“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” -Mark 8:36
A recent study was conducted on an Ivy Leaguestudent who got an A in ethics and then went on to be arrested for rape. How does someone who gets an A in ethics become a rapist? In our western worldview, there’s no problem there because getting an A in ethics in a western university means that you know principles, not that you believe in them or apply them in any way.
One professor once, at the end of his ethics course asked, “How many of you understand ethics now?” All of the students raised their hands in the affirmative. Then he asked, “How many of you tend to be ethical?” Everyone laughed.
In our world, we believe that if we can just learn certain principles, maybe that’s enough, and it’s not. Jesus wants his students to be like him, act like him, walk like him, talk like him. He gave us a vision of what it would look like to live the best kind of life.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I want to be your student. I want to be like you. Thank you for showing me through your word how to be the best person and live the best life possible. Amen.
Reflection: How has modeling the life of Jesus improved your life? The lives of those you touch?
In an interview with Politico Thursday, the California lawmaker said GOP scorn was simple jealousy.
“You know why it is. You know why it is,” she sputtered. “He’s brilliant, … he thinks in a strategic way in how to get something done … and he’s completely eloquent. That’s a package that they don’t like.”
The 26-year veteran likened the GOP vitriol to a snobbish distaste she claimed some Republicans had for President Clinton.
“They didn’t think he was one of them … because of his upbringing and his personal story of success,” she charged ” … Although he had the Ivy League and the Georgetown education, he wasn’t rooted where most of the former presidents came from.”
After a phone call with Republican Speaker John Boehner, Pelosi repeatedly said she had “no idea” whether he would depend on Democratic votes to avoid default or a government shutdown — or if he had a plan that could pass with Republican votes alone.
She said what she does know is the GOP’s initial plan to keep the government running past Sept. 30 — including the defunding Obamacare provision demanded by conservatives — won’t fly with her caucus.
“The Speaker knows that,” she said. “I call it the tea party continuing resolution, because they are obviously driving the ship. … We can do it the hard way — well, we can do it not at all, which is the path that they’re on now….”
She added: “They don’t want our vote. I believe that the path the Republicans are on is designed to shut down government. … [T]he question is: Can they have their ideological dream come true, or will there be some voice of reason?”
Pelosi said Boehner has stated he doesn’t want to default.
“But it’s one thing to say you don’t want to default, … then have all the building blocks for default put in place to do so,” she railed.
With the Politico interview, Pelosi capped a week of carrying the torch for her party in the House. Earlier in the week, she penned an editorial in USAToday where she characterized Republicans as irresponsible for holding a nation hostage over raising the debt ceiling. She blamed some of the current national debt issues on weak George W. Bush administration policies.
Pelosi snapped at a question from Politico about her relevance given Democratic votes may be needed to avoid a crisis.
“I’ve not ever felt irrelevant,” she said. ““I’d rather feel less relevant. I’d rather the Republicans just pick up the mantle, be responsible, pass a debt ceiling — that we can work with them more.”
As for gripes from Democrats about the president’s lack of communication with them, Pelosi said it was an old complaint.
“I’ve served since President Reagan,” she said. “I don’t know any member of Congress who ever said, ‘I’m satisfied with the communication that we have from the White House.’ That’s just the way it is. … I’m very proud of the president.”
Dartmouth College has rescinded the appointment of Bishop James Tengatenga of Malawi as dean of a foundation at the Ivy League school in New Hampshire over his past comments about homosexuality.
Reached by e-mail on Thursday, Tengatenga said he was “disappointed” by the decision.
Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon said the school revoked the appointment because “the controversy (Tengatenga’s comments) created have compromised his ability to serve effectively.”
Tengatenga had been named as dean of the school’s William Jewett Tucker Foundation, which seeks to educate Dartmouth students “for lives of purpose and ethical leadership, rooted in service, spirituality and social justice,” according to the college’s website.
The appointment drew criticism after it was announced last month because of Tengatenga’s leadership of an Anglican church in Africa that opposed gay rights. He served as diocesan bishop of Southern Malawi and chair of the Worldwide Anglican Communion‘s Anglican Consultative Council, a network of 44 churches.
“The issue is that he has championed the church’s official position against homosexuality,” Dartmouth junior Andrew Longhi wrote in a blog post on The Huffington Post website. “The tendency to discriminate against (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people is so diametrically opposed to how I understand faith and religion that selecting a ‘social conservative’ to this post baffles me.”
Tengatenga said in a statement following the appointment, but before his hiring was blocked, that his views on homosexuality had changed.
“Let me state unequivocally and categorically that I consider all people equal regardless of their sexual orientation,” he wrote. “As is the case with many people, my ideas about homosexuality have evolved over time.”
On Thursday, he reacted to Dartmouth’s decision.
“I am disappointed,” he said by e-mail. “It’s a sad for the liberalism they claim. It is what it is. Life goes on.”
He noted changing attitudes toward gay rights, particularly in the United States after the consecration of Gene Robinson as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.
Hanlon, the Dartmouth president, said the move came after much reflection and consultation with senior leaders at the college and “in light of concerns, specifically surrounding gay rights,expressed by members of our community.”
The college’s support of gay rights, he said, was “complete and unwavering.”
Not every ministry leader is willing to be candid about the sluggish economy and its direct impact on the church. But Mark Walker, a fourth-generation Pentecostal pastor, likely represents many church leaders when he refers to the past four years as “the most challenging” he’s seen in his lifetime.
The biggest contributing factor? Unemployment. North Georgia, where Walker has served for 21 years as senior pastor of Mount Paran North Church of God, in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, has been one of the hardest-hit areas in the nation since 2008. A number of veteran small-business owners who attend Mount Paran have had to shut their doors. Others, concerned about Obamacare, realize that if they opt out of the health-care mandate because of religious convictions, they will have to pay a tax—which means laying off staff.
Walker is all-too-familiar with such layoffs. For the first time in its 25-year history, Mount Paran recently had to trim its staff.
“Any time there was an economic hiccup in the past, we cut budget—but we never had to lay off people,” Walker says. “It has challenged every ounce of leadership, business and biblical skill I have—and beyond—to try to make it work.”
As churches and nonprofit ministries nationwide have grown exponentially, so too have the challenges, which today often include legal, human resource and technology issues. As a result, many pastors and ministry leaders are recruiting trained business professionals—like Walker, who holds a doctorate in organizational leadership and spent the first several years of his career working in business—to help guide them and provide the expertise they lack.
And it’s created a point of convergence, as a growing number of corporate executives are willing to lay down their stock options and use their skills to benefit the work of God in the world.
When Business Meets the Pulpit
When Bishop Harry Jackson Jr. earned his MBA in the 1980s, few MBA grads specialized in nonprofit work. For himself, Jackson set his sights on sales and marketing—and with a degree from Harvard, the sky was the limit.
While serving as the national sales and marketing manager for one of Corning Glass Works’ divisions, Jackson started a Bible study in his home that unexpectedly grew into a church, which he led bivocationally for four years. But then, with a second child on the way, Jackson’s wife, Michele, approached him about his demanding schedule. It was time to choose: business or full-time ministry.
By staying in the corporate world, Jackson could have amassed a fortune. But he accepted the call to the pastorate instead, which he says “revolutionized” his life because it forced him to walk by faith.
“I dropped from a huge salary down to whatever 100-something people could pay me in a fledgling work,” he says.
Jackson’s Ivy-League education didn’t go to waste, as he began using many of his business skills in ministry, starting with market segmentation. In the predominantly white church he pastored in upstate New York, Jackson emphasized evangelism—and the church grew. In 1988, he was called to Hope Christian Church, just outside Washington, D.C., and it became known—and popular—for its Hosanna! Integrity-style worship instead of traditional black gospel.
Applying his business sense to the pastorate, Jackson says “mission drift” can occur in churches when pastors try to meet every need rather than focus on the areas where they’re called, just as businesses go astray when diversifying their brand to the point of dilution.
“I’ve had opportunities where resources were offered that would be distractions,” Jackson says. “If we go outside the areas where we’re called, we can get ourselves in trouble with the Lord and move outside our skills.”
Experience Both Timely and Valuable
Named one of the 50 most influential leaders in the U.S. glass industry, Jack Hoey, now chief operating officer of Seacoast Church, a 12,000-member congregation based in Mount Pleasant, S.C., previously served as president and CEO of Coastal Glass Distributors in Charlotte. After selling his business, he was asked by Greg Surratt, senior pastor of Seacoast, to share his business expertise on matters concerning the church—an invitation that led Surratt to invite Hoey the following year to come on board and implement his suggested changes.
“I feel like I’ve been able to really help move staff who were in roles that didn’t fit them so well,” Hoey says.
When Seacoast’s human resources director retired a year ago, Hoey took over most of the director’s responsibilities, which has given him the opportunity to coach and mentor the staff.
Today he manages the staff, finances, facilities and security at Seacoast. And although Hoey’s corporate experience was tied to a completely different industry than the work he does now, his experience managing an organization of more than 100 people serves him—and Seacoast—well today.
In Arlington, Texas, experience as a facilities and services manager at Amoco Corporation helps Joseph Davis streamline the day-to-day business operations of High Point Church—a critical skill, given the lean staff of 28 that serves a congregation of 3,500 people. As the church’s associate pastor, Davis helps High Point manage its finances responsibly by outsourcing service providers—everything from accounting to facility services—and relying heavily on volunteers.
“It definitely impacts the bottom line and improves efficiencies,” Davis says.
When Nathan Buss began attending Substance Church in Minneapolis, Minn., its membership ran about 200. Today, the church has blossomed to 2,100 members and serves four campuses, none of which the church owns. Accordingly, as the finance administrator of the church today, one of Buss’ future responsibilities will be to locate land or a building at an existing site that Substance Church can purchase. With 10 years of commercial real estate experience and an MBA under his belt, Buss is well-suited for the task.
And at the Rock Church in San Diego, Calif., which draws about 12,000 people a week under the leadership of Miles McPherson, James Lawrence is the newly appointed chief of staff and innovation. When Lawrence joined the church full-time in 2010, the executive team consisted of nine people; now, it has been reduced to four.
Lawrence, who was instrumental in putting together a finance committee “to make sure we have a solid financial reporting structure that interfaces with our auditor and executive team,” he says, has utilized every ounce of leadership experience he accrued over 15 years—first as the founder of GrepNet, a software engineering company that developed the first commercial in-memory database technology, and then as co-founder of Mogiv, a mobile and cloud-based giving technology for churches—to make the difficult decisions that are par for the course when leading a church in these lean economic times. Like Jackson, Lawrence believes leadership—whether in ministry or in the marketplace—is critical in the church today.
Revitalization at Nonprofit Ministries
Just as churches desperately need skilled business leaders, particularly in today’s tough times, so do nonprofit ministries—and many CEOs and corporate executives who have gained skills in cutthroat environments are eager to leave the secular world for the “sacred.”
One such leader is Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. Reckford began his career at Goldman Sachs in New York but soon discovered his role there didn’t align with his personal values. So in 1986, he applied for a number of fellowships and was awarded the Henry Luce Scholarship, which led him to spend a year in Seoul, Korea, where he worked in marketing for the Olympic Organizing Committee and coached the Korean rowing team.
Upon his return, Reckford began an MBA program at Stanford University, focusing on public and nonprofit management. “The slight surprise was that I came out of school thinking I ought to work in the private sector first and then take those skills across,” he says. Reckford served in executive and management roles at Marriott, the Walt Disney Company, Circuit City and Best Buy.
Following a trip to India, Reckford was intent on directly serving the poor, but there was to be a long waiting period before a door opened for him in the nonprofit world. In the meantime, he rolled up his sleeves and volunteered at his church, Christ Presbyterian, in Edina, Minn., which soon led to a full-time job as executive pastor.
A couple years later, a recruiter who had previously called Reckford about for-profit jobs, contacted him out of the blue about Habitat for Humanity.
“It was the kind of role that met all of my hopes, in terms of service,” Reckford says.
And all the corporate experience Reckford gathered over the years served him well in his new, auspicious role. The breadth of Habitat’s work is enormous. The organization has 1,553 independent chapters or affiliates in the United States and works in 80 countries. About 700 staff members serve the global umbrella organization, and more than 1 million volunteers helped with projects in 2012.
Even in a tough economy, Reckford says Habitat has quadrupled the number of families they have been able to help each year since 2005. Since taking the helm at Habitat, Reckford has implemented housing microfinance, which influences banks to create home improvement loans for low-income families. The organization has also focused more of its attention on helping families rebuild their homes after a disaster.
Like Habitat for Humanity, Bible League International has made major shifts in recent years to become more effective and efficient—a goal they’ve been able to achieve under the leadership of Robert Frank, who brought to the organization in 2009 a rich 30-year history working with large international corporations. With an MBA in international business development, Frank grew his understanding of diverse cultures and economies in his work outside the United States with the apparel division of Fruit of the Loom. At Rawlings Sporting Goods, he served as part of the IPO team that took the company public.
Upon joining the Bible League, Frank brought his global experience and business sensibilities to bear, first by restructuring the organization through decentralizing and then by moving operations to locations nearer the various divisional offices. For instance, the Asia-Pacific office is now run from Sydney, Australia, instead of Chicago.
While U.S. and European markets are waning, the economies in other countries are booming, Frank notes. As a result, the Bible League plans to boost its development efforts outside the United States, where the church also tends to be thriving and there is real growth potential.
Spiritual at Its Root
When Tim Tiller came to Jewish Voice Ministries in 2010 after serving as president of Multi-Systems, Inc., a leading provider of technology to the hotel industry, his learning curve was steep. Immersing himself in a new industry that specialized in multimedia and fundraising posed challenging enough—but he also discovered other delicate, complex issues in a ministry setting.
Though working at Jewish Voice is a dream for Tiller, he is realistic about some of the hurdles.
“I realize that because I’m working for the Lord, the enemy would do anything he could to bring me or the ministry down,” he says.
Accordingly, Tiller has initiated spiritual warfare training for new staff. “I really see the enemy working double-time in ministry now,” he says. “We tell staff, ‘You’re joining a Jewish evangelistic ministry, and because of that, you are likely going to be under attack spiritually.’”
Indeed, there is something bigger at stake for those involved in nonprofit ministry, notes Tony Meggs, who served in management posts at American Express before heading up a health-care-sharing organization called Christian Care Ministry. “We carry the banner of Jesus Christ. Everything we do has to be worthy of that name,” he says. “Ministry needs credible, godly leadership—people who live their lives with integrity. If we really want to affect culture and win people … we need to present to them godly men and women who can lead and be people they can trust and follow.”
From his vantage point at Substance Church, Buss can quickly point out the similarities and differences between the church and corporate worlds. In business, he says, the focus is on the bottom line and making money. In a church, managing the money properly is important, “but your ultimate goal is the people and saving the lost.”
Davis echoes this point. “I have fiduciary responsibilities to fulfill [at High Point Church], but God is the one who brings in the people. It’s His kingdom.”
With God as the true leader of these churches and nonprofits, its stewards sometimes find themselves being led to unexpected pastures—especially in this downturn economy. For instance, Mount Paran launched a new campus in Canton, about 20 miles north of Marietta, in January 2012. The church held its first official service with a team of about 200 people and is “financially holding its own,” says Walker. “During such trying economic times, it sounds absolutely asinine to open a new campus, but we felt like it is what God wanted us to do.”
This type of ministry decision is perhaps where the “faith dynamic,” as Jackson calls it, comes into play. “God provides the resources when we don’t understand how we can possibly do it at all,” he says.
Ultimately, it takes a balance of faith and wisdom earned by experience. Frank, commenting on the challenge of working for a nonprofit, says there can be a tendency for people to lead with their hearts, not with their heads.
“You’ve got to do both,” he says. “You have to have passion for what you do, but the decisions you make at the top affect the health of the organization.”
And what lights up these leaders more than anything are the lives they see changed in the places they’re called to serve. Davis says the greatest joy of his job is seeing people walk down the aisle week after week, accepting the invitation to follow Jesus. “When they are standing at the altar with tears streaming down their face and you know they have really had an encounter with God,” he says, “it makes all of the other challenges and opportunities we face worth it.”
Source: CHARISMA NEWS.
Carol Chapman Stertzer is a Dallas-based journalist who has served at two local nonprofits over the past 16 years.
Religious media mogul Pat Robertson told his audience on Monday that miracles occur less frequently for Americans compared to Christians overseas in part because of an education system which produces sophisticated individuals who think they’ve got everything figured out.
When asked by a viewer on his popular “700 Club” show, “Why do amazing miracles (people raised from the dead, blind eyes open, lame people walking) happen with great frequency in places like Africa, and not here in the USA?” Robertson put the blame squarely on the nation’s education system.
“Those people overseas didn’t go to Ivy League schools,” said the 83-year-old former Southern Baptist minister and the chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network. “We’re so sophisticated. We think we’ve got everything figured out. We know about evolution, we know about Darwin, we know about all these things that says God isn’t real. We know about all this stuff.”
“In the more advanced schools, we’ve been inundated with skepticism and secularism,” he said. “And overseas they’re simple, humble. You tell them God loves them, and they say, ‘Okay, he loves me.’ You say, ‘God’ll do miracles’ and they say, ‘Okay, we believe him.’ That’s what God’s looking for. That’s why they have miracles.”
Despite Robertson’s suggestion that evolution is taught more freely in the U.S. than in other countries, Scientific American’s Katherine Harmon pointed out that evolutionary curricula has been taught for decades around the world.
Robertson has long been a critic of America’s public education system, which he argues promotes “liberal” ideals that in effect “indoctrinate” America’s youth and “force them into a mindset that is contrary to what their parents believe.”
“You see we believe in America, in freedom, in free choice, free enterprise, freedom; but the liberals, the progressives so-called, they want to enforce their point of view and have people in lockstep accepting what they want,” said Robertson.
In response to critics, the Chicago school system said the curriculum will be specialized to conform to each age group, with kindergartners through third-graders learning about their anatomy, reproduction in all living creatures, and appropriate and inappropriate touching.
Introduction: According to Forrest Gump‘s mama, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what your’re gonna get.” I say “Life is like football!” I am not the first to say “life is like football.” Southern humorist Lewis Grizzard put it this way, “The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.” The legendary coach, Vince Lombardi, expressed the same sentiment. “Football is like life, it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.” Coach Lombardi also said, “Football is not a contact sport, it’s a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.”
Ladies, you might prefer Erma Bombeck‘s observation on football. She said, “If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead.”
I played football in high school, believe it or not. That’s was back in the Middle Ages. I was a quarterback. I started out as a running back. I gave up on that after the first game. I was running a sweep around end when an opposing tackle grabbed my left leg. Another grabbed my left leg. The linebacker looked at me and said, “Make a wish!”
Of course, that’s not true. Football didn’t exist in the Middle Ages. American style football didn’t come into its own until about the time of the Civil War. It began as a variation on rugby and its cousin soccer among the Ivy League schools of the Northeast. If football had existed in bible times, Paul would probably have been a fan. I say that because his New Testament books contain many sports analogies. The primary sports of the day were running, boxing, and wrestling.
Listen to these illustrations from Paul: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26). “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Our text provides another example. To understand the passage requires understanding at least part of the sports analogy. Today I want to tackle the message of Philippians by translating Paul’s ancient picture into our more familiar football analogy. I will say it again. Life is like football in at least three ways. It’s not over ’til it’s over. You gotta know which way you’re headed. You gotta remember which team you’re on.
First, life is like football. It’s not over til it’s over. A good team doesn’t start celebrating until the game ends. Victory comes to the team who wants it the …
If you’ve recently been promoted, congratulations. It’s an honor to receive a promotion that puts you in a leadership role. But be wary: You carry a great deal of responsibility that can easily be taken away should you not live up to expectations. Not to set off alarm bells, but of people who have been promoted, a full 40 percent of them will fail within their first 18 months on the job. Most of the failure stems from a few key leadership mistakes that The Forum Corp.’s President and CEO Andrew Grahamoutlines:
1. Alienating your team. Graham says that you likely got your promotion by standing out from others, but now that role has changed. Rather than focusing on continuing to shine alone, you need to help your subordinates stand out. “If your subordinates or peers perceive that you care more about your interests than theirs, you will lose them. And once you lose them, you will lose, period,” he says.
2. Keeping the same mindset. You got where you are by being really good at a few key skills for the job. You can just about toss those out of the window if you want to be a good leader, because, as Graham says, your focus should now be on “high-value activities that deliver business results through the team.” It’s all too common for new managers to make the mistake of focusing on low-value activities (think: TPS reports) that don’t benefit the team and that are others’ responsibilities.
3. Not asking for help. You’re the leader now. That means you’re expected to know everything … doesn’t it? Not at all. Rather than being overconfident you can handle a situation you’ve never encountered before, the smart thing is to ask for input from others. “Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s the contrary,” stresses Graham. Understand that your team will respect you for saying you don’t know the answer to a question, but that you will make it a priority to find it.
4. Making all the decisions alone. Leaders should lead, not dictate. But many feel like the key to leading is taking on all the decisions on their own. Rather than being seen as a fine leader, you will be resented for leaving your employees out in the cold on a decision they felt entitled to weigh in on. Instead, involve other team members in your decision-making process so that you build a sense of community and democracy, not a dictatorship.
5. Ignoring transitions. You being promoted to manager or leader isn’t the only transition you need to deal with. While you’re settling into that corner office, your new team is adjusting to having a new person at the helm, and all the personal interplay that brings among co-workers. Not spending enough time making that transition smoother can set the course for how your team operates, and it might make things more difficult down the road.
6. Leaning too hard on book smarts. So you went to an Ivy League school. So what? All the fine education in the world can’t prepare you for cultivating your people-leadership skills, which account for 85 percent of a leader’s success, according to Graham. You can apply what you’ve learned in books, but the best leaders help their staff learn to solve problems themselves, and teaching that can’t be learned anywhere but on the job.
The first few months of taking on a leadership role are the most precarious. Begin to think like a leader and focus your actions around what is best for the team. Ask for feedback from your staff and your own boss so that you can quickly correct anything that could stand to be improved.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.