by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
Are you one of those who has a tendency to compare yourself to others? I can be. And my comparisons often show me coming up . . . short.
Others appear more engaging, more educated, more everything. They seem to have the very gifts I don’t possess.
The funny thing is, I may be exactly right. Not all of us are alike. God gives different gifts and talents to each of us and for His reasons only, some appear to have more than others.
The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 tells us of a master giving talents (a measure of money) to three servants. One received five talents, another two, and another, one. We know the story well.
The servant who received five talents made five more, and the servant who received just one talent hid his away and made nothing. The first servant was rewarded with greater authority. The third was cast aside for not using what he was given.
But what about the servant in the middle ... the one who received two talents? We see no record of him complaining about receiving just two talents, and there is nothing in the text about any grumbling over the difficulty in making more money with only two—while another was given five.
Instead, we see a servant who took no time to compare to another and instead went to work with what he had. In the end, he gained two more talents. Do you know what fascinates me about the master’s response? For both the servant who received two talents and the one who received five, the reward is the same.
Both servants are told, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (Mt. 25:21, 23)
I suspect many of us feel we are a little short of talents at times. And yet, the Lord is only asking us to take what we have and give our best. If we build on what we have, He receives joy--which He then invites us into.
So today, let’s all take heart. The joy of our master is not dependent on the number of talents we receive, but on how we use the ones we have.
by Jor-El Godsey, President
Best practices and powerful tools will only carry the effort so far... And maybe not as far as we'd think or want.
Even from the title of his book, "The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business," Patrick Lencioni tells it straight. Our best tips, tools, and techniques won't carry the day beyond the operational health of our organization.
Sounds too "touchy-feely"? Lencioni anticipates this objection, noting, "[M]any leaders struggle to embrace organizational health because they quietly believe they are too sophisticated, too busy, or too analytical to bother with it. In other words, they think it's beneath them." (Emphasis added)
Lencioni, well-known for best-selling leadership and management books such as "Five Dysfunctions of a Team," "Death by Meeting," and "The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive," pulls from each of these and others to reveal how a business or non-profit can learn to function in a healthy way.
Setting aside his customary "fable" format, Lencioni uses real-life examples to illustrate and emphasize the challenge and importance of working toward organizational health.
"Organizational health will one day surpass all other disciplines in business as the greatest opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage." Lencioni says.
If you're new to Lencioni, you might start with his "Five Dysfunctions of a Team" to ease into these weighty concepts. His books are neither long nor difficult to read, but offer powerful insights for any non-profit organization.
by Ellen Foell, Legal Counsel
Twelve tribes. Twelve leaders.
Each of these twelve men had the same mission, the same destination. The destination was the Promised Land. The mission was straight from God through Moses: Scout out the land of Canaan.
We know the story. How many came back? How many had a negative report? Ten. How many came back with a good report? Two. Remember, all twelve were Israelites who had seen the same power of God, heroically leading them out of the land of Egypt and miraculously parting the Red Sea for the entire nation to walk across dry land.
Each of these leaders were adventurers—explorers, daring to go where no Israelite had gone before. But only two came back with a good report.
Now, let's think about those two. Two men, two characters, two temperaments, two callings, two destinies. One destination, one God.
We know plenty about Joshua...the man even has a book named after him. Joshua was the understudy for Moses before eventually replacing him as the leader of God's chosen people. He used to stay at the entrance to the tent of meeting even after Moses had gone to bed.
With Moses kept outside Canaan, it was Joshua who led the people on the last leg of the journey into the Promised Land. He led the march around Jericho. Joshua charged and challenged the people with perhaps the most popular wall hanging in Christian homes today: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)
Then there was "The Other Guy." What was his name again? Caleb. What do we know about Caleb? Not a whole lot. Other than as his Hebrew name suggests, he was wholehearted. He followed the Lord wholeheartedly.
Caleb, along with Joshua, had journeyed into the same Promised Land with the other spies, had seen the same things, and came back with a report that, along with Joshua's, differed so much from that of the 10 that his life was spared. Along with Joshua, Israel's second in command, Caleb had been brave and had to swim against the tide.
Now imagine: When Joshua received his accolades from the Israelites, he did not stand up and say (or at least it is not recorded): "I want to thank everyone who made this possible, especially my friend and companion, a man of great and wholehearted faith, Caleb the Kenizzite." (A roar of applause rises in the background)." No, no accolades. No book. No quotable quote hanging on my kitchen wall 3,000 years later.
Caleb was the other guy. But, what a guy.
The boldness of being the 'other guy'
Caleb, as far as we know, was about 80 years old when he walked into the Promised Land. After seven years of fighting the Canaanites, Jebusites, Amalekites and other-ites, Caleb boldly walked up to Joshua and asked for the inheritance, the destiny that was his. Then, he took it. He received all that he asked for. That interaction is recorded in Joshua 14:7-14, which underscores Caleb's wholeheartedness and vigor in serving the Lord.
Hebron has belonged to Caleb ever since (Joshua14:14). Caleb's destiny was secure. He was able to take that same hill country he had seen over 40 years earlier.
He was strong. He was patient. He waited more than 40 years to get his hill country. He persevered. He never lost sight of the vision or the promise. He trusted God. He did not try to accomplish God's will on his own. He was a man of conviction. He was not self-reliant; he knew he needed the Lord's help. He had a specific place he wanted: The hill country.
Caleb was not a namby-pamby guy who would take leftovers. He had a place in mind within the destination of God, and he asked for it. He respected authority. He went to Joshua and reminded him of the promises of God in the midst of Joshua parceling out all the land, and simply asked for what was rightfully his.
Caleb was not a jealous guy—at least there is nothing to indicate he was. He watched Joshua follow Moses into the tent of meeting. He watched Joshua take the place as leader of the Israelites. He watched as Joshua led. What kind of leader was this? A wholehearted leader who never lost his vision for his destiny or God's destination.
Caleb took the promises of God, not as a deserved reward, but as an opportunity to exercise faith and claim new victories. Caleb was in his 80s, yet he asked for the hardest place of all, a place where giants were entrenched and where the fierce Anakim still guarded the cities (v.12). He did not ask for an easy place where he could spend his remaining years in peace and quietness. He still wanted to do something for the Lord, and for those who would come after him.
You will notice, that although Caleb thanked God for his vigor and strength, he did not depend on his own strength. Instead, he confessed his need of God's help and demonstrated a faith firmly grounded in God's promise, not on his own strength, nor that of his fellow Israelites. Though Israel had disappointed him 40-plus years before, Caleb did not complain when he had to continue wandering in the wilderness with his countrymen.
Learning from the 'other guy'
What can we learn from the other guy? Not everyone is a Joshua. Not everyone is in the limelight. Not everyone has a biography that thousands read. God will not, and does not, reprimand, chastise us, or judge us for that. Sometimes, the best leaders are those faithful folks who lead behind the scenes, daily exercising faith, declaring their testimony, and pressing on to claim what God has for them.
Sometimes we don't understand why disappointments come our way, often through no fault of our own. But we must remember that new opportunities can still come our way if we hold steady in faith and keep on walking with the Lord. Caleb watched his fellow leader and servant, Joshua, succeed, lead, fight, and win battles, while he himself did not grow weary of doing good.
He did not grow jealous or competitive. He did not grow disrespectful, he respected the authority and anointing of God in Joshua.
We must all, like Caleb "wholly follow the lord." Let us not seek honor or reputation from our fellow man. It is enough to do with all our hearts whatever God gives us to do, and give all the glory to Jesus. Then we will some day hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
What about you? Are you a Joshua? Leading seven times around the city, charging into Jericho, dispensing justice, and lands, slaying giants? Or are you a Caleb, the other guy? The other one? Faithfully, mightily, justly, humbly, patiently and wholeheartedly following God, into your destiny?
Whether a "Caleb" or a "Joshua," let us be found wholeheartedly loving and serving Jesus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...Hebrews 12:1
It seems not too long ago, I was constantly running kids or my elderly parents to their appointments. Trips to the dentist, orthodontist, physical therapist, orthopedic specialist, and dermatologist kept me constantly moving.
My children are now adults and my parents have since passed away. Yet, here I am with the same amount of appointments.
Funny thing is, now all the appointments are for me.
Lately, I have noticed the "maturing" process more and more. Sometimes, it bothers me. The books I've read about how exercise can help slow down the aging process have convinced me to learn the sometimes-joyful discipline of exercise, especially over the past four years.
While I was doing my thing in the lap pool the other day, I noticed a younger, very fit woman in the next lane.
Now, I rarely try to pace myself with other swimmers, but that day, I decided to go for it. I can assure you that, whatever semblance of a race I pretended we were in, I came in second place. The harder I tried the further behind I fell.
Feeling a little distraught, about to give up, and just plain old, well old in general, I suddenly heard a still small voice. "Run your own race, the race marked out for you."
Was this a Holy Spirit-inspired moment? I think so. As I splashed down the lane, I began to heed the advice. I began to zero in on my own technique and took my eyes off my unaware competitor.
Funny thing is, the more I focused on my own race, the more satisfied I became with my efforts. And, the more I improved.
In that exercise session, I did my personal best in time and, more importantly, in distance, all while losing track of the young athlete in the next lane over.
There are times and seasons in our lives when we are called to hone in and build our endurance as we run our own race. It is so easy to get caught up in comparing our own giftedness, resources, and ministries with those around us, which can either result in us feeling really good or really bad—neither of which translate to joy or are of much use in the lifelong journey of endurance.
Believe me, this "maturing" woman has been there and knows.
Is today the day you lay aside the things that hold you back and push forward in faith?
No matter your age, as long as you are alive, you are called to run with perseverance the race marked out for you.
What are you waiting for? Get moving!
By Betty McDowell, LSW, LAS, Director of Ministry Services
by Chet Scott, Built To Lead
The US Air Force trains it team to memorize two numbers, for the sole purpose of their survival during a time of trauma. We don't recall so well when we're overwhelmed, so our military leaders want these numbers embedded in their soldiers brains.
Our tendency, remember, is to do nothing, to turn into statues when we become hyper-stressed. This is rarely the right call. If the building is on fire, run. If the plane has crashed and you are still alive – move. If the boat is capsizing in the open seas, get going. Head for the upper deck and plan your escape. Don't sit still. However, if you're lost deep in the woods, according to Ken Hill a renowned expert in this field, don't get busy moving. Don't run. Don't move. This is where being a statue actually pays off. STOP. You are most likely to be found, in this case, if you stay where you are. Moving on...
Our fear tendency takes a similar look and feel every day around the hallways of corporate America. The moment things get a little hazy, crazy, and out of control we start to freak. When we can't see where we're going the freak can reach a dizzying peak. Our brain gets overwhelmed and without a sense of direction, we go statue again. We ruminate, and we tend toward sitting in our "cubes" and either doing nothing, or doing nothing new.
We STOP. We wait for the leader to tell us the way forward. They rarely do. So, mindlessly we continue to do what we've always done even when deep inside we know it's not working. And, oftentimes we go further. We allow our brain to forecast the future and it tends to catastrophize when given an overwhelming problem and little to no direction home. Yikes. Back to our Air Force pair of num's to recall.
Here are the numbers.
The USAF reminds it's workers of these two numbers over and over again. Here's what they mean.
98.6, as you already know, is our optimum core body temperature. When it gets below 88 you can't think clearly and when it drops below 82, you're toast. They teach their team to do what's necessary to remember techniques to keep warm. Here's one. Consume sugar even if it's cold. Sugar is the best ignitor of heat. Choose sugar over coffee, tea, or alcohol. Is that sweet or what?
3 is a little more complicated. They refer to this as the Rule of 3.
You cannot survive:
Here's the BTL AND...
To live out your OPUS while traveling your builder's journey, please remember this:
Your CORE temperature needs to feel like fire. As you pay attention to what gives you energy along this journey we call life, you can significantly improve your chances of writing your masterpiece. Step one is realizing what gives you energy the moment you are doing it. We refer to these as discovering your LOVE's. We ask our clients to write this in the form of their love to's. Very cool. Great lives are always lived by someone that discovers their passions and falls in LOVE in work and life. This is step one...
3 numbers we remind our family, friends, and clients are as follows:
12 8 4 powered by 2 is our framework for building CORE centered confidence, Communities with chemistry, and Continuity with contentment. These fortunate few live lives that represent their masterpiece. Their teams are inspired communities of people that are building deep trust and tasting what it's like to be in flow. They build the next generation of leaders before they need them and understand why this is best. These, home grown leaders, carry the vision forward and make it clearer during their time. The team outlasts it's founder and continues on with uncommon alignment, engagement, and energy. The Leader looks back at this legacy with contentment. Very cool.
And, you're BTL CORE on fire. We'll call this you're Air Force three. Remember these and you'll be flying.
Like this article? You'll love Heartbeat International's Insitutes for Center Effectiveness, which features on-site training from the Built To Lead team in the Leadership Track. Registration is open today for Insitutes, which takes place Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in Columbus, Ohio. Click here to learn more.
Every day, in every corner of the world, God is moving His people to launch new efforts on behalf of mothers and children at-risk for abortion, as well as efforts aimed at healing those affected by previous abortions and reaching communities with positive pro-life messages focusing on imago Dei and Sexual Integrity.
Heartbeat International is here to support front-line life-savers carry out the unique call of God with excellence in real-life settings and circumstances.
Click any of the below to start with the information you need.
Answering the call to reach, rescue, and renew men, women, and children--even entire communities--from the violence of abortion requires a team effort, with every life-saver pulling on the same rope.
Click one of the below to learn more about your unique calling... and what you can do to become best equipped on the front lines of the Pregnancy Help Movement.
Close to 1,000 registrants, exhibitors, speakers and guests were on site in Charleston, South Carolina for the event, which was kick-started by a rousing performance from Charleston’s own Plantation Singers, who serenaded attendees gathering for the first general session of the conference Wednesday afternoon.
Included in the conference were representatives from 17 countries outside the United States, several of whom traveled back with Heartbeat staff to Heartbeat headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, for an additional week of training and encouragement following the conference.
“It was wonderful to be with other warriors in this pro-life movement,” one attendee said. “As this was my first experience at a conference, I was so excited with what happens in PRCs around the country and the world! What a joy it was to assist someone else with new ideas to make her center better.”
While opportunities to connect and fellowship with pregnancy help servants around the world abounded, so did opportunities to hear from the roster of excellent keynote and workshop speakers, who emphasized over and over the theme that Love is Our Language.
The workshop slate was made up of an all-time high 78 sessions divided into 13 tracks—not including 10 all-day in-depth day opportunities—equipping leaders to better serve women and families in locales the world over.
Headlined by noted Christian apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias, keynotes were also delivered by:
Thank you so much for making this year’s conference truly special, and please don’t miss the opportunity to join us April 7-10, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri for next year’s conference.
Preparing for her workshop on mergers and strategic partnerships at the 2013 Heartbeat International Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, Vivan Koob was hoping her hard work would pay off in the encouragement and equipping of her fellow pregnancy help leaders.
When it came time for her to present, however, the room didn’t quite fill up as she’d hoped.
But that initial disappointment was long-gone by the time the calendar flipped to 2014, as Vivian’s pregnancy help organization, Elizabeth’s New Life Center in Dayton, Ohio, was in the process of reaping a bountiful harvest from the meagerly attended workshop.
As it turned out, the presentation Vivan was so busy preparing—and the fact that she presented it at Heartbeat’s conference—was the perfect fit for a strategic grant from the Dayton Foundation.
“It really was helpful to have given that talk at the conference,” Vivian said. “The grant itself is not a large grant, and it isn’t the first we’ve received from the Dayton Foundation, but it is going to go a long way to help us develop strategic alliances that will help us become less grant-reliant in the future.”
The grant covers the cost of a consultant whose role is to build strategic alliances with community entities, and promises to open the door to potential partnerships Elizabeth’s New Life Center may never have had the chance to approach otherwise.
Throughout the process, Vivan has also been invited by the Dayton Foundation to share her expertise on mergers with other nonprofits in the area, again setting the table for future partnerships that otherwise may not have been realized.
“This was an exciting grant for us to have received,” Vivian said. “Being able to say that we’d gone through three mergers and presented on the topic at Heartbeat’s conference really helped us to make our case.”
With two representatives from the development team at Elizabeth’s New Life Center slated to lead workshops at the 2014 Heartbeat International Annual Conference in Charleston, S.C., Vivian is hoping for the bountiful harvest to continue.
Hopefully, this year, the harvest won’t come at the cost of a sparse crowd.
Check out the workshops from the development team at Elizabeth’s New Life Center:
Panning for Gold in the Grant Funding Stream, Kima Jude
Development Bootcamp, Debbie Nieport LAS
From Take Heart | Volume 2, Issue 11
As the season of Advent unfolds and the focus on the birth of our Savior sharpens, the reality of this Scripture, like a diamond held up to the light, reveals multiple facets.
Behold. Be aware. Observe. Consider. This is the first step for us. We must open our eyes to see what is already at hand. The busyness of our schedule, the volume o f our workload, the needs of the ministry all can conspire to crowd our vision and actually shrink our awareness of anything but the urgent. It may take a moment to step away from the inbox, set aside the volunteer schedule, wait to review the financials, and simply focus on what the Holy Spirit is doing.
The Kingdom of God is all that He is and all that He controls. Think about that for a moment. Where is He not King? To what places does His reign not extend? Perhaps there are regions of our hearts and issues that have yet to be yielded to His Lordship, but He is certainly present even there, just as He is present in our ministry and among His people.
Indeed, the Kingdom “is in your midst,” right where you are. Truly, the Kingdom of God is in the midst of your staff meeting and each shift of volunteers. The King is with you during your event planning and while you stare at the blank page that awaits your monthly appeal letter. The Holy Spirit is present when you see the red numbers on the financials. He knows your pain and your tears.
The kingdom of God is even there with you in a board meeting (whether or not every board member has read the reports in advance!). He often speaks through this group that is assembled for the care and concern of the work that He has inspired. Whether you’re the executive director, board chair, treasurer, counselor, or administrative assistant, He, and His kingdom, is in your midst.
By Jor-El Godsey
Remember when calling a center “Crisis Pregnancy Center” represented a widely accepted “best practice”?
Best practices, as defined at BusinessDictionary.com, are “methods and techniques that have consistently shown results superior than those achieved with other means, and which are used as benchmarks to strive for.” PRC’s have adopted varied practices over the years. Some flowed from moral or ethical considerations, others were informed by results or intuition. Hopefully, positive results followed all these practices. But have all these practices been subjected to rigorous comparison to “other means”? That is a critical step to specifically defining a best practice.
Any packaged “best practice” should be evaluated in light of the overall mission. This should include understanding the client who is the mission’s target, as well as the vision of the organization and its own definition of success. Variations between organizations, even programs within organizations, suggest that some, perhaps, many practices can’t be applied in the same way from organization to organization with the same effectiveness.
Best practice is more often a high-sounding buzzword for promotional material than an objective, empirical reality. It’s vital to analyze the foundation of any claim involving a best practice. For example in focus testing of the name “Crisis Pregnancy Center,” our target clients’ responses were weak. As a result, the term “crisis” has largely been eliminated from elements of client marketing in favor of new language with broader appeal.
Practices can certainly be good, effective, productive, healthy and even excellent. In time, these may even prove to be best! Until that time, some practices are really just common sense, conventional wisdom, and even basic standards.
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