TRUST & How can we trust others in our fallen world?

by Terrance Klein, America; The Jesuit Review, 3/20/19.

…We live, all of us, in a disappointing world. We deceive each other, and when we incorporate, we seem only to maximize our capacity for deception. The modern news media tells us that we have been lied to by our government, by corporations, by the church, by pretty much every place where “two or three gather.” And now with the advent of “fake news,” we no longer trust the news media either.

Small wonder that we are essentially suspicious. It is sad, too, that one mark of adulthood is the ability to recognize when one is being taken in. Only kids truly trust, and they will learn soon enough, so we say.

Yet this question of trust, of giving ourselves to something outside ourselves, is quite fundamental. It goes to the nature of who we are as human beings. One might pose the question this way: Are we clams or clovers?

A clam closes out the world, hides something precious within a hard, protective shell. A clover can only grow, can only find nourishment by opening itself to the air, the sun, the wind and the rain. Which are we? Are we designed to be closed in upon ourselves? Or does our growth in life depend upon our openness to others?

Moses encounters a burning bush that is not consumed. Set aside questions such as: Did the bush really burn and yet live? How did the bush do that? The most important question is the one that Moses himself faced: Have I truly encountered something—someone, really—beyond myself? Am I confronted with someone who is truly “other”? Who is neither I nor part of my world? If this is true, then the questions come begging. “Who is this?” “What does he want of me?” “Should I trust her?”

We cannot avoid these questions in our lives. They are the portals to the intimacy of friendship and love. Once we realize that another wants to be part of our lives, we must choose. Either we trust—entrust ourselves to the other—or we turn away. Sadly, this is a decision we can and sometimes do regret. Yet clovers cannot be clams. If we try to live like clams, we slowly die…

Of course, once divine revelation enters our human sphere it is subject to misunderstanding and misreading. It can be adulterated or truncated, culpably and inculpably, by those charged with its presentation. We cannot fully trust the preacher any more than we can fully trust ourselves. But if the offer, if the person before us comes from outside our fallen and false world, then opening ourselves to that “other-worldly other within myself” is the only way to live.

That brings us to our New Testament tree. Unlike Moses’ bush, the fig tree is not burning. No question there. There is nothing amazing about it. That is because in this story, we are the fig tree, and the questions are: Have we been planted by another? Were we meant to bear fruit? Are we bearing fruit?

… So what are you, clover or clam?

Read more at … https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/03/20/how-can-we-trust-others-our-fallen-world

LEADERSHIP & Ministry at the Speed of Trust

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In these three short videos, Steven M.R. Covey explains how trust is built upon three elements: engagement, change and multiplier. Watch these videos to understand how to expand a foundation of trust.

Watch the videos here … http://www.speedoftrust.com/

MEGACHURCHES & Elmer Town’s View of Healthy Large Churches via @DanReiland #12StoneChurch

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “The thing that impressed me most about 12Stone© Church in Atlanta (a Wesleyan congregation) was that every Saturday night the pastors and leaders join together in the sanctuary to pray for the Sunday worship services.  Lead pastor Kevin Myers told me that this was something God impressed upon him.  Kevin said, and I’m paraphrasing from memory, ‘God said He would show up Sunday morning if I (Kevin) showed up Saturday night and prayed.’  The church has grown to a mega-congregation, but you can still feel what Elmer calls ‘the presence of God that impresses me. That warms my heart. That makes me trust the leaders.’  Another friend and 12Stone© leader, Dan Reiland, posted a great interview with Dr. Towns from which I gleaned this quote.  Here is the entire interview posted with permission from a great website (you should follow it): DanReiland.com.”

Wisdom from a Sage: Dr. Elmer Towns

by Dan Reiland, May 6, 2015, retrieved from http://danreiland.com/wisdom-from-a-sage-dr-elmer-towns

dan-reiland

What I consider a killer combination: Lunch last week at P.F. Changs with Dr. Elmer Towns!

Dr. Elmer Towns is the co-founder of Liberty University and the former Dean of the School of Theology and the Seminary for 32 years. Even at 82 years of age, Dr. Towns is fired up and going strong! He is one of the sharpest leaders I know. Dr. Towns has written 200 books and is working on 3 more right now. He travels the world speaking to thousands of church leaders. Dr. Towns is also writing curriculum for 12 new online courses that will be made available to thousands of Bible Schools internationally and in the US.

Let me slow down a bit. Elmer is a good friend. I love and appreciate him. He has more energy than most 40 year olds, and after all these years he just switched to a Mac! He also proudly showed me his new iPhone 6 Plus!

Elmer loves the local church and has invested in more leaders than most of us could ever imagine. Before his calling to the academic arena, Dr. Towns was a pastor starting at 19 years old in Savannah, GA, while in college.

I asked Dr. Towns what churches impressed him these days. He paused and said,

“Big churches don’t impress me.”

OK, I was hooked and asked him which ones do? He said,

“When I walk in the church and I immediately sense the presence of God that impresses me. That warms my heart. That makes me trust the leaders.”

Elmer said he can quickly sense the Holy Spirit or a “deadness” in the room. He called it the “atmospheric presence of God.”

Dr. Towns went on to say that the presence of God comes from worship, and the presence of God follows the man of God (The Pastor). The pastor is the intercessor that brings God to the people. (This was not meant to suggest that the people do not have direct access to God, but intended to reveal a Pastor’s heart as he or she prays for the people and delivers God’s Word.)

I asked what he would share with young next gen leaders stepping into ministry today. Dr. Towns said:

“Tell them not to focus on building a church but concentrate on feeding the people. If you lead and shepherd the people the church will grow.”

Last, I asked how to go the distance in ministry:

“First you must know why you’re doing what you are doing, then it must be a calling not a job. From there chase God, not success. Most people don’t know what to do with success. If you walk closely with God through Bible reading and prayer, when your church hits a rough patch, which they always do, you can weather the storm, and God will show you what to do next.”

MANAGEMENT & What to Do If Your Boss Is a Control Freak

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  “Having a boss that feels he/she is the expert and should approve or modify everything you do, can be frustrating (I know ;-).  But author Karen Dillon gives four helpful steps to working with a boss who she describes as a control freak.  The four tactics are:

  1. Manage your boss’s insecurities.  In other words, he (she) has worries too.  Try to see it from their perspective.
  2. Don’t fight it.  If you openly rebel, you lose influence.
  3. Scrutinize yourself.  Have you contributed to the problem?  What could you do differently?
  4. Look ahead. Focus on the future and things will usually start to improve.

Read the article (it begins below and continues with a link to the original Harvard Business Review article).”

What to Do If Your Boss Is a Control Freak

by Karen Dillon, Harvard Business Review, 12/23/14.

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…Despite what you may think, the root of his micromanaging is probably not that your boss is a jerk or that he feels threatened by you. Rather, his actions might be explained by factors that have little to do with you, such as a poor understanding of his role as manager, micromanaging bosses of his own, a lack of motivation to question how he’s always done things, or personal insecurity.

That said, it can be hard to cut your boss some slack when he isn’t cutting you any. His harping about every small misstep you take can feel overwhelmingly personal. The good news is that you don’t have to resign yourself to being nit-picked to death. You may not be able to change your boss, says Carol Walker, a principal at Prepared to Lead, a leadership development consulting firm. But you do have some control. “You have more power to improve the situation than you probably realize,’” Walker says. You aren’t likely to turn things around with one great conversation or one burst of high performance. But you can, little by little, own and direct a process that will enable your boss to start trusting you more and monitoring you less. Here’s how.

1. Manage his insecurity

Form an educated guess about where your boss’s sensitivities lie. If you believe, for example, that he’s intimidated by his boss, think of ways you can alleviate that pressure, such as running reports to better prepare him for meetings with his manager. Or perhaps he’s afraid that people don’t perceive him as essential, and he’s on a tear to prove how much you and others need him. Dispel his fears, advises Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future. Show him that you value his guidance. Bring him any news you hear, and take your ideas to him before sharing them with others. As your boss begins to trust that you’ll come to him without prompting, he may loosen his grip…

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2014/12/what-to-do-if-your-boss-is-a-control-freak

MENTORING & Why having that nearby megachurch mentor you isn’t always a good idea

By Bob Whitesel July 7, 2014

I’ve noticed that newly planted churches will often approach a large church or mega-church in their area and seek to create a mentor-mentee relationship. On the surface this seems like a good idea, for the planted church can learn from the flourishing larger church nearby. However I’ve noticed some caveats that you must consider before undertaking this relationship.

My research on this began during my years as the Minister of Church Growth and Evangelism of a mega-church with dozens of planted offspring. As I talked to the leaders of these planted churches I found that though the relationship with the mother church had began with positive intentions, most now had deteriorated because of three factors.

Recently I consulted for one of the nation’s most well-known congregations. In the process I analyzed it’s many planted churches and satellites. And I found the same three conclusions that I had discovered 30 years ago.

The following observations can help large churches and planted churches avoid these three missteps.

First, the mega-church operates with a different leadership style, because it is a much larger organization. Many mega-churches have not been a small church for many years, even decades. And though the leaders in mega-churches are skilled at leading large organizations, their expertise in start-ups is usually in the past and in a different era. Thus, mega-advice can often be focused on hiring, firing and targeting a niche market. These are things that the small church often does not have the ability to undertake.

Secondly when a crisis arises in the mega-church (as will always happen at some time – be it moral, fiscal or transitional) the mega-mom will often focus mostly on her needs. The small church’s cadre of 50 to 100 people can be viewed as a way to help stem the exit tide in the mega-mom. Thus, in times of crisis the mega-church will often give advice to the planted church that favors the mega-mom.

And finally there is an important caveat regarding the planted church. The planted church often seeks a relationship with the mega-mom because subconsciously the planted church hopes to connect with people who are passing out the back door of the mega church. Often those people are looking for a smaller church environment, but I have shown in my book “The healthy church” that mega-churches can be healthy too, by having small groups and missional communities. Regardless, the caveat is that the offspring (often even unconsciously) seeks to attach itself to the mega-church in hopes of some of it’s mega-success rubbing off.

So what should be done instead? Let me propose three options.

First planted churches must have accountability and mentorship. Church planters and their leadership teams must be involved in a denominational accountability/oversight group or have a network that provides this. The pressures of entrepreneurship often take a toll on families and friendships. Accountability and mentorship are critical.

Secondly, relevant mentorship best occurs when the mentor church has recently grown to the next size level larger than the mentee church. Therefore, the mentor can offer more appropriate advice to the church plant. Gary McIntosh suggests three simple sizes of congregations. Most church plants are in the “fellowship size” and they resemble a group often called the Dunbar Number group (search www.ChurchHealthWiki.com for info on the Dunbar numbers). This church is under 150 attendees, and that is where most church plants reside. The next size larger is the “administrative church” according to McIntosh. This is the church in the 150-300 range b A growing and recently planted church from this size range would make a good mentor. This mentor will understand the situation of the planted congregation for not long ago the mentor church was in the same situation.

Thirdly, it is critical to have mentors that do not have any potential to benefit from problems in the church plant and vice versa. In other words, the mentor-mentee relationship is best served with each church is not in the same area or has a vested interest in the other. Thus, there is no inadvertent pressure to trade or assimilate congregants through transfer growth.

And so, the best mentors for church plants may not be the large church nearby … but rather a healthy, growing and slightly larger congregation that would not stand to benefit from transfer growth.

Mentorship is critical for planted pastors … but who you choose must be accountable, anointed and relevant. Too often if relationships are not founded on these principles it can undercut the health of both mentor and mentee.

MARKETING & A Quick Review of False & Misleading Tricks Used In Ads #InfoGraphic

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “We all know that ‘advertising’ is the third step in marketing, after you 1) assess needs and 2) design ministry to meet those needs (B. Whitesel in Smith and Wright, Church Leader’s MBA, 2011, pp. 191-213). But because advertising is often deceptive, people reject marketing altogether. Marketing is necessary, for in its first stage we learn to address the needs of others. But advertising deceptions (such as illustrated in this poignant and even humorous infographic) remind us we cannot let advertising dissuade us from meeting needs.”

by Finances Online™ Read more at… http://reviews.financesonline.com/the-art-of-deceptive-advertising-reviewed/

VOLUNTEERS & The Key To Their Engagement Has Less To Do With Management Than You’d Think

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:Engagement is creating a passion in your volunteers and employees for the mission of the organization. This article points to several key elements for creating passion. One of the most important elements is to let front-line workers have more input into the processes and methods of the organization. This reminds me of how John Wesley often sought the input of the average society attendee to better design what came to be known as ‘Wesley’s methods’.”

by Mark Lunkens, Fast Company Magazine, 5/20/14

Read more at … http://www.fastcompany.com/3030710/the-key-to-employee-engagement-has-less-to-do-with-management-than-youd-think?partner=rss

EVALUATION & Behaviors from 360-reviews that Define Successful Leaders

The Behaviors that Define A-Players
by Jack Zenger, Harvard Business Review

“To see what separates the competent from the exceptional individual performers, we collected 50,286 360-degree evaluations conducted over the last five years on 4,158 individual contributors…

Set stretch goals and adopt high standards for themselves. This was the single most powerful differentiator…

Work collaboratively… “the ability to work collaboratively and foster teamwork.”  And this trait did distinguish the great from the merely competent…

Volunteer to represent the group. The best individual contributors were highly effective at representing their groups to other departments or units within the organization. If you want to stand out, have the courage to raise your hand and offer to take on the extra work of representing your group. In this way you will gain recognition, networking opportunities, and valuable learning experiences…

Embrace change, rather than resisting It...Change is difficult for everyone, but is necessary for organizational survival.  The best individual contributors are quick to embrace change in both tactics and strategy.”  Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/what-a-players-do/

EMPLOYERS & 5 Things Your Employees Are Afraid to Ask You

“You don’t want to answer them–but you have to. If you don’t, you’ll put your company in jeopardy.”
by Laura Garnett, Inc. Magazine, 4/9/14

Excerpts include:

“Do you see me as a long-term part of the success of this business?”

Manager dialogue: Share your vision of the company along with your vision of where you see this employee fitting into that vision. If, however, you don’t see the person as part of your vision, you should share this as well and why. Maybe it’s because the person is the best at what he or she does and you see the person doing that in a variety of business arenas, rather than just yours. Either way, addressing this question opens the door to a motivational conversation that engages the employee in a meaningful way about the company’s future and the employee’s.

“Can I work from home–or anywhere else I want–as long as I am achieving great results?”

Manager dialogue: If this employee’s role allows the flexibility to work remotely, why not trust the person to create a specific work schedule. If you are feeling tentative about it, allow him or her to work remotely for a short period of time as a test and have the person track the results and present back the findings.

Read more at… http://www.inc.com/laura-garnett/5-things-your-employees-are-afraid-to-ask-you.html

TEAM BUILDING: Stop Trying to Control People … Empower Them

Stop Trying to Control People…
by Yves Morieux, Harvard Business Review

“There are six smart rules. The first three involve enabling—providing the information needed to understand where the problems are and empowering the right people to make good choices. The second three involve impelling—motivating people to apply all their abilities and to cooperate, thanks to feedback loops that expose them as directly as possible to the consequences of their actions.

The idea is to make finding solutions to complex performance requirements far more attractive than disengagement, ducking cooperation, or finger-pointing…”

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/stop-trying-to-control-people-or-make-them-happy/

 

DIVERSITY & Why Race Still Matteres in the Workplace #HarvardBusinessReview

Why Race Still Matters in the Workplace

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” — Bertrand Russell, Nobel laureate

In the weeks since the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the national uproar at the circumstances around the event has been profound. While the facts are still emerging, it seems clear that a heightened sense of threat and fear on the part of shooter George Zimmerman played a significant role in the tragedy. All this more than 60 years after the lynching of 14 yr old Emmett Till led to the growth of the American civil rights movement. Can the workings of the human brain help us understand and perhaps thwart this conundrum?

“A good place to start may be the sensitive neural circuitry dedicated to detecting and reacting to threat. One of these regions, the orbital frontal cortex (OFC), is responsible for integrating information from various brain areas, including visceral emotions, in an attempt to facilitate decision making… it’s probably the case that these error detection centers have developed to become acutely sensitive to possible threats in the environment….so much so that if in doubt, our brain will err on the side of caution. After all, it would have been safer for our ancestors to assume that the rustling in the bushes was a sabre-toothed tiger and react accordingly, as opposed to assuming it was a gust of wind, only to become a midday snack. The problem is that our society and lifestyles have evolved at a much faster pace than our brain. We still have that old evolutionary bias generating an intense fear of uncertainty, and react in a fight/flight response. While this may still be adaptive for us as a species, the strength of that response isn’t as critical in today’s society (sans the sabre-toothed tiger).

A study by Xu et al at MIT demonstrated the importance of perceived group affiliation on how we respond to others. Subjects had their brain imaged in an fMRI machine while viewing photos of people receiving either a painful stimuli (a pinprick on their face) or a neutral stimuli (cotton swap on the face). A consistent area of the brain, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), was activated when subjects viewed another person in pain, which was not surprising, since this area is thought to contribute to feelings of empathy.

However, the interesting finding in this study was that activation of the ACC was significantly decreased if the person in pain was a different race than the subject. In essence, they demonstrated evidence of an empathic bias toward racial in-group members, at the neuronal level. Now these weren’t radical, racist subjects in the fMRI machine; these subjects were educated, seemingly normal college students of various backgrounds. So if I perceive you as similar to me simply based on race, then my brain will react with more empathy or compassion than if you were of a different race, and this occurs without our even realizing it.”

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/06/why-race-still-matters-in-the/

David Rock is a consultant, cofounder of the Neuroleadership Institute, and author of Your Brain at Work. Dr. Dan Radecki is the Senior Director of Clinical Research and Development at Allergan and Lead Professor at the Neuroleadership Institute.

CONFLICT & the Power of a Sincere Apology

To Improve Collaboration, Try an Olive Branch on Steroids
by Mark Goulston, Harvard Business Review
http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/to-improve-collaboration-try-an-olive-branch-on-steroids/

CONFLICT & The Right Way to Fight

The Right Way to Fight
by Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review
http://blogs.hbr.org/2010/05/the-right-way-to-fight/

“Identify common ground
To start a difficult conversation the right way, it’s important for you and your coworker to identify something you agree on…

Hear your coworker out
Even if you think you already understand your coworker’s perspective, you should hear what she has to say. Ask questions that help you fully understand her point of view and determine whether your disagreement is a function of differing interests or differing perceptions. According to Weiss, this requires that you “stop figuring out your next line” and actively listen…

Once you’ve heard your coworker out, share your own story. This should not be done in a ‘point, counter-point’ way, but should focus on helping your coworker see where you’re coming from. If she challenges your interpretation, let her vent and express her frustration.

Propose a resolution
When all of the data is on the table, offer a resolution. Don’t propose what you walked in the door with, but use the information you gathered during your conversation to come up with a better solution. Say to your coworker, ‘You’ve said A, and I’ve said B, perhaps we can consider solution C’…”

STATISTICS & 3 Ways to Recognize Bad Stats

3 Ways to Recognize Bad Stats
by Ed Stetzer, The Exchange, Christianity Today, 3/19/14

“I’ve written about the issue before—on many occasions. Here at the blog, you can read about a lot about stats, including specifics about bad marriage stats and why we like bad stats in general.
There is a reason so many people have had skepticism toward stats.

Still, I keep hearing statistics quoted at conferences and through blogs and social media that make me scratch my head in amazement. I’m not sure where some of these stats originate, and I’m the president of LifeWay Research.

So how can you really discern good stats from bad?”

Read more at … http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/march/3-ways-to-recognize-bad-stats.html