POVERTY & What one pastoral couple did to address the problem.

by The Highbury Centre, Islington, London, 8/13/19.

In 19th century London, the gap between the very richest and the poorest of the poor seemed unbridgeable. Aristocratic families flitted between their country estates and their town houses, enjoying the very best that society had to offer, while the newly wealthy middle classes flocked to the West End’s department stores to fill their houses with the latest must-have artefacts. In stark contrast to this conspicuous consumption, poor and working-class people lived crowded together in the most abject poverty, with no sanitation, in crumbling and dangerous housing.

Poor children were fortunate to live until their fifth birthday. Cholera, typhus, dysentery, smallpox and TB were all killers. Their parents fared no better, often dying from over-work or disease.

In 1865, a married couple, William and Catherine Booth, both ardent Methodists, felt called to take the good news out on the streets. They offered practical support to those who needed it most, “soup, soap and salvation.” By 1878, they were known as the Salvation Army and became a familiar sight in the poorest districts of London.

By 1893, the year of the foundation of the Foreign Missions Club in Highbury New Park, the Salvation Army had expanded hugely, taking the news of God’s love out on the streets to thousands. Extreme poverty and its related issues, addiction, hunger, malnutrition, desperation and crime was rife in the capital, leading William Booth to deliver passionate speeches to his growing ranks about the need for help. “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end!”

The work of the Salvation Army, started over 150 years ago, still goes on worldwide. William and Catherine Booth are buried at Abney Park in Stoke Newington, just over 1.5 miles from The Highbury Centre. Their legacy of love, practical care and salvation for all lives on in our century, where sadly want and poverty are still very much a part of our society.

At The Highbury Centre, our heart has always been to offer Christian accommodation, rest and relaxation to missionaries, workers for the Lord and anyone in need of a comfortable bed for the night. A great deal of things have changed since we first opened our doors in 1893, but much remains the same. We are proud to offer good value, welcoming and accessible accommodation in the heart of North London.

If reading this has interested you, you can find out more about the work of the Salvation Army by clicking on this link: www.salvationarmy.org.uk/

Find out more about the Highbury Centre, an affordable guest house in London, at https://www.thehighburycentre.org

PREACHING & For 30+ years I’ve coached pastors on better #Preaching. Now via #Live #VideoConference! Pictured is a current cohort learning together in a 12 month #LiveVideo process. #ChurchHealth #BiblicalLeadership

PARENTING & How to teach kids humility (and to understand it ourselves)

by Laura Hanby Hudgins, Aleteia, 7/19/19.

…C.S. Lewis defined humility as “… not thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less.”

  • Teach gratitude. Perhaps the best way to teach the virtue of humility is to foster in our children a deep sense of gratitude, first to God for all His blessings, but also to the people (parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches) who help cultivate the gifts He has given us…
  • Teach kids to know themselves. Sometimes as parents we think it is our job to tell our children they can do anything they want to do and be anything they want to be. But St. Augustine described humility as knowing the truth about oneself. This doesn’t mean squashing our kids’ dreams our discouraging their goals. But it does mean helping them to take a realistic look at where their gifts and talents lie, where they need to put in extra work, and even where they might be wasting their time. It also means gently helping them recognize, not only their own limitations, but also their flaws and faults — not so they can give up, but so that they can work to improve and to grow in whatever habits or virtues they need to develop.
  • Reject the cockiness culture. Not only is humility a virtue, but pride is actually considered one of the seven deadly sins (the sins that lead to all others). Yet, walk through any middle school in America, and unless the kids are required to wear a uniform, many of them will likely be wearing t-shirts boldly proclaiming their own greatness with sayings like You Can’t Spell AWESOME Without ME; Not Braggin’ Just Swaggin’; and THIS Is What a Winner Looks Like. These trendy tees might be fun and seem harmless enough, but could they be promoting a culture of cockiness that is further reinforced by many of our kids’ favorite athletes and celebrities?…

  • Be willing to go unnoticed. This is a tough one. No one likes to go unnoticed for an achievement. Maybe we can start by teaching our kids that it’s okay to go unnoticed in a conversation. They don’t always have to tell a funnier joke, one-up a friend’s really cool story, or have the last word in an argument. It’s okay sometimes to just listen…
  • Look for the gifts of others... Sometimes as parents we get so caught up in telling our kids how awesome they are, we fail to help them see the awesomeness of others. Start by talking about what you appreciate and admire in your own friends, and encourage your kids to look for what is noteworthy and admirable about their friends too.
  • Pray. There’s an old joke that it is a bad idea to pray for humility because the last thing you want is to be humbled by God. There may be some truth in that, but often life has a way of humbling us whether we’ve prayed for it or not. It is far better for any of us to be humbled by our Loving Father than by our peers, or worse, our enemies. Praying a prayer for humility is a beautiful way to help every family member grow in this all-important virtue.

Read more at … https://aleteia.org/2019/07/19/6-tricks-to-teach-kids-humility-and-to-understand-it-ourselves/

PREACHING & Preach to a procession… in a way that will be an initial invitation to those who don’t know Christ and an encouragement to those who do. #Remembering #LloydJohnOgilvie

In a 1989 interview with Leadership Journal, Lloyd John Ogilvie said:

I preach to a procession: church members who need a fresh touch of the power of God, people who don’t know God and aren’t part of any church, Christians who’ve just come to visit, and others who are facing perplexing problems. … My big challenge is to present the gospel in a way that will be an initial invitation to those who don’t know Christ and an encouragement to those who do and who need to get on with the responsibilities of discipleship.

Read more at … https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/1989/summer/89l3016.html

PERSONALITY & Why Self-Compassion Beats Self-Esteem

by Carley Sime, Forbes Magazine, 4/30/19.

Firstly a definition of self-compassion. This is taken directly from a paper written by Kristin Neff, a hugely influential researcher in the field of self-compassion: 

“Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding towards oneself when encountering suffering, inadequacy or failure, rather than ignoring one’s pain or flagellating oneself with self-criticism. Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of set ideals. People cannot always be or get exactly what they want. When this reality is denied or fought against suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration and self-criticism. When this reality is accepted with sympathy and kindness, greater emotional equanimity is experienced”

Through her research, Neff has found that individuals who are self-compassionate often benefit in several ways. They tend to have better psychological health and also greater resilience when compared to those with lower levels of self-compassion. Neff also found that self-compassion is positively associated with life-satisfaction, emotional intelligence and social connectedness. What is it negatively associated with? Depression, anxiety, rumination, thought suppression and perfectionism. This means that individuals who are self-compassionate are less likely to experience these things. 

If that hasn’t sold you on self-compassion then keep reading. Neff and colleagues also found that self-compassion was associated with greater wisdom, curiosity, exploration, happiness, optimism and positive affect. They also found a link between self-compassion and personal initiative, defined as a desire to grow and change in ways that lead to living a more productive and fulfilling life. They suggest that this finding is particularly important as it demonstrates how self-compassion leads to personal growth rather than self-indulgence

Read more at …https://www.forbes.com/sites/carleysime/2019/04/30/why-self-compassion-beats-self-esteem/

PREACHING & The 25 Most Popular TED Talks Include This 1 Surprising Word Over and Over, and the Reason Why is Eye-Opening.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I am conducting a communication consultation for preachers in Ohio and it’s exciting to see the improvement every couple weeks. This TED talk research shows that using humor that leads to engagement is a key to great communication. I’ve studied today’s Christian communicators and I have found this to be true. Peruse this short article for more insights.

By Bill Murphy Jr., Inc. Magazine, 5/16/19.

The official TED website includes a list of the top 25 most-watched TED Talks of all time. 

The playlist runs seven hours. The transcripts are a combined 70,000 words. That’s like a 200-page book.

Still, I wondered if analyzing all of the language across all 25 talks might yield some takeaways. With 679 million total views, even though they’re about different subjects, what makes these TED Talks so popular? Would anything jump out?

Laughter

Even more striking than the frequency of “laughter” is the odd fact that none of the speakers actually ever says the word. Instead, it’s inserted into the transcript every time the audiences chuckled or laughed, with parenthesis around it, like this: “(Laughter.)”

Across 25 talks, there are 380 instances of laughter, which works out .948 per minute — just shy of “a laugh a minute.” But then I realized something else.

Applause(?)

Look, a lot of TED Talks are amusing and even interesting, but they’re not uproariously funny…

Often as not, the audience “laughter” in the combined transcript seems more like the audience communicating with the speaker..,

It’s related to “applause,” which appeared 95 times throughout the transcripts. Combine both words, and we reach an average of 1.2 verbal audience reactions per minute.

Of course, there’s also a third, very common way that speakers keep prompting audience engagement: by asking questions. So next, I counted the question marks. There were 579 total…

The power of engagement

Here’s my big takeaway, which I think has implications for anyone called on to give a speech or presentation.

Calling these super-popular TED Talks “talks,” is a bit of a misnomer. They’re more like a guided conversations, with the speakers giving the audience prompt after prompt after prompt — practically begging and cajoling them in fact — to stay engaged.

Combine my admittedly unusual metrics, and you find that there are a total of 1,061 instances across 25 talks during which the speaker either asks the audience a question or delivers a line inducing either laughter or applause. That works out to about once every 21 seconds.

No matter what they’re talking about — from Pamela Meyer’s “How to Spot a Liar,” to Amy Cuddy’s, “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are,” to Elizabeth Gilbert’s, “Your Elusive Creative Genius” — they keep doing the same thing: prompting the audience to engage, over and over and over.

Think of that the next time you sit through a not-so-great presentation, or you have to prepare and give a talk yourself. The secret isn’t just to share information, it’s to prompt engagement — and to keep doing it the whole time you’re up there.

Because anybody can give a talk. It’s another level entirely to lead an engaged conversation.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/the-25-most-popular-ted-talks-include-this-1-surprising-word-over-over-reason-why-is-eye-opening.html

PREACHING & 7 Golden Tips To Make People Engage During Your Presentation

by Paloma Cantero-Gomez, Forbes Magazine, 5/9/19.

“…there are two types of speakers. Those who get nervous and those who are liars.” (Mark Twain).

However, there are also thousands of different tips that can help you to rock it and even enjoy it. 

1. Start with a shocking fact

Such as a personal story from someone you know (or not) or an astonishing data that make everybody open wide their eyes. Beginning your presentation with something sharp and memorable will immediately get everyone’s attention and predispose the audience to believe this will be something worthy to listen to.

2. Introduce your project/product by comparing to other more successful projects/products

… A straightforward and impactful way to make the object or subject of your presentation seems incredibly important is to place it at the end of a list of memorable and successful things or hits. Showing the evolution from a historical perspective and proving your stuff to be the one step forward will may people prone to listen carefully.

3. Make it interactive

Ask your audience to stop you at any point. Make it a two-way experience getting your audience to feel that they are part of the process or the solution…

4. Make the slide visual. Avoid text

Put an important word in the center of every slide. Or even better. Put an icon or image that make your audience think about this word. White text over a dark background is always a catchy combination…

5. Ask for questions. Praise people’s questions. Answer questions

Get audience feedback in real-time… Many different tools can be used for this purpose. DirectPoll let you create quick polls that your audience can access and vote on from their mobile device while showing results in real time. 

Praise people’s questions. This would make them believe they are smart and they got a good point. Everybody likes to feel intelligent.  Answer every question. Even if you do not have a very clear response. ’I am not sure but let me consult it and come back to you’ is always better than making people feel ignored. 

Ask them if it is okay to move on. This will absolutely help all those undecided souls with a shy question in mind to finally formulate it!

6. Take notes of people’s inputs

…Writing down peoples’ comments and inputs provide them with this feeling of belonging. This is a very simple way to make them genuinely think that what they are saying really make a difference and it is taken into consideration as part of the solution.  

 7. Ask the audience for takeaways

Every excellent presentation ends with a neat list of key takeaways. Engaging speakers do not provide them for free but work together with the audience, so actually, it is the audience who came up with the main findings…

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/palomacanterogomez/2019/05/09/the-7-golden-tips-to-make-people-engage-during-your-presentation/#384f86472f65

#CommunicationCoaching