as much holiday as they want, whenever they want - and it works!

This may seem crazy to some of you as an avenue to invite even more chaos into coworker and peer to peer disputes or grudges. In fact, your mind probably immediately goes to person A or B who you know would take advantage of such a ridiculous policy or maybe you start to think about the fact that you have been here 20 years and have earned every bit of the vacation that you have, Why should the freshman staffer get the same benefits I get? Is that you? Where does your mind go?

The truth of the matter is this; The culture of successful organizations are ever changing and evolving to this more than you think. Successful organizations have been consistently reinventing the wheel from leadership structures, organization charts, who makes the final calls, how you meet, where you meet and when you meet.

Far out policies like taking vacation whenever you want make sense when your staff is answering calls, emails, and texts in the evenings and on weekends. In the world we live in, it is becoming unavoidable - especially in ministry.

This only works when you have the right culture in your organization. And whether you want to admit it or not, it comes from the top and those who influence them. In reality, an organization has to have to have a pretty amazing culture in order to accomplish this type of policy without anyone second guessing someone or taking advantage. Trust, respect, innovation, candor, bias for action, collaboration and selflessness are just the beginning of this type of culture.
  • Does your organization have the type of culture that a policy like this would work?
  • If so, what are the characteristics of a culture like this?
  • If not, are you a help or hurt to the culture that needs to be instituted? 


The Coffee We Drink and Those Who Provide It

Every cup of coffee purchased on Sunday mornings here at Grace Church is much more than a cup of coffee. Check out one of these videos to see just what buying a cup of coffee can do.

Full Version

Visit Bukonya! (6 minutes - Full Version) from Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee on Vimeo.

Short Version

Visit Bukonya! (3m 30sec) from Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee on Vimeo.

Cant wait to go there one day.....


Perfect Timing, or is it?

If you enjoyed the quick animated video by Daniel Pink on Motivation (in the previous post), then you will be sure to enjoy this animated video on the different perspectives of how we view time and how it influences who we are.
Take a listen especially to the part at the end with how we currently educate students.  What do you think?


Motivation Station

Are you into motivating or being motivated? Check out this video  by Daniel Pink, author of Drive :  Daniel is one of the guest speakers at this years Willowcreek Global Leadership Summit.  For more information on registering, please go here.

As I watched this, I had 5 thoughts:
  1. Am I, are you, in a position to motivate?  I believe the answer is yes for everyone. We are either a leader, manager, parent, teacher, supervisor, coworker, friend, spouse, student, etc or all of them.
  2. In any of those positions or relationships that you are in - What motivates you?  What motivates those you lead?
  3. Do you assume that what motivates you also motivates other?  Does it?  
  4. If you are leading motivation and innovation in a non-profit, church or para-church organization, how do you motivate?  Especially without using money?
  5. Daniel mentioned 3 factors that lead to better performance beyond financial.  Do you agree/disagree?  How are you or your organization leading innovation in these areas?
    • Autonomy - the desire to be self directed
    • Mastery - the urge to get better at "stuff"
    • Purpose - the need to be a part of something that transcends profit.  Motive for the greater good.


Can Folgers Do Good?

Does your morning Cup O' Joe make a difference?  Can it?  This is from a friends blog about Good Coffee   This is just another reason why I felt so compelled to change coffee at Grace  - we drink so much coffee in this world and to be able to drink a coffee with a strong mission and vision just makes sense.

I believe these bikes will give
the people of Bukonya a new start …”
-Emmanuel Hagumayo

We have talked a lot about the Sustainable Cycle project, and many of you have caught this vision for buying a bike that will change the lives of farmers and their families.  It’s been exciting to see the innovative ways people have purchased bikes: bake sales, art auctions, or simply a donation jar.
I am now excited to share with you about a man in the village of Bukonya who was one of the first people to buy a bike through the microfinance project.  Bukonya is the village in northwest Rwanda where we have started a coffee cooperative and focused much of our attention as a company.  This village is very rural, so we have taken the opportunity to work (literally) to the hills. The coffee they grow, by the way, is amazing!  Buy yourself a bag of Bukonya Ikawa … you won’t be sorry. :)   Here are a few facts about Emmanuel.  If you would like an electronic file of his story to share let me know (erinleigh@drinkcoffeedogood.com).
  • Emmanuel Hagumayo, age 62
  • Hometown: Bukonya, Rwanda
  • Family: his wife, 7 children, 1 adopted orphan and 23 grandchildren
  • Occupation: Coffee Farmer
  • Emmanuel was one of the first members of the coffee cooperative, & one of the first to microfinance a bicycle
  • His belief is that the bikes will give his community a new start, making it “a place where people work hard, food is plentiful, and education is attainable for everyone.
 So Drink Coffee Do Good!  Okay?!  If you need any help starting or marketing this in your organization or church, please let me know.


Drink Coffee Do Good

At Grace Church we now have the opportunity to not only support our local roaster, but to also support fair wages for coffee farmers in Rwanda (who have been affected by genocide) and in Thailand (who have been affected by human trafficking).
Check out the details of who we will be helping and why we will be doing this by watching the videos below or checking out the story and product by clicking HERE.

Watch Video by clicking HERE

We will be offering complementary coffee on Sunday, April 25th - so be sure to check out whats happening in the cafe that day at Grace.

Remember, Drink Coffee Do Good!!!

Volunteers that Lead Well

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he/she wants to do it. -Dwight D. Eisenhower

To be successful in ministry, the art of leading and empowering your key volunteers into ministry leaders is vital to your success. Like business, your ministry and initiatives succeed or fail by your leadership. When done well, this will alleviate your time, energy and provide the proper volunteer with a renewed feeling of ownership and purpose.

Easy traps that ministry staff can fall into:

· Just filling a hole; not equipping a ministry with leaders.

· Not properly matching a leaders’ passion with the position you are seeking to staff.

· Matching the passion properly, but micromanaging the job they are doing or the decisions they make.

· Not being completely honest up front with the duties that the leadership position will entail.

· Not asking for help from others around you that empower well.

A church growing in this economy is probably not adding staff left and right. The staff’s duties will grow as the church grows – and without added staff it will become very difficult if the time is not put in now to have a proactive team of ministry leaders under you.

When done well, you can empower passionate leaders over your ministry teams to:

· Be an initiator not a reactor

· Recognize problem areas before you do

· Feel fulfilled by serving with purpose

· Ownership brings success

· Take stress and responsibility off of your plate



Health Care thoughts...uh oh!

Health Care Reform

Random thoughts/questions on the Health Care reform; maybe you can answer some of the questions or have other thoughts.

• We have a health care problem in our country. I was surprised how angry I was about this bill at first and how really angry Conservatives were. The more I thought about it, the Republicans had 8 years to fix this their way and they never did. Shame on them.

• Where does the money come to pay for this? I saw today that Medicare payroll taxes are going up. Is that true? It looks like this might be another bill the middle class has to pay for. Answers please…..

• It disgusts me that we live in a world of political payoffs from BOTH parties with every bill. That is how we get things done I guess. Shame on them.

• We need to love the poor and help them, yet at the same time not enable them. When will this country become good at that?

• What is to keep my employer from providing me with Health Insurance? Is the fine for them not offering it big enough to keep them offering it? And let’s be real, I work at a church, if the fine isn’t that big, wouldn’t it be good stewardship for them to drop all of us? On second thought, if businesses drop insurance coverage, do you get the money in your paycheck that they were paying in health insurance? Well, the amount making up the difference of the fine?

• Am I the only person in America that just wishes we do a flat tax of fair tax?

• How does this affect my doctor visits, my waits for hospitals, etc?  In what ways will this demotivate people from working hard?  Will it?

• I have to see some polls on this, because we live in a Democratic country. If this is something the majority of the country want, then it is what it is, right? Majority wins – always. Whether we like it or not. 

• Do you think that what Iraq became for Bush will become what Health Care is for Obama?

• I hope we all still give thanks and PRAY for our government leaders and this wonderful system we live in. Say what you want about it, but we still live in the best country there is. 

Lastly, without trying to sound like one of those corny Christians who says I put my faith in God, His values and His sacrifice for my life as something more important to me than the politics of this country or how my taxes may fall…..I am going to say, “I put my faith in God, His values and His sacrifice for my life as something more important to me than the politics of this country or how my taxes may fall”

What are your thoughts or questions? Better yet, can you answer any of mine?


2 Personal Reflections from Vacation (Part 2 of 2)

The abundance of joy that comes from parenting, marriage and leading your family well.
This is also something I tend to take for granted.  Sometimes Kelly and I take a weekend away without the boys, but this was a week way from the boys.  Although our marriage and our family are not perfect, they are joy giving fountains.  It was tough to be away that long, yet good.  I remember the day when I was really hesitant about kids and even figured that I probably wouldn’t get married until late in my life.  Well, that all changed in a hurry.  In my life, as in yours, there are times when God’s timing is completely different than ours.  I met Kelly when I wasn’t even looking.  Kelly became pregnant with Eli before we were even planning on starting a family.  Yet both came into my life at the exactly right time.  

Simply stated, Kelly makes me a better person.  Do we have arguments?  YES.  Am I selfish and rarely admit I am wrong?  YES.  Do I learn from her? YES, but don’t tell her.  She is amazing at making our house a home.  Keeps it clean, well decorated and has more motivation to do this than anyone I have ever met.  She is my example of being a hard working, innovative and ethical worker.  She challenges me to be a better parent; it is hard to keep up with her ability parent.  Those boys love her.  

Speaking of the boys, Eli and Owen are, as I stated, joy giving fountains.  If you are having a bad day, talk to one of them.  Eli will hug you, Owen will punch you – either way you will feel loved.  I think some people who say they do not want children are selfish or using it as an excuse for something– just as I thought in my early 20’s. Yes, there are times when being a parent is tough and patience can be thin, but nothing changes your life until you have a child.  You just don’t understand what parents feel until you are one.  You may get a slivering glimpse of it if you have a relationship in your life like a parent to a child.  Kids bring joy; help you to be a better human being and give you better perspective.  Nothing beats pelting your children with NERF guns, our random dance parties, listening to them tell stories about their day, laughing with them and crying with them.  NOTHING

My challenge to myself and others:
1 Rethink how I am shaping my children.  Be more specific in my conversations with them.  What moments am I letting pass by as just another “little” moment instead of a worthy conversation.  How am I uniquely catering one on one interaction to the individual character of each of my children? 
2 Laugh more with your children, wrestle more with your children, play dollhouse more with your children, whack the crap out of them with a NERF weapons, etc.
3 Pray for them more specifically, Pray with them more specifically and teach them to pray for others specifically. 

This is my responsibility


2 Personal Reflections from Vacation ( Part 1 of 2 )

The art of raising my children not to be American while raising them to be American

This is apparently something I have not mastered yet.  The boys love fighting over who gets the turtle that glows at bed time or whining about not being able to go to McDonald's every night for dinner as much as they have a heart for sharing.  While vacation on the cruise ship I was able to play witness to grown children (adults) whine like children who did not get their way because the ship had engine problems and could not make it to its original destination.  Despite the trip to a different island and a decent refund /person, all you could hear for the rest of the trip were temper tantrums, feet stomping and foul mouthed attitudes towards the crew of the ship.  Demands for full refunds were flying left and right at the same time we were passing by Haiti.  I mean; HELLO?  You have been born into one of the richest countries with freedoms and possessions few are blessed with. You are wining and dining on a traveling city and when you paid for it clicked "agree" on the fine print that the destination can change for any reason.

When we returned home we put forth more initiative in talking with the boys about appreciation for what they have.  Not that we didn't do this before, but a refreshed effort has kicked in gear here.  What led me to admit we have not mastered this yet is some of the boy’s responses.  Although they are two of the sweetest boys I know who truly love others, it is difficult for a 4 and a 6 year old to have, for example, a full appreciation for the devastation in Haiti or what it would like to not have any toys and live in a one room hut.

My challenge to myself and others:
1 Keep the conversation going.  Talk about this stuff at the dinner table, before bed as you pray with them or with teachable moments throughout the day.  Get them serving with you at local charities, shelters or at church.

2 As any parent knows, our children mimic us.  This includes our attitude and reactions.  This also includes the people we allow in their life.  A smart parent gets rid of the whiners, complainers and piss poor attitudes that surround their children.  Reflect on your relationships and how they may influence your children.  Get rid of them and be the example of gratitude.

3 This may sound extreme, but eliminate everything from their room and make them sleep on a mat on the floor without a blanket.  This will work trust me!  Okay, maybe a little extreme - so maybe just get better at not spoiling your children.  As hard as it is to not want to give your children everything they need and sometimes want, they really can get by on much less.  For example, Kel and I are big proponents of only a few gifts at Christmas and one small item for their birthday. 

The last thing you want is your child at the age of 40 laying into some guy from Africa working 365 days straight on a ship away from his family living in a village without a decent well for clean water all because the "more than generous" refund that they received didn't compare to the heartache of having to go to Nassau instead of Jamaica.  Could you imagine the disappointment?