For the past few years, I have regularly considered giving up blogging. Every three or four months or so, I would wake up, think about all the things going on in my life, and I would be 100% ready to stop blogging. And every time, that very same day, I would get an email, or a note, or a text thanking me for having written something that encouraged or motivated them.

And I would get back to my laptop and hack away at it.

Sometimes those encouragements would be from a close friend, and sometimes from someone I knew casually, and sometimes from a completely stranger. It never ceased to amaze me how God would use my ramblings to help someone else, and to give a voice to the voiceless and an image to the unseen.

But now I am sure that I need a break from blogging. Not just a week or a month, but for the rest of the year (or longer).

Read more about why I’ve made this decision…


Leading a Non-Profit

book_ managing_non_profitI’ve been reading Managing the Nonprofit Organization (Peter Drucker). It is definitely challenging me in how I am leading Elevate Youth.

Here are some quotes that I’ve mulled over already (I’m sure I’ll come across more):

“Keep your eye on your task, not on yourself. The task matters, and you are a servant.”

“The leader starts out with the realization that he and the organization owe; the owe the customers, the clients, the constituency. . . . And what they really owe is really to enable people to realize their potential, to realize their purpose in serving the organization.”

“Leadership is accountable for results. And leadership always asks, Are we really faithful stewards of the talents entrusted to us? The talents, the gifts of the people — the talents, the gifts of money. Leadership is doing. It isn’t just thinking great thoughts; it isn’t just charisma; it isn’t play-acting. It is doing. . . .

And the first imperative of doing is to revise the mission, to refocus it, and to build and organize, and then abandon. It is asking ourselves whether, knowing what we now know, we would go into this again. Would we stress it? Would we pour more resources in, or would we taper off? That is the first action command for any mission.”

For all the kids and youth and parents, and volunteers and supporters and readers, I recognize that I owe you.

I owe you my best efforts — whether for things I enjoy doing (being with kids, helping others get plugged in), or for things I don’t (fund-raising, marketing). We have a mission, and we will work together to see our hope become a reality.

How Do You Engage and Enlist Others for a Cause?

football 2014 region champs

In 20 years of working, I have worked in solo roles, and on a team of collaborators. I have worked for bosses, and I have been a boss. But the most rewarding and challenging roles I’ve had is when I led teams of volunteers.

These teams of volunteers varied in size: from a handful of people who serve with our after school and summer camp programs, to when I helped lead more than 500 volunteers in Children’s Ministry. The reward for me is seeing people use their gifts and resources to bless others. The challenge for me is the continually engagement and enlisting of people to give up their time.

One thing I learned is the value of casting a vision for the cause at hand. If you lead volunteers (or any kind of team), you must communicate the why, what, and how of your mission.

Want to learn more? Read my guest post on Jonathan Pearson’s blog: How Do You Help Others Cultivate a Heart for a Cause?

Related Links:

Year-End Giving: Mill Community Ministries

cash morguefile cohdra

It’s that time of the year when you will be inundated with numerous requests to donate money before 2014 is over. (Can we say “tax deduction”?). And that’s great, since there are many worthwhile charities that need our support.

Besides giving to Grace Church and supporting a few overseas missionaries (Osborns, Cawleys, Dosters), we also donate to a few other charities (both faith-based and social service) regularly. Over the last 10 years, we’ve consolidated more and more so we are not spreading out our resources too much.

Do you know who else we give to? Mill Community Ministries, the organization I work for. And if you are wondering where you can make a meaningful financial contribution, I encourage you to consider donating to Mill Community Ministries, too.

Learn about the example I witnessed that changed my life…

Mill Community Ministries — More Questions and Answers

MCM Logo Horz

If you worshiped at Grace Church this past weekend, you heard Matt Williams explain more about Mill Community Ministries. If you missed it (or want a refresher), check out the video below.

I already answered some FAQs and SAQs. Here are some more questions you may have after watching this video . . .

Read more…

A Small Manifesto

GREEN GALILEE _ farmland

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?”  
Micah 6:8

Tomorrow’s generation is divided. This division has less to do with race or money or politics. It has to do with opportunity.

The truth is that not everyone has the same access to resources, education, health care, and love. This is an injustice. And this violates the core of who we are as humans.

But there is hope. I know there is, for 2 reasons:

First, we have a sovereign God who is deeply concerned with each of us. He is intimately active in this world, as He desires for us to know Him and trust in Him.

Second, because you can think, feel, and do, you have what others need. You can always learn from others, and you can always teach others.

You have something to share. Maybe it’s your time. Maybe it’s your money. Maybe it’s your expertise. Maybe it’s your life experience. Maybe it’s all of the above.

impostor_syndrome bufferI’ll be honest, for as much as I learned in my time in Allendale, I feel like I should know about poverty and education and the gospel. I feel like people expect me to know a lot, and I probably do know a good bit. At least, I know a lot more than I did 4 years ago.

But I also feel like an imposter. I still say “I don’t know” a whole bunch, and that’s ok.

It’s ok that we don’t know. But in the face of uncertainty, we have to embrace ambiguity and move forward.

The world is full of chaos and injustice and despair. But in the greatest crises are the greatest opportunities to love and to communicate truth (see Matthew 24:12-14).

I invite you to help me learn. I invite you to join this community.

I invite you to Do Justice, Love Kindness, and Live Humbly with God. Make a difference in this world, as you bring love and justice to those who need it most.

Related Links:

We Created This Monster

 **first image courtesy of israeltourism via flickr

**second image courtesy of buffer