Raise Your Vision

March 27, 2015

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5 Don’ts for Creating a Generous Culture By Mike Stickler

Do you want to help your ministry become a culture of generosity? It’s important to know how to go about it, and The Vision Group has resources to help you. But it’s not enough to know what to do; you also need to know what not to do.

Recently I asked stewardship experts Brian Kluth and Michael Williams what don’ts they would share with leaders who want to help their ministries become more generous. Here are some of their insights:

  • Don’t talk about money all the time. People in your ministry community will respond more willingly to opportunities to give when it doesn’t come across as a demand.
  • Don’t ignore the subject of generosity. It can be an awkward topic. So leaders have to be intentional about teaching on this subject and providing opportunities for people to be generous.
  • Don’t create burdensome expectations. We want people to be generous, but we don’t want to set them up to fail.
  • Don’t fail to make a big deal out of the generosity your people express. If you are helping people to become generous, celebrate it when they are.
  • Don’t think there’s one silver bullet that will solve all giving issues. Rather than relying on, say, a one-time stewardship sermon or brochure, plan stewardship teaching and giving opportunities throughout the year.

What other advice would you give to ministry leaders who want to foster generosity in their ministries?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Mike Stickler on this week's featured program. Mike is also one of the presenters at the Raise Your Vision Online Forum.

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March 20, 2015

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Freebie Friday: Podcast with David Kinnaman - You Lost me

Get your free podcast with David Kinnaman - "You lost me, why young Christians are leaving the Church."
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March 18, 2015

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Transformational Leadership & Your Local Symphony Orchestra

Hugh Ballou is a transformational leadership strategist and coach as well as a seasoned conductor of choirs and orchestras. We recently talked about how leaders can bring out the best in their people to achieve a common vision.

Ballou began by describing a leader as three things:

  • a person who gets things done
  • a person who knows how things get done
  • a person who influences others

There are many different theories of leadership out there. Hugh has said that over his 40 years in ministry leadership, he found most leadership theory as “too complicated. I’d read all these leadership books, and there was way too much theory, and the stuff was too complicated.”

He discovered strong similarities between leading a business or ministry and conducting an orchestra. (And certainly an orchestra qualifies as a highly organized organization!)

“So I boiled down transformational leadership as a conductor to four principles,” he said. “And you can apply this to any organization. These four principles are how you take the conductor model and work it into your leadership skills in a non-musical setting.”

I’ll let Hugh explain his four principles:

1.    The conductor first and foremost must know the score. “When you step on the podium, you must know what’s in that score. It’s far too complex to fake it. As a leader, we must know what the vision is,” Hugh said. “What’s that vision God has given us? We must have a plan; we must have our skill set nailed.”

2.    A conductor hires the best players for the orchestra. “We don’t want mediocre people. We hire the best. This second principle is about relationships. You build and maintain effective relationships,” Hugh said. “Ministry and leadership are first and foremost built around relationships. We cannot lead people or minister to people if we don’t have relationships.”

3.    The conductor rehearses for success. “If we have a bad rehearsal, we’re going to have a bad performance,” Hugh says. “We build systems into our organizations that engage people. We empower and engage and motivate people through those very systems, so we build excellence into everything we do.” Examples of these systems would include strategies for leading effective meetings, for making decisions and for selecting people for ministry roles.

4.    The conductor values the rests. “In a great symphony, rests are there for a specific reason,” Hugh explained. “They validate the energy that came before; they set you up for what comes next. Rests are not absence of sound. They’re punctuation. “

Hugh made a connection between musical rests and the leader’s daily life. “It’s about balance in life. It’s work life, church life, our personal set of skills, our personal being, our spiritual being, our physical being, our intellectual being—how we balance all of those. And how do we balance all those things going on in our organizations?”

He went on to explain what that looks like. “Balancing life doesn’t mean things are equal. But it means we have time to rest, we have time to play, we have a Sabbath, mini-Sabbaths, a whole-day Sabbath. We really think about how we’re going to be rested and prepared as we show up as the leader. And fundamentally that fourth tenet of balance makes the others work. We can’t preach Sabbath and not take care of our bodies. Sabbath is there for us. It’s there for a reason.”

Here are my take-aways:

  1. A transformational leader will know the score. Know what the vision is, and have a plan to fulfill it.
  2. A transformational leader will hire the best players. Seek the people who have the skills and passion to carry out the vision.
  3. A transformational leader will rehearse for success. Put effective systems and best practices in place.
  4. A transformational leader will value the rests. Provide time and space for rest in your personal and ministry life.

Which of these will you begin to work on first?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Hugh Ballou on this week's featured program. Hugh is also one of the presenters at The Raise Your Vision Online Forum.

 

 

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March 09, 2015

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To Move Forward, You Have to Work Backward By Mike Stickler

Unless they have a crazy sense of adventure (and not much sense otherwise), most people don’t set out on a trip with no idea of where they want to end up. People usually only hit the road after they’ve decided on a destination.

For ministries, “where we want to end up” is another term for vision. It describes the final destination that beckons them. Vision is what moves everything forward in ministry. For your ministry to go forward, you have to work backward. That is, you have to think backward from the final goal so you know what it will take to reach it. I’ve traveled all over the world, and every trip started with knowing where I wanted to end up, then working backward from there so I knew what I needed to do to get to my destination. A ministry doesn’t only need a vision, a desired end. It also needs a strategy to get there. This is particularly true when it comes to raising funds for the organization. Without financial goals and a strategy to meet them, the ministry only has hope. And hope is not a strategy. Say you have a personal desire to go to Hawaii. That’s your vision. What’s it going to take to get there? Do you need to get the consensus of your family? Do you need to raise money? What will happen when you get there? Will you be hiking? Do you need to prepare yourself physically? What reservations will you need to make? Who will you need to contact ahead of time?

This strategizing process applies to ministries as well, especially when it comes to raising funds for the ministry. What does the destination—that vision—look like for your ministry? What resources, time and abilities will your ministry need for trip itself? Once we determine the destination, then we need work backward from there so we know what we need to get us there.

If your ministry is not going through that process, if you’re not really thinking these things through, you don’t really have a strategy. You have hope, but hope is not a strategy.

Do you know where your ministry is headed? Where are you in working out how you’ll get there?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Mike Stickler on this week's featured program

 

 

 

 

 

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March 06, 2015

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Free Training: Where is Your Ministry?

Where would you like to see your organization?

Determining the direction and effectiveness of your organization is a mandatory practice in today's competitive fundraising environment. Mike has created a tool to help your organization determine where you stand in accepted best practices in organizational development and fundraising methodologies. This assessment is a serious undertaking, which has been developed using accepted best practices and scientific data collection. This assessment will take approximately fifteen minutes to complete (62 questions) and is best accomplished by senior leadership within your organization.

March 03, 2015

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Capacity Building: Build a Strong Cart and Feed the Horse By Mike Stickler

Where is your organization headed? What do you want to accomplish? How will you get there? Have you built your organization’s capacity to get the job done and be self-sustaining over the long haul? Have you given capacity building the attention it needs?

cart-and-horse: Capacity-Building

Many nonprofits and ministries are started by visionary leaders who are eager to get right to the task of serving their community, so they don’t take the time to build the necessary infrastructure and support. My friend Art Ritter has said, “Quite frankly, that’s the entrepreneur’s disease—the attraction of wanting to jump ahead into serving before you’re actually ready to deliver the goods. That urge is exceedingly strong in any entrepreneur’s DNA, I’m afraid.”

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February 24, 2015

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The One Thing That Motivates the Most Giving By Mike Stickler

There are many different ways to give to ministries, and there are many different motivations for giving. As we plan to raise ministry funds, it’s important to understand what motivates people to give to an organization.

Some people are motivated to support an event. It’s important to them to support an event they believe God will use to touch lives. Others want to give to something tangible, such as a building, vehicle or piece of equipment that will help the ministry be more effective. Some want to give to causes that help people directly—perhaps with food, housing or education. Others want to give because the practice of giving blesses them and helps them grow in spiritual maturity. If there is one thing that motivates givers more than anything else, it’s this: when they’ve been gripped by a compelling vision. They can see that the ministry is striving to accomplish a vision that will build God’s kingdom and change people’s lives. Vision is what drives everything forward in ministry. It is what makes people want to get on board with what a ministry is trying to accomplish. One thing that dampens people’s desire to give is the “constant needs” approach. That’s when a ministry seems has no compelling vision, but instead always asks for money for one need this week and another need next week. Not only do givers grow tired of that kind of appeal, but it also makes the ministry leaders feel like they are manipulating their donors. And in a way, they are.

It’s amazing isn’t it, the many reasons people have for giving. And nothing motivates giving as much as a ministry with a clearly defined vision.

What motivates you to give? How does your ministry seek to encourage giving?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Mike Stickler on this week's featured program. Mike is also one of the presenters for The Generous Life Conference.

 

 

All information and images property of The Vision Group, Ltd. © 2015 Use, unless expressly given by the Company in writing, is unlawful by U.S. Copyright Law.

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