Raise Your Vision

May 22, 2015

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Social Media: A Confession (of sorts) By Mike Stickler

I love social media. But I don’t always like it.

Here are some of my thoughts about this incredible exciting—but sometimes frustrating—phenomenon.

  • Social media communication is immediate. That means I can spread an urgent message instantly. That’s good. It also means I can post something the ends up hurting someone because I didn’t pause and think about it first.
  • It can give a great idea a wide audience. It came do the same thing for a bad idea.
  • It can help me to connect with old friends and make new ones. It can also eat into the time I could spend with the people right around me.
  • Social media can allow believers to share a biblical perspective on an important issue. It can also allow Christians to come off as unloving, self-righteous judges.
  • As with every technological development, it can be a conduit of great good and of great harm, depending on the heart and motives of the user. Speaking about social media, apologist Ravi Zacharias said, "Where destruction is the motive, unity is dangerous. Where goodness is the motive, unity is phenomenal."

How do we make the best use of social media while avoiding the pitfalls? I think these things are essential:

  • Pray before you log on. Ask the Lord to guard your heart and your words.
  • Check your motives. Why do you want to post that message? To put someone down or build someone up?
  • Have empathy. Remember that the person who reads your words is a human being, someone with needs and burdens and feelings, someone precious in the sight of the Lord. Just like you and me.
  • Remember that every believer is an ambassador of Christ to the world, wherever we are—even online.

Do you have a like/dislike relationship with social media? How do you use social media as a force for good? How can Christians be a redemptive presence online?

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 Raise Your Vision Online Forum

Would you like to learn more? Join Mike for this free Training

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May 20, 2015

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Is your presentation style BORING? By Mike Stickler

In this very competitive funding environment your presentations must engage the audience.  Here are some tips to make it memorable.

Get down from the stage, walk among the crowd and rather than ask, say "Let's dig into some questions." In development circles, it's known as the assumptive close. Assume there WILL be questions. And if the audience doesn't start asking, the speaker should be ready with questions to ask audience members. You have a room filled with marketplace leaders just waiting to chime in with their opinions.

Here are a few more ways to dial-up the interaction at conference learning sessions:

  • Audience Polls
    With smartphones everywhere, there are plenty of affordable (and even free) audience polling options where participants can text in their responses. In seconds, you have a colorful pie chart or bar graph with real-time data. Dealing with a low-tech crowd? Try my Red-Yellow-Green low-tech polling solution.
  • Purposeful Table Discussion
    Don't do the "go talk amongst yourselves" stuff. Pose one intriguing question, clearly and succinctly. Then let participants discuss possibilities at their table. PS: you should not be drinking water and reviewing the slide deck. Go mingle in the crowd and listen in on these discussions.  Even better have your team do the same . You're sure to catch something worth sharing when you reconvene.
  • Cast Your Audience as a Main Character in a Story
    What if your speaker told a story where the audience took on the role of one of the main characters? Then, stopping just short of the exciting climax, launch a "what would you do?" table discussion.
  • Make a Game of It
    There's nothing like a little friendly competition to get your audience involved. How about a learning scavenger hunt? A poster contest? Or maybe you'll pose questions throughout your presentation, collect responses via Twitter, and those who advance through the qualifying rounds make it to the finals on stage. [break]

Today's audience wants to roll up their sleeves and dig into learning content WITH you. Passive learning is out. Participatory learning is in. We need to find more ways to get them involved, interacting with each other, and at the center of it all. Your have more engagement and greater understanding of your vision.

Would you like to Learn More? Join Mike at this free Training

May 19, 2015

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The Autocratic Leader and the Transformational Leader By Mike Stickler

The Autocratic Leader and the Transformational Leader—What’s the Difference?

Recently I asked transformational leadership strategist Hugh Ballou to describe the differences between an autocratic-style leader and a transformational leader. Here are some insights that came out of that conversation.

In general an autocratic leader:

  • Leads by the force of his personality or charisma
  • Has veto power over all decisions
  • Seeks control over all aspects of the organization
  • Must approve every decision
  • Is the focus of the organization’s efforts
  • Views himself and the organization as one and the same
  • Thinks he is the most important person in the organization (and is probably right, since the organization would likely collapse without his control)

In contrast, the transformational leader:

  • Develops other people
  • Champions the vision rather than himself
  • Articulates the vision
  • Delegates to others
  • Builds leaders on teams
  • Empowers others to make decisions
  • Avoids micromanaging
  • Helps others build their skill sets
  • Builds relationships
  • Nurtures others
  • Models what he wants to see in others

Hugh elaborated on that last point. “The first and foremost piece of the transformational leader is we model what we want to see people do. We model high ethical standards; we model good work standards; we model a life of good faith; we model having a Sabbath. In the church we model what we want other people to do by functioning on a very high level ourselves. Those are my tenets of what makes a transformational leader.”

I asked Hugh to give us a word picture to help us understand the role of the transformational leader, and he referred to his decades of experience as a musical conductor.

Hugh said, “We are in the process of transforming people’s lives in ministry. Here’s a good analogy of a transformational leader: a choir director in a church. When people come into the choir, they’re individual singers. So their first transformation is that they become a choir.

“As they learn the music, they become an ensemble. As we sing and worship, as we grow in our faith we transform people’s lives, so our transformation is a continual faith journey. It’s a process of transformation over time, but the methodology of transformational leadership is infinitely scalable. We create a culture of people who understand leadership from the same perspective.”

Both styles of leadership can get things done. But the transformational leader does it by developing the God-given gifts in others.

Which style of leader are you? Which style of leader do you most enjoy following?

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.

Would You like to learn more?  Join Mike and Hugh for this free Podcast

 

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May 15, 2015

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Freebie Friday: Podcast "Party with a Purpose"

Get your free podcast on fundraising effective events - "Party with a Purpose"
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May 13, 2015

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This Kind of Generosity Actually Inhibits Giving By Mike Stickler

“There are huge problems with giving in America today. Huge problems.” -Dr. Brian Kluth

Every church and nonprofit leader knows the truth of that assessment by stewardship expert Brian Kluth. Many factors can account for a lack of generosity in a church or nonprofit organization.

generosity in givingAmong them is what Brian calls “transactional generosity,” which Dr. Kluth defines as “making it all about giving the gift instead of serving the giver.” He says, “[As ministry leaders] we really have been focused on what can we get from people instead of what do we want for people. Churches do that, and nonprofits can do that.”

When a church makes giving all about meeting the budget, people measure their generosity not by what the Bible says, but by what the budget says. If the budget is being met, they assume their giving is adequate. That inhibits generosity. But as Dr. Kluth has said, “The budget is a spending plan; it’s never the giving goal.”

But when churches really understand that the goal is to teach people the Word of God and to let their lives be transformed, it’s not just about the transaction, it’s about transformation.

“I went to a church a number of years ago as a senior pastor, and they hadn’t met their budget in four years,” says Dr. Kluth. “And I said, ‘Why do we have budgets we’re not meeting?’ And they said, ‘Well, we’re trying to teach people to give to the budget.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m the pastor, and we’ll teach people to give because of what the Bible says, not because of what the budget says.’ And for ten years we went way over budget with our giving, because the budget was a spending plan, not the giving goal.”

Brian believes the same applies to nonprofit organizations. “It really becomes about the budget,” he says. “And I know we have to meet our budgets, to do the due diligence, to send out the letters and to have the events and to meet the people and do all that, but I believe we also need to be bringing a transformational generosity message to the people. I think nonprofits and churches can both be instruments to begin to deliver a good message. Giving’s been declining for 40 years, and we’re in a time when people need to be brought a fresh message about the joys of generosity, the joys of trusting God, and of recognizing God as their provider.

What steps could you take to move your organization toward transformational generosity?

You can hear more about Effective Ministry Leadership from Brian Kluth on this week's featured program.

 

 

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May 11, 2015

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Marks of Transformational Leaders By Mike Stickler

“You are the champion for the vision. And the vision is your number one job as a leader—to make sure that vision is faithfully executed.” Hugh Ballou

Every ministry leader wants to see people’s lives transformed. Yet not all approaches to leadership are created equal. Some approaches focus on helping the leader to gain power or build a reputation while accomplishing little of value in the lives of others involved in the ministry.

Transformational leaders lead by articulating the vision for the ministry and inspiring others to function at their highest level so that the vision gets fulfilled.

Transformational leaders:

  • Articulate the vision for the ministry
  • Are the champions of the ministry vision
  • Build meaningful relationships
  • Build organizational systems that engage people
  • Help people to function at their highest level
  • Build leaders on teams
  • Elevate people to a higher level of decision making
  • Delegate
  • Model what they want others to do
  • Function on a high level personally
  • Avoid micromanaging
  • Give workers a chance to connect their passion to meaningful work

Do these characteristics describe you as a ministry leader? Which of them should become priorities in your current ministry?

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

Would you like to learn more? Get this free Podcast

May 07, 2015

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Are You an Over-Functioning Leader? By Mike Stickler

Ministry leaders tend to be highly conscientious people. They take their calling seriously and want to make sure they give it their all. It’s no surprise, then, that leaders tend to over-function.

Just think of the number of hats the average senior pastor is expected to wear:

  • Church CEO
  • Counselor
  • Preacher
  • Teacher
  • Chaplain
  • Visionary
  • Shepherd
  • Fundraiser
  • Building manager
  • Volunteer recruiter

Any pastor who tries to fulfill all those roles is headed for frustration, if not burnout. Unless a ministry leader has a clear vision for their organization and a clear understanding of their role in it, they will tend to over-function, taking on a great deal more responsibility than they should.

Murray Bowen, a pioneer in family systems theory, once declared, “Over-functioning is irresponsible responsibility.” When we leaders take responsibility for a role that belongs to someone else, we are over-functioning. And that’s being irresponsible, because it robs that person of the opportunity to serve and grow in an area where God has called them to serve Him.

What are some signs that a ministry leader may be over-functioning?

  • A sense that they are working too hard while others are working too little
  • Doing tasks that don’t fulfill the vision
  • Lacking a sense of purpose
  • Focusing on the urgent rather than the important
  • Micromanaging
  • Difficulty in getting others to commit to ministry
  • Doing tasks that are not part of the job description
  • Focusing more on tasks than on relationships

 Do you see signs that you as a leader may be over-functioning? If so, try this:

  • Ask God to give you a clear vision for your ministry
  • Begin to see yourself more as a leadership resource and less as a doer of tasks. Job 1 of the leader is to articulate the ministry vision.
  • Release your hold on areas of ministry that you are not directly responsible to perform
  • Help others to discover their gifts and talents and find ways to use them in ministry
  • Empower others to make decisions
  • Cheerlead your members who serve in ministry

My mentor, Art Ritter, said recently, “If you [the leader] find the gifts, find the talent that God showers on the church, and ask those people to engage in such a way that they understand that they’re going to have full freedom to do what they need to do—the only constriction being the common vision for what we need to have done, the common vision for the outcome. And if the leader is able to express that vision and let good people run with it, frankly there’s not much micromanagement necessary.”

What’s the first step you would take as a leader to ensure that you don’t over-function?

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.

Would You Like To Learn More? Join Mike for this free Training

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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