Many great people have said that it’s often better to make the wrong decision than to make no decision at all. By not making decisions I freeze those around me from making progress. I either need to delegate the decision or make it myself. So I’ve started tracking my DPM’s or ‘decisions-per-meeting.’ I attend meetings with a new mindset of ‘what are we going to decide today!’ I’m sure I’ll make plenty of decisions that aren’t optimal, but it sure makes meetings more fun and keeps us moving forward.
It’s great to use email, mobile phones, texting, and twitter to make instant connections with people I’m leading. I often jump in the car and play contact-list-roulette. I scroll the contact list in my iPhone and see where the list stops. I then make a call to a person on the screen to just check in and encourage them.
How are you using technology to leverage the time time you have to lead and connect with others?
There’s an entrepreneur MBA program in Austin where the students evaluate their teachers after each class. At the end of the semester, the lowest performing teachers are not invited back to teach the following semester. This program recognizes that the customer is the student, and the students have direct input into the excellence of the program.
What would it look like if we applied this concept to our churches? People the church staff is responsible for leading would evaluate the staff on whether they are serving, developing, and equipping them based on biblical principles. Then the staff with the lowest evaluations would not be asked to lead on staff during the next ministry season. Not sure the church is ready for this, but it has potential to take us to a new level of church leadership.
“Replace Yourself” was a value that was lived out at my former employer. I moved from being a consultant to project leader after I developed other consultants. I moved from project lead to manager after I developed other leaders. Before I left that organization to join Gateway, I was promoted to Director because I had developed another manager.
I was reminded of that principle in Haiti, because at Mission of Hope, every staff person has to develop someone new to do their job. Here are a few benefits of people development:
1. Every team member has opportunities to move into new roles with additional responsibility as the organization grows.
2. If someone leaves the organization, then a replacement is ready to advance the mission, rather than having to stop momentum or move backwards.
3. Depth is created within the staff so that people are ready to play multiple roles.
4. A culture of development is created so ‘stars’ are identified and lead the organization to new levels of performance.
Who is your replacement? What are you doing to develop them?
This is part 2 of a post about principles for good serving trips.
Be sensitive to their culture: this is where these people live. We’re not trying to change them or force our way of doing things on them. We’re their guests and their servants. We represent Mission of Hope when we’re there, so we have to be aware that our actions and words can positively or negatively impact their mission.
Build relationships: In the past, people came on ‘mission trips’ for the sole purpose of evangelism, with an “I’m going to save your soul” mentality. Most Haitians have “been saved” and now need developmental relationships to help them grow in their faith.
Be in it for the long haul: Brad started 12 years ago with 100 students and now has 2,200 students. But it took 12 years before he saw the first graduates. Those students are now starting businesses, going to college, and becoming pastors in their community. It’s a good thing Brad didn’t give up after year one. Not everyone can take a trip to Haiti, but everyone can invest in the life of a Haitian child. We can all sponsor a child for $35 a month…and that changes the trajectory of a life!
For more great info on serving physical and spiritual needs, read When Helping Hurts.
In a church staff role, we have to remember we are in the business of saving lives… both physical lives and spiritual lives. Our days are often taken up with meetings and keeping the organization running smoothly. But Christ came to do 2 things: 1) give spiritual life to those that follow him 2) provide physical life and healing for the poor.
How much of our day is spent on the two things that were at the core of what Jesus life on earth was about? Does a quick review of my day show that less than 50% of what I do is in sync with Jesus mission:
– spending 3 hours working through interpersonal conflict with 2 mature Christ-followers…death (more people die because I’m taken off mission).
– spending 2 hours on optimizing budgets so more money goes to those in physical need…life (more people live because I am on mission).
– spending 1 hour editing a video that communicates the love and grace that comes from knowing Christ…life.
You get the idea. We have the responsibility above all else to ensure that we are saving lives. If we can’t account for how more and more of our time is going to physical and spiritual life, then we’re doing something wrong.
While in Haiti, I had a chance to ask Brad Johnson (president of Mission of Hope) what separates good serving trips from bad. Here’s a summary of our conversation:
Be prepared to serve at all times: The trip is not about you! Although you’ll get a ton out of serving with Haitians, come ready to dig trenches and clean toilets.
Be strong: Conditions are rough, sleeping with no a/c, no warm showers, bugs, mosquito nets, malaria and 100 degree weather. Christ came to serve, not to be served… follow his example.
Be flexible: Things will not go the way you expect, so you have to be willing to flex any moment. This summer we were supposed to paint an orphanage, but the paint didn’t show up, so we built a sidewalk.
More to come in Part 2.
Arrived in Haiti today and drove through Port au Prince. It’s great to see the progress that’s been made since I was here in July. Most of the rubble is off the streets and there are fewer collapsed buildings. Also took a tour of the property the Haitian government donated to Mission of Hope and saw 4 of the new homes that have been built. Living Water is partnering with Mission of Hope, so I watched them work on drilling a well that will provide fresh water to the 2,000 students and 60 orphans on their property.
There have been lots of great additions at Mission of Hope: the orphans have moved into their new rooms/homes; Maggie’s Kitchen is open (this is where the orphans eat); a new student lab has been built (one day will have computers); construction is progressing on the new hospital; and a slab has been poured for the new guest house. All of this in the last 6 months!
Most of all, kids are being loved, cared for, and shown the love of Christ. It shows in their smiles.
Headed back to what is becoming one of my favorite countries (other than the U.S.). This trip is about providing much needed medical care for 400 Haitians and planning to build 3 homes for families that were displaced in the earthquake (way to go Gateway on rallying to resource these initiatives).
I’m going to meet with lots of different people who are leading all kinds of initiatives in Haiti through Mission of Hope: construction, medical care, orphanage, a school, churches, feeding programs. I’m also going to get to try out all kinds of different products from water purification (for cholera prevention) to mosquito nets. Hopefully I’ll have good reviews of these products (the best review will be staying free from viruses and parasites).
Today marks 12 months since 200,000-300,000 people lost their lives in the earthquake. Hundreds of thousands more were injured and many more left homeless. Yet, there is still hope for new life and a new nation to emerge. This Summer while in Haiti, I met young Haitians who are the future doctors, business leaders, pastors, and teachers of this nation. One young man I met has plans to become the future president of Haiti. So while there has been so much devastation, hope has the opportunity to be even greater. Join with me today to pray that many will find a hope that comes from trusting in a God that is greater than any situation or circumstance this world can throw at them. Let’s pray for these young leaders to stay strong and put their hope in Christ. Let’s pray for the birth of a new nation!