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Monday, August 30, 2010

Mixed Messages

This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent!- Jeremiah 22:3 (NLT)

Social justice has long been on the Lord's agenda.  The issue is not whether it is on the Lord's agenda.  The issue today is about what the Lord wants us to do with social justice in an era such as this.  The church needs to be clear about what the Lord is calling it to do in His name for the sake of social justice as much as it is to become clear about what it is not to do in His name regarding it.

The church needs to get clear on what the Lord said about social justice before it gets distracted and detoured with every single need that arises for advocacy opportunities and volunteer sign-ups.  Since Jesus healed a blind man named Bartimeus, are we to only work with those with physical infirmities and disabilities? Or, since the early church sold all of their possessions, are we to condemn the rich for their lifestyles while others in the same congregation live in poverty? We need to get clear on "thus saith the Lord" before we launch out into the wide expanse of social justice without any real mission or ministry.

The Lord gives us exactly what we need to get done what He has destined for us to do.  Every church can't lead every movement for every cause.  If your pastor has a heart for a certain ministry such as prison re-entry or pro-life advocacy, take the time to hear his sincere desire for the ministry and its scriptural rationale.  Get to know what's leading the man of God to see where He's leading your church. 

Let the Word of God and His Spirit clear up some of the mixed messages that exist out there.  Yes, you may seem to hear when you hear about abortion clinics bombed in the name of the Lord.  There is news footage of professing Christians hurling derogatory insults at gay rights activists for their lifestyle choices.  What we have to do is go beyond the surface of the smoke and mirrors of all of that man-made confusion and settle in for a good look at God's Word to see where He wants us headed and what He wants us doing.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Moving Forward as a Team

"Teamwork is not a preference, it is a requirement."
-Coach John Wooden

Losing isn't the worst thing that can happen for a team.  Losing the sense of togetherness and teamwork can be more detrimental to a team than a series of defeats or a losing season.  We need to see how to keep the teamwork as a priority.  Teamwork is about the entire team working as a team.
  • Motivate People- Encourage: Get people motivated to work together.  Look into team-building exercises.  Structure fellowship time.  Work in some out-of-the-office activities or outings for the entire team and heir families.
  • Maintain Progress- Ensure: With a collective purpose and people motivated to pursue goals together, keep track on progress.  Keep the bottom line in view, but ensure that what your team has set out to do is being worked as a priority.  Saving costs does you no good if it costs you clients and contracts.  See what progress is being made towards goal and record it every step of the way.
  • Measure Performance - Evaluate: Work on seeing the bigger picture.  Get beyond your department. See how your team has impacted others.  Take a long, hard look at where you started and where you ended up.  Did you get things done as a team? Evaluate your results and performance. 
Do for others what you would like them to do for you- Matthew 7:12 (NLT)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Winning with Wise Counsel

Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)

You can win with wise counsel.  The problem for many people in business and leadership is that they are looking for that one mentor who can answer all things that exist.  That's not realistic or rational.  That's not how you win. 

No one has all of the answers except God.  You need a "multitude of counselors" according to Proverbs 15:22 (NKJV).  Through the multitude of counselors, your plans are established and their feedback ensures that you have covered everything on the checklist for launching your venture.  There is no one-stop shop when it comes to mentoring.

How to identify a "multitude of counselors" for business and leadership:
  • Set your standard before you select your potential mentors and counselors
  • Get a variety of people from a wide variety of experiences and expertise (CEO/ presidents, business school faculty, board chairpersons, etc.)
  • Vary the age of your potential mentors and counselors (peers, elders, Baby Boomers, etc.)
  • Vary their level of education (drop-outs, MBA and seminary graduates, readers, Ivy League, lifelong lea and others)
  • Know their stories (successes and struggles...know that they are human)
Understand that you are seeking people out and accepting those who God sends your way as well.  You may not find as much as you discover that already exists around you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

C3 Connections

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. - Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)

Read Colossians 3 and you will discover about the "new" life we are to have in Christ.  The words used by Paul clarify the roles and responsibilities of believers in Christ.  To take it even further, the modern church needs to connect with its community and corporations.
C3 Connections connect: Church, Community and Corporations.  The Church is the body of believers in a local region.  They are called to live out their faith in the midst of the community.  Community, as far as we are concerned here, includes local schools, elected officials, volunteer centers, and even college and university campuses.  Corporations are separate in the C3 concept due to their nature and structure.  You can engage local corporations small business from to major corporations like Fortune 500 and other industry leaders headquartered or operating in your area by various means.  The point of C3 Connections is to establish and maintain connectivity between the Church, Community and Corporations.

You may be a pastor or ministry leader, even a community activist or school teacher, but you want to get connected to others in your area.  Organize with other like-minded people and some people who may not usually work with you and your comrades.  Set up a meeting and invite others from within the community to come out and share their interest in getting involved.  Once you have your interest meeting, you can determine who is on board and what is the level of activity that would seem feasible for your initial efforts. 

Don't become alarmed if some doesn't jump on board until you get going.  Some people don't make a move until they see movement.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Motivating Managers

"Choose your men with great care and consideration."
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Business leaders and corporate managers should familiarize themselves with business wisdom that is derived from books such as The Art of War and Machiavelli's The Prince. Christian ministry and business leaders may also benefit from the wisdom of the likes of Dave Ramsey, Larry Burkett, Ron Blue, Laurie Beth Jones and John C. Maxwell. I like the Book of Proverbs for daily wisdom. Steve Marr does a great job with Daily Business Proverbs. You may even simply read the Bible as daily motivation beyond or as part of your daily devotion. I started a daily devotional method of reading Psalms morning (Psalms 1-50) noon (Psalms 51-100) and night (Psalms 101-150)based on Psalm 55:17. It allows me to read before, during and after work each day, reflecting on the day's events and recording my thoughts going forward into the next day.

The key is motivation that helps one lead and manage in business or ministry. As the primary leader of an organization- CEO, President, Executive Director, or even pastor or principal, you have to have a means and method for your motivation. Your leadership and management style can wear you out or down, but you need to find what sparks you and gets you going, so that you can share that with others who are under your supervision.

Here are some simple motivators:
  • Business & leadership biographies (Donald T. Phillips does a great job with leadership.)
  • Business & leadership autobiographies (I read Adam Clayton Powell's Adam by Adam and discovered more about political posturing than pastoring and community activism.)
  • Guidebooks (John C. Maxwell leads an exceptional editorial effort to produce Life @ Wok products)
  • Management and leadership "helps" like books and podcasts, even tweet feeds. (I love Ken Blanchard, especially concepts like "Lead like Jesus", "Fish" and "The One Minute Manager." I just started re-reading Raving Fans which has proved refreshing for me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Diversify Donors

"You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give."
- Winston Churchill

Donors come in all shapes and sizes. This is also true of their donations. In an era where worthy causes may get lost in the plethora of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, Haiti's earthquakes and tsunamis and floods, it would prove beneficial for organizations seeking donations for their local causes to diversify their donors as well as their donation drives and donor campaigns. When disaster strikes, you can bet that donations are pouring out towards such causes rapidly and your efforts to raise funds for your own programs or special events may be impacted drastically.
  • Diversify the size of your donors. Consider approaching donors across a wide spectrum of sizes. Look at community groups and trade associations as well as corporate giving programs through your local United Way and Gifts In Kind International. You may also want to share you needs with your local chamber of commerce or business association, even an ecumenical network of churches and faith-based organizations. The key is to diversify your donors by size and communicate your needs for your worthy cause.
  • Diversify the size of donations. Your goal may be a certain target amount, but you have to keep in mind that it all adds up. That gift of $1,000 may be a major boost, but don't neglect those who can raise $100 from 100 people as well. Even the smallest gift serves as a contribution to help you reach your goal. Keep in mind that it all adds up.
  • Diversify the season of your donor campaigns. Timing is key. Some people are more apt to give going into the Christmas season, while others may be ready to donate around tax season. Some businesses will try to get their donations out just prior to the shift for their fiscal year. Look at the giving patterns of those you are trying to seek contributions from and develop your "season" of giving and donation accordingly.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Make a Statement

I believe that every business should make a statement. Whether it is daily, weekly or more occasional, your business should make a statement that goes out to the public through various mediums. Churches, nonprofits and for-profits need a pr and marketing plan that includes raising public awareness about new services and special events, even forging new partnerships and collaborations for programs and other activities.

  • Daily: Use social media to get your daily message out to people in ways that reach people daily. Look into Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter. Consider Voxox for instant messaging, IM, fax, SMS text messaging and other services including video chat.
  • Weekly: Let's say you want to keep people buzzing about that new worship service you started last month. Upload and embed video snippets onto your Facebook or YouTube page. Let's say your shelter hosts a special volunteer hour in partnership with the senior resource center in your community. Create weekly e-newsletter using Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. Get your message into nearly everyone's inbox.
  • Every Now & Then: You should launch a press release every other month or at least every quarter throughout the year. Your calendar of events should provide you with enough room between activities to garner support from many of the same people without wearing them out. Use services such as PR Log, Free Press Releases and PR.COM to distribute press releases beyond your circle of friends. Try out EventBrite and E-Vite for special events and fundraisers as well as posting events on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Planned Postings

But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. -Proverbs 14:22 (NIV)

You are out there now. You have been trying it at tweeting and putting some new ideas out there via your site's blog. Now you come to the realization that you need to approach your social networking and posting with a plan. The benefits are obvious. Blogging can lead to profits with Google AdSense and Amazon Associates. However, your plans can lead to love and faithfulness, too. People who follow you will need to have a reason for following you based upon what you provide and present through your posts.

  • Planned posting should be viewed by concept. What you post should engross readers and followers in a conceptual idea. You may see this as the "categories" of your posts. If people are searching for content relevant to the church being missional or emergent, you should design conceptual postings that are related to the overall concept of changes within the modern church or church trends. Post content that identifies and explains various church trends in these modern times, keeping readers returning because of your relevance and resourcefulness on the topic.
  • Planning your postings should include a design for content within your conceptual plans and outlines. As you outline your concepts and categories, keep your readers and followers in mind. Make your point and state your case. If you have a post that stretches beyond the average level of understanding or keeps people wondering if what you are saying matches their search results by mistake, you need to review and revisit your content outline and map. Keep your content easy to read (length and breadth) and simple to understand (knowledge). It it is truly a scholarly site, share that in the subheading with a tagline like: Scholarly and Seminary Studies of the Scriptures. That makes it clear before they read something out of their realm of understanding.

Keep your content and concepts in mind as you plan your posts. You can do an entire series on understanding salvation that spans concepts within the realm of soteriology with word studies, discussion questions for small groups or short anecdotes from your experiences working with people in street ministry. Explore the numerous benefits of planning your posts.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Calendar Considerations

To everything there is a season...- Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

Your calendar should not determine your actions. Use your calendar to distinguish your actions. You need to identify what time you need to plan and perform, even perfect, what you are are doing daily, weekly and monthly. Your calendar should include your quarterly and annual activities, too.

Your daily planner may work for identifying things to plan as well as things to perform. Franklin Covey and Day Runner make some great planners. As far as technology, I prefer using Google Calendar online as opposed to MS Outlook or any other program. Google Calendar interfaces with my Gmail account and offers me present reminders as well as collaboration with my contacts in Gmail or other emails. I just prefer it to other online and software alternatives.

Let your calendar help you keep up with appointments and assignments like meetings and special events. Schedule your daily and weekly activities in a monthly view. Print out copies of your next three months to get into view what are your regular meetings and activities as well as what special events and activities you have coming up on the horizon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gift Gap

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.- 1 Cor. 12:4 (NIV)

The chasm between what we have and what we need could be considered the gift gap. It is the region where you stand somewhere between the way we have done things in the past and the way we know that we need to do things going forward, asking ourselves if we have what it takes to go forward with faith.

We see the gift gap as an issue when church leaders fail to tap into their people and the innate gifts given to their people by the Spirit of God. Unfortunately, the problem occurs more often in ministry than we care to admit. We see it when someone departs from a ministry position unexpectedly and we're left with one of those obvious vacancies. We rush to utilize our earthly resources to fill the void rather than waiting patiently on the Lord to use His eternal resources to send us the right person for the right season. In the end, we find that all that we did to help God along only resulted in reminding us that we should have looked to God in the first place to provide for all that we needed in that season. The gift gap exists today.

Spiritual matters do not seem right in our eyes at times because we are so busy working through earthly issues. We don't recognize that our ministry may not be fruitful or flourishing because of who we have or do not have in place at this time. Our prayers should include those petitions that cover God opening our spiritual eyes to the spiritual warfare that faces us as well as the spiritual needs that we encounter as we serve in ministry. In our service to the Lord, let us continue to open our eyes to newfound opportunities to where our spiritual gifts can be used to meet needs daily.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Daily Praying and Planning

The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty. - Proverbs 21:5 (NKJV)

Prior to taking on any work for the day, I say you should both pray and plan. Pray that God protects, provides for and prospers you in this very day to be a wise steward and servant of all that the Lord has bestowed upon you. Plan your day based upon your morning devotion,devouring God's Word. Plan your actions for the day based upon reading and reflecting upon God's Word.

  • Pray: At least 15 minutes prior to working
  • Plan: At least 15 minutes prior to working
  • Preview: Look over your calendar, daily agenda and to-do list; set your priorities

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Realistic Responses

“When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.”
- John Wesley

Does your ministry generate an appropriate response from its members and others? How would you know?

Here are some signs of to see if your ministry is on fire or simply slowly burning out:
  • What gets stirred up? [Good feelings or bad memories?]
  • What gets sparked? [Community or confrontation?]
  • What gets started? [Good works or good grief?]

If your ministry is producing negative sentiments, then you need to infuse some positive changes that will turn things around quickly before you lose more and more people.

Cookie Cutter Crisis

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
- James 1:22 (NIV)

Ministry is not one size fits all. In fact, we see discipleship as a connection rather than coursework and evangelism as a calling as opposed to cold calling. Ministry is about putting your endowed spiritual gifts to work with the talent and abilities that God has afforded you in accordance with other believers to accomplish God's plan and purpose.

We need more doers of the Word. We have too many people searching for a mega-church model and seeking simplistic, bullet-pointed solutions on a PowerPoint or a webinar. God provides us gifts and puts us in position for the work of the ministry. If God can write 66 books of the Bible through the Spirit-led men of the past, He surely can provide the local church with skilled and able Bible teachers and writers to develop Bible lessons and children's programming.

We need to stop ordering the box and get back into the Book. Stop ordering evangelism in a box, VBS in a box, and discipleship in a box. If you discover that there is no relevant materials and resources that speak to your church's needs, pray for God to reveal the way in which you need to proceed. There may exist gifts and talents buried within the pews of the congregation. Pray and see what God wants you to do with His Word.

There is no "one size fits all" solution. There's no short list of quick fixes. We are called to be "doers of the Word." Go on and do as He leads you by His Spirit with what He has equipped and empowered you to do with His Word. Start by dropping the cookie cutter.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Keeping Pace in Making Changes

Bringing about change may require you to be patient. Change has a a pace of its own. Change can come about in various ways. The whole point is that you have to be ready for change no matter how it comes at you.

Change can take place:
  • Swiftly
  • Slowly
  • Steadily

Depending on the need for change, the conditions and circumstances may vary. Remain open and ready.

Three for Change: Identify 3 people who can help you promote change in your organization.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


“Serve the Lord with gladness…”- Psalm 100:2

What is “servitude?” Servitude is your service attitude. It’s not merely your attitude about serving. It includes your attitude about those you serve- customers, clients, congregants, etc.- and your attitude that you portray while serving.

Are you hot or cold? Hot means you are on fire and fired up. Cold is where you have lost the burning desire to do more and have settled on simply getting it done to be done with it.

We say we believe. We say we are willing. Saying it isn’t showing it. What most of the realm of Christendom has sadly settled upon as being a “born-again believer” profile leaves a lot to be desired. It amounts to a lot of words and very few works.

Check yourself. What is your servitude?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Capitalize on Cross-Promotion

Do what you do right thoroughly, pray over it heartily, and leave the results to God.
- C.H. Spurgeon

Cross-promotion is simply about utilizing an existing platform to promote a service or product while using that same service or product to promote your service. It allows you to establish yourself with a new or even a broader audience. What occurs in such a situation allows the distributor to extend the message through additional platforms and maintain other platforms for traditional methods.

Let me use the Ministry Mechanic as an example. I use cross-promotion with the Ministry Mechanic blog posts because I post content relevant to the services offered via Life Path Consulting Services and its divisions of Nonprofit Coaching, Ministry Mechanics and Principles in Practice. Although the consulting services may not experience a surge of requests and contractual agreements, posting such content on the blog has allowed me to share with numerous people.

I post Ministry Mechanic on Blogger so it is directly connected to Life Path's Twitter and Rev Bruce's Facebook accounts. My posts get sent out to my Facebook friends when I elect to "share" and I have an RSS feed going into My Notes on Facebook. I also set up an feedburner to have every post on the Ministry Mechanic imported to Rev Bruce's Blog. This alllows me to get Life Path Consulting's expertise regarding faith-based nonprofit and Christian ministry in the grasp of more and more pastors, executive leaders and Christian school principals. In fact, via Google Analytics, I can even determine how many new visitors hit my site and how long they stay as well as what content they view.

I expand the blog's posts and content to include promotion of my latest book of poetry linked to my street ministry work in San Diego. I link to the blog via my e-newsletter via Constant Contact. Also, I use my Gmail to email a preview or small piece of the blog post with a link to the Ministry Mechanic.

As I review the Ministry Mechanic's short-lived success, I can honestly say that it has experienced four times as many visitors than when I started Rev Bruce's Blog for the same initial period. It took Rev Bruce's Blog at least 3 months to reach the point where the Ministry Mechanic is after its intial 30-day period. There are benefits, but don't lose sight of what you are doing here. You want to use your blog, articles, newsletter or tweets to cross-promote what you do well and what you do right, so that you can attract others and make all aware of your special services.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Something to Hear and See

I was on and I came across this trailer for Letters to God. The whole thing captures you fom its opening with a child contemplating whether you can see the stars from heaven. I'm not usually one to promote a touchy-feely film but I will say this touched me and moved me somehow. I am impressed with the quality of recent film offerings that have come out for people who truly believe in God and heaven, for those who live by faith.

The trailer can be viewed at Tangle or below on the video player.

Meaningful Meetings

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing...- Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)

Make your meetings more meaningful. People can oftentimes see meetings as a bore or a burden. As a leader, you want to develop meetings that live and breathe with meaning for the attendees. Identify who needs to attend and why, and then offer them what is meaningful for their jobs or their departments. Projects should have a common cause or theme that runs through them so that the numbers people can oogle over the numbers while doing good and the visual people can the vision without losing the nuts and bolts of getting goals accomplished.

  • Share good news about upcoming events and activities. Include any accomplishments such as hitting anticipated benchmarks or special recognitions.
  • Show people how their input is valuable. Identify ways to infuse input into the process. Let people see that their input has value in getting the job done.
  • Send out messages that encourage participation. Attach the agenda to an inspiring email invite. Be sure to identify special invites for those who have not previously participated on your team.
  • Stir up interest. Let people know what to expect. Increase the level of awareness among your people so that you can increase their level of participation at the meeting.

Make every meeting more meaningful by what you put into the hands and inboxes of the people you want and need at those meetings. Try taking a stab at doing something different to get different results. Identify what works for your team and innovate further as they share new ideas.

Mini Messages

Mini messages are "mini" because they are short and to the point. They allow you to communicate a lot even when you say a little. This particular post will prove beneficial for churches and small groups. However, I think some parachurches and faith-based nonprofits could incorporate some of these techniques to enhance and even expand current communications.

  • Sentence Sermons: Use a single sentence to provide a stirring message. For example: God puts more on you to get more out of you. Such a statement gets people thinking and stirs up interest. Let your sentence sermons connect to your preaching series or a church-wide campaign. If people don't get the full message, you have at least prompted them with your sentence sermon.
  • Text Messages: You can say a lot in 120 characters or less. Tailor your mass SMS text messages to specific audiences. Use appropriate abbreviations. For example: Sunday's sermon comes from Jn 15:8-17 Pastor J. GoodNews. It is short and to the point. You can set up specific audiences in programs such as or Even and other services have a texting component. If it is for your small group, you can text up to 10 people on most smartphones and forward the original text to others after it has been sent.
  • Status Updates: With all of social networking's capabilities, use your status updates so that friends can get the message. For example: Preparing for Sunday's message on fruitfulness and faith for friends from John 15:8-17. Keep me in prayer. Friends can comment on your status on Facebook, MySpace and other interactive sites.
  • Twitter Posts: Tweet short messages that 140 characters or less on Twitter as well as LinkedIn. This will get your message before your numerous "followers." Think of using your sentence sermon or text message as a tweet. You want to communicate the same message across a wide variety of mediums.

In essence, you want to give a clear and concise message that leads to greater participation from your congregation or small group members. Let them have more information so that they can remain informed. Remember, the root word of information is inform.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.
- Psalm 9:17 (NIV)

T.C.B. = Taking Care of the Bewildered

We read in numerous passages and verses in the Bible. The Law of Moses addresses it. The prophets speak out about it. Jesus Himself shared about it. The poor and the needy, the oppressed and neglected, are due our attention. We are to offer them hope and help, even healing. Our neighbors include those who many have stepped over and some have sidestepped, even avoided on their Christian journey.

Christ desires us to take care of the bewildered. He shared with His followers that their concern for the poor was not the focus of the moment as He was anointed with expensive perfume in Matthew 26:6-7. The Bible says that His followers called it a "waste" and that they even became indignant about the matter, saying that the perfume could have been sold and shared with the poor.

The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.- Matthew 26:11

As you serve in ministry, whether it be through missions, soup kitchens, shelter, recovery or re-entry centers, or some other means of reaching the poor and the needy, understand that the Lord wants you to take care of them. Offer your services with loving care and receptive hearts. Meet people where they are and help them transition from where you meet them to where the Lord has destined them. Most people are down and out because many have failed to help out where the lord has directed us to be of help to our brothers and sisters.

Take care of the bewildered, the down and out, the poor and the needy. Take care of them with concern and compassion. Take care of His dear sheep and lovely lambs as wise stewards of the Good Shepherd's flock.

Recognizing Results

Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.- Matthew 7:20 (ESV)

When it comes to ministry and business, we see a lot of people gauging success by results. The results let the people know what came about due to their efforts. The results come in various forms. Most assuredly, the results can be numeric and measured in quantitative terms. Also, results can also be identified as qualitative with intrinsic value. Yet, many may not understand or recognize the essence of their results.

Results are generated by effort, usually the work related with delivering a service or product through our ministry or business. Our efforts lead to results. We put in the work and expect to see results based upon what we have invested into the work. However, we must be realistic about our results in order to not repeat mistakes and to implement innovations based upon lessons learned in the field.
Our results can come about from what is intentional and what is incidental.

  • Intentional: These are the results that we have set as targets from the onset of the project or venture. They are the results that we have set up as measures with benchmarks and time-sensitive checkpoints for status and progress reports. These results speak to our ability to reach identified goals within a prescribed period of time with a certain allotment of resources. Obtaining intentional results deals with deliberate actions for desired outcomes. Our intentional results help us identify where we hit and missed targets along the way, allowing us to also identify internal and external factors that impacted the results. For instance, an external factor such as a recession and economic downturn can have drastic impacts on fee-based services and the acquisition of "new" business for service providers. Therefore, in reporting on results, the team and its leadership should research factors-whether internal or external- that impacted whether results were achieved or not.

  • Incidental: Results such as these stem from what occurs in the process of conducting business. Typically, these are unplanned and unexpected results that occur while delivering services and achieving desired results. For instance, your program may be designed to reach the children of low-income families and you discover that, in the process of doing so, you are able to assist single-parent households and at-risk students at the same time. You didn't intend to do so, but you were able to reach such people due to the broader audience you were seeking to reach. Such incidental success should be recorded and reported along with your intentional success, seeking to replicate similar success in the future as part of an intentional plan.

You are known by your fruit. In other words, your results tell a lot to others about what you have to offer and what you are able to achieve. If you have grant funding or donors, you need to be able to share about your results. In the case of business, where you have investors, stockholders or other interested parties, you should be able to explain your results in layman's terms. Demonstrate good stewardship by reporting on your results, recognizing what you achieved and whether your results were intentional or incidental.

People know you by your fruit. People know you by what you produce.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Productive and Prosperous

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.- Psalm 1:3 (ESV)

As believers, we are expected to be both productive and prosperous. We are to produce fruit and prosper. The same can be said for our endeavors, whether they be business or ministry. God wants us producing fruit and prospering.

Productivity is more than just sheer numbers. You can be productive by serving a small niche and spreading the love of Christ though your service quality. People will see your light. What you produce by providing quality service becomes evidence of your earnest efforts. You produce fruit and become known by your fruit.

Prosperity should not become confused with wealth and riches. That stems from a flawed and narrow view of what God offers us when we are faithful and obedient. We receive countless blessings from God based upon His grace and mercy. Yet, we prosper by growing. We are to grow closer to God and deeper in our faith for starters. As we increasing become more and more blessed, we must increase in our thankfulness and joy for being blessed with even the so-called "little" things.

Get on the path. Become productive and prosperous day by day, mediating on His Word and staying clear of the wrong path in life.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Par for the Course

"Golf has probably kept more people sane than psychiatrists have."
- Harvey Penick

You learn about it from golf aficionados and connoisseurs as you play more and learn more about the game. Duffers know a lot about it. Many from course to course across the country and throughout the world swear by it. Some simply never heard of it.

It is Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf, a timeless classic that speaks beyond sports and offers insights into life itself. Harvey Penick, who began his golfing career as a caddie, shares a variety of life lessons and wisdom for golfers of every level. The book is often referred to as "The Little Red Book" and Penick also wrote The Little Green Book.

I love golf. It frustrates the heck out of me and I always say that I'm done playing- somewhere around the 12th or 13th hole as I stare at my scorecard. Yet, I always return. I keep coming back. I love the challenge of the game.

Businessmen, entrepreneurs and clergy can learn a lot from golf. Many play for fun and others play to relax. Golf teaches us that we don't have it all and that we have to adjust our approach as the conditions around us change. For starters, golf requires us to adjust to awkward hand positions and stances based upon where the ball is located in relation to the hole. Golf teaches us how to evaluate our options and make calculated decisions.

Grab a copy of Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf or The Little Green Book. He shares timeless wisdom that may not cure your wild slice but can certainly aid you in approach some critical decisions in the life and with your business.

Love a Little More

"There is no remedy for love but to love more."-Henry David Thoreau

Love is an action word. Love serves as a catalyst for further action. A mother cares for and nurses her child out of love. A father defends his family out of love. Love causes you to action based upon what you feel and believe.

Employee morale may be down. News of lay-offs and cost-trimming may be abuzz. Love a little more. Share love with your co-workers and employees by showing your love and appreciation for them. Share your personal appreciation for your team in such times. This is something that you can do, but it must become something that you want to and are willing to do.

When you share and show your love for others, they may change their view of you. The door may become opened to share a greater amount of fellowship. People remember who was on their side when they were down. Christians should be about sharing God's love more and more by demonstrating his love- agape - towards others.

Let people see God's love working through towards others.

Statement of Faith

A statement of faith is defined as: "a statement of faith is a statement of the core beliefs of a religious group." I believe that all faith-based entities should have statement of faith. This would include any church, faith-based organization such as a parachurch, mission or shelter open in the name of Jesus, and most pastoral multimedia ministries such as radio programs, TV shows, and Internet program such as Renewing Your Mind with R.C. Sproul or Through the Bible with J. Vernon McGee. These all should have a statement of faith that shares what they believe with the general public. Even a Christian in business, whether a consultant or inventor, should also consider developing a statement of faith.

If it is a core belief, then it most relate to who you are and what you do as an organization. Believers are to be doers. We share our statement of faith so that donors know that we are guardians of the gospel. We share it with the public so that those who seek and search might find us among the faithful few who uphold God's truth in a world where doctrine is diminishing and faith is fading.

We make the statement of our faith and we are to stand on our statement of faith.

Life Path Ministries & Services has a statement of faith that reads as noted below:

Statement of Faith:

We believe that the Word of God is the infallible and absolute truth provided by the true and living God through men divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit to mankind for living fruitful lives on earth with heaven as its goal for each man, woman and child. We believe that Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God’s Word through whom God offers salvation by both grace and mercy for those whom He calls to repentance.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Achieving Divine Results

"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..." - Daniel 1:8 (NKJV)

What is offered does not have to be taken. Even when it has been set forth by the king, the supreme ruler over those held captive in Babylon, there is a way to say: "No way."

The king set up a daily provision for the youth of Judah that he held captive. He established this "daily provision" based upon what worked for his people and what he understood culturally about his own people, not his captives. We have to understand that this was a carefully designed and devised plan to assimilate these young men with the culture of their captors.

Yet, Daniel purposed in his heart to stand up and say no.

Daniel's Refusal (v.8)
"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank. . ." (Daniel 1:8, NKJV)

Daniel found inner strength and conviction within his heart first. Daniel sought to remain pure; he understood that the Babylonian delicacies would lead to his defilement

Daniel's Request (v.8, 12)
"Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink." (v. 12)

Daniel knew who to talk to and make his request. We need to teach our children and youth how to take a stand without causing more problems for themselves.

Divine Results (vv. 15-16)
"And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king's delicacies." (v. 15)

Your refusal to be defiled can lead to some divine results. By giving God the time to work on you, He can cleanse you both physically and spiritually. Regardless of the circumstances or conditions, we must settle the matter in our hearts first. In our hearts, we must decide that we will stay true to God. No virgin retains her purity without commitment and conviction. No athlete conditions and trains for a race without sacrifice and avoiding temptation. The attitude must precede the action that leads to the accomplishment.

Perspectives on a Ministry of Influence

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

- John 15:8 (NKJV)

We are called to impact lives through what we do for others based on the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. The good news of the gospel message is Jesus Christ.

Ministry is a demonstration of action-oriented faith when people utilize their spiritual gifts to serve one another. Our service in ministry is about meeting needs and bringing glory to God the Father. The bottom line of our ministry actions is the application of biblical principles and precepts.

The goal of ministry is to produce fruit. This is the result of faith and work combined. By putting biblical principles into practice, our faith is exercised. Faith leads us into action. Our actions are the visible display and demonstration of our faith before the eyes of the world on a daily basis.

Ministry is about glorifying God. In order to glorify God, we are expected to bear fruit. We are considered productive as Christians if we have been fruitful. We become fruitful in our lives through both our attitudes and actions that reflect and resemble Christ. By living our lives at the standard set by Christ, we live at a standard above the world. It is through our daily living that we will be able to impact and influence life bound for change and repentance.

Meeting people where they are does not mean leaving them there

Monday, August 2, 2010

Special Event Basics

You harvest what you plant, whether good or bad.- Proverbs 14:14 (CEV)

You probably have heard it expressed one way or another. It may have been a teacher in your early years or one of your first supervisors when you started working as a kid. Even your pastor or a guest preacher probably sermonized it into a three-point sermon with alliteration and all.

You reap what you sow.
It makes sense. It really starts to make even more sense when you start looking at the results from your special events. You have to look at what you do in the early planning stages as the seeds for the fruitful results for what you can potentially get out of your special event when everything is said and done.

Don't try to do everything yourself. If you are part of a mega-church or a network of local churches, work with others to get your event running smoothly. Work with them on a timeline and recruiting volunteers as well as promoting the event.

Schedule and set up your event, taking everything into account. Think about vendors, trash, recycling barrels, and all that may be involved with the event. Coordinate with the fire department, police department and city zoning/ special event permits. The last thing you want is to have your event shut down because you didn't take care of the little things.

Use social networking like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Walk the block and pass out fliers and invitations. Email your congregants and past guests and visitors. Get the word out to your team and volunteers. Make it known what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Saintly Social Service Strategies

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. - Francis of Assisi

The church used to be the hub of of American communities. It was the meeting house and the social gathering place for most towns. The church served as the center of the communities in which it existed.

Churches have a unique opportunity to serve their communities beyond offering meeting space for homeschooling and Moms Of Preschoolers (MOP). Churches don't have to end their service at housing Christian preschools and day cares. The church has some saintly social service strategies that it can implement as the church or as a faith-based nonprofit entity as an extension for the church.

Prevention Programs
  • Charter schools
  • After school programs
  • Family counseling services
  • Substance abuse prevention programs'
  • Pre-marital classes
  • Gang awareness workshops for parents & educators
  • Drop-out prevention programs
  • SNAP-ED screening and eligibility presentations

Intervention Programs

  • Couples counseling
  • Family literacy programs
  • Food pantry
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Gang intervention/ diversion
  • Continuing education courses
  • GED classes
  • Supervised visitation
  • Family mediation
  • Health intervention and support groups (diabetes, obesity, etc.)

Recovery Programs

  • Family reunification
  • Prison re-entry
  • Job readiness skills training
  • Substance abuse recovery
  • Grief counseling

Pray over what else the Lord may lead you to do. God can use you in a miraculous way to reach your local community. Let Him speak to your heart about the needs that exist around you and your church.