Spectator or Participant?

In life, there are broadly speaking, two types of people. Those who watch on and those who actively participate.

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In the church, we see the same phenomenon. Many millennials these days expect life to “happen” to them or to be catered to. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Yes, as Christians, we have the grace of God. But as the saying goes, God helps those who help themselves. Meaning? We need to actively go after whatever drives us, motivates us work-wise and trust that God will provide in the process.

This isn’t the time to go into the passage where Jesus says that we will always have the poor among us. I am not disputing that. We will always have poor people in our midst, and they do bless us as Christians. What I am saying is that for many of us in the West, especially my generation, there is a sense of entitlement that is very false and ungodly.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal. 6:7). If you put forward an effort in life, Jesus sees this and honours it. If you sit back and expect others to serve you, I’m sorry but you have the wrong attitude.

“… the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom to many” (Matt. 20:28).

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Lessons in Leadership

Over the course of my career, I have learned a few lessons in leadership. Here are a few of them:

  1. Good leaders train up successors. They are not afraid to promote others whom they deem to be competent or effective in their domain of expertise.
  2. Leaders put in the time necessary to complete a task – they see projects through to completion. Many people have great ideas, but delivering and producing results takes tenacity.
  3. People who lead others know how to have fun. This means that team-building involves organizing fun-filled activities that draw employees or like-minded individuals together so that they can more effectively and efficiently pursue a common goal. In the federal government, the Public Service Week in June provides a wonderful opportunity to accomplish this goal.
  4. Perseverance is a mark of true leadership. Any leader faces good times and bad, times of lean and times of plenty. The successful leader will face any challenge or opportunity head-on and explore new ways of accomplishing tasks.
  5. Leaders keep their employees’ productivity high by keeping the focus of their organization tight. This avoids mission creep and allows the organization to flourish in its particular niche.

Having Effective Meetings

Meetings… something all of us, pretty much, have to deal with. Well, maybe not if you’re a farmer, or a stay-at-home parent. But then you might have a family meeting, right?

How can they be more effective, and can they be fun?

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I would suggest to you YES. Meetings, being a necessary part of life, need not be burdensome. Traditionally, organizations follow the Robert’s Rules of Order. Yes, meetings can be staid, but the key is to keep the meetings moving without getting off-track. Easier said than done!

The balance lies in keeping members engaged, accountable and bought in to what the organization is trying to accomplish. Assigning tasks as well as roles (Secretary, Chair, Treasurer), taking minutes and properly archiving documents are all part-and-parcel of Boards of Directors. You can even take a certification program to increase your effectiveness and savviness around the boardroom table!

I might start an organization one day for a cause I want to champion, but more and more I find that there are so many opportunities to serve in existing organizations. Sometimes the prudent thing to do is not to reinvent the wheel, but to jump on board (… pardon the pun) an already existing board!

Whatever your personal goals, starting a charity is a lot of work, but can have a big pay-off. The key would be to focus yourself, find members who could join your team and be ready for the paperwork that will ensue once you’ve been incorporated. It would be wise, of course, to approach a lawyer specialized in this field to help establish your entity. Otherwise, why not volunteer with an organization that is closely aligned with your personal values and convictions?

Measuring Success

We all want to measure success in our lives – to improve in certain metrics. It’s o.k. to dream big and to have ambition, but I believe that ultimately success is found in Jesus Christ. There will always be a yearning in our hearts for “more.” But it is only when we come with our proverbial pitchers to Christ, so that we can drink living water freely from the fountain of life, that we will find true satisfaction, life, hope and joy.

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In our modern society, we want what we want NOW (or yesterday). Twitter has taken off in recent years because the company realizes that modern people have very short attention spans. Who’d known? The Internet, wonderful as it is, has done a number on our collective attention spans…

Why not do a self-diagnostic test on yourself. How long can you focus on any one thing? Has your productivity been affected? I bet you it has.

Masks

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We all wear them, and some of us are better at wearing them than others. Others have multiple masks.

But our Lord disbands every notion that we can remain hidden from Him and His Word. Hebrews 4:13 reminds us that nothing is hidden from God-everything is laid bare before Him who created us and the world.

What might it look like to start taking off the masks?

If you are a Christian (which I certainly hope you are or will become), I propose to you that you need to start thinking about taking off the masks you wear just like you should put on the armour God gives you to wage the spiritual fight.

Remember, God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7); He knows your struggles. Daily He lavishes His magnificent grace on us.

Living On Mission

We were created to leverage our lives fully for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love the book A Field Guide for Everyday Mission by Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts. Our church studied this a year or so ago and there are many ideas that are worth implementing from it.

One of the ideas I would like to implement in my neighbourhood is having a community party or BBQ. There are so many areas of our lives (work, leisure, where we buy groceries, etc.) where we can bring the Gospel.

As a member of the Gideons, I also have the opportunity to share the Scriptures readily with other people. While doing so, it is important to recognize that I may not be the one directly leading another to Christ, but at least I can water the seed.

A similar dynamic to this is going on in 1 Corinthians 3:6. Paul planted the seed, Apollos watered it and God caused the seed to grow. Sometimes we neglect the last part of this verse. Ultimately, God brings out good fruit in his disciples, and He alone is the one who causes all of our human efforts to grow, so that we may abound for every good work He has called us to do (Col. 1:10).