Monday, January 19, 2009

Ice collecting

Our youngest daughter, Emma, has recently started collecting icicles and other sorts of ice. She especially likes to find ice with bubbles in it. She understands that the ice won't last, but still likes it.

I began to think about the fact that all of us are collectors of one kind or another. Some collect money or stuff, others relationships, and still others collect accolades or recognition. Many ministers "collect" church members, church facilities, offerings or speaking engagements. Some even collect "miracles" or new converts.

We all have things that we value. And that's not a bad thing, as long as our priorities and our value system are based on the right things. But we can't allow our "collections" to determine our value. So many people consider themselves either a success or failure based on the size of their "collections."

If we allow ourselves to fall into this trap, we are setting ourselves up for failure. This will lead to weak leadership, at best, and in the worst-case scenario, compromise.

We need to remember that we are accepted and complete through our relationship with Christ (Col. 2:10). It is this connection that gives us true value. As a matter of fact, one of the best things spiritual leaders can do is to develop this relationship, and develop a deeper understanding of this relationship. I encourage you to take some time this week to ask God to reveal the wonders of this relationship to you.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Job descriptions (part 3)

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There is a big difference between a job description and a policy. My mentor says it’s always easier to create policy than to deal with a person directly. Policies are simply rules. They enable us to set clear-cut boundaries, but they don’t encourage ownership or thought. Rules only require obedience.

Job descriptions, however, deal with things that are expected of our volunteers or employees. They establish boundaries, and enable us to evaluate a person’s performance against a set of clear expectations. They should also encourage initiative. They should empower people to do more than just cross off one more thing from their “To do list.”

Policy says, “Answer the phone like this: ‘Thank you for calling Perrin Ministries. How may I help you?’”

A job description goes more like this: “We expect our volunteers/employees to handle all of our customers respectfully, to have a positive, can-do attitude and a pleasant demeanor.” This encourages the volunteer/employee to be creative in their implementation of the expectation.
Sometimes it is necessary to create policy – especially the case of a recurring problem. This shows a lack of clear communication on our part. But this should be the exception, not the rule.

Job descriptions (part 2)

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Job descriptions enable us to share our expectations with those we lead. And we are able to do this in a way that is non-threatening. We are simply letting the employee know what we expect from them, and setting boundaries.

And when they fail to meet the agreed-upon expectations, it gives us a legitimate way to bring confrontation or correction, if necessary. We can bring them back to the job description and show them how they didn’t meet the necessary expectations. And we can do so in a respectful, relational way.

We need to remember the goal of confrontation: the restoration of relationship. When one team member fails to accomplish a necessary task, the entire team suffers. This creates stress and strain on working and interpersonal relationships. Confrontation, when done correctly, allows us to restore these relationships to more than just a functional level.

Job descriptions (part 1)

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While I was at a conference today, I had an interesting conversation with a lady about her company. She owns a music school and has recently started having to hire employees. She doesn’t have much experience with people management, so she asked me a few questions. One of them had to do with how close she should be to her employees.

She is a people person so, naturally, she enjoys relationship building. And she has an employee that has used that as an excuse to not respect her as the boss. It’s not that the employee is evil… it’s just that this other person didn’t follow through on an assigned task and it left the owner looking unprepared, and very frustrated.

When she asked me what she could do, I encouraged her to spell out her expectations for each employee and position – basically, I encouraged her to come up with job descriptions for each employee.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Today we took the kids across the border to France for a grocery shopping/day trip.  While I packed the bags of groceries into the van (lots of American and American-ish stuff), Emma was amazed at how cool the snowflakes looked on the window.  It was still cold, so they hadn't melted off yet.  And each one looked so perfect!

It got me thinking about God's creativityEvery snowflake is different (and there were a bunch of them falling today).  How strange that God would "waste" His creativity on something as insignificant as snowflakes.  Yet He does it with a flair!

We are also unique... each of us has unique fingerprints & retinas -- even in the case of biological twins -- and DNA!  Not only are you different from every other person alive (nearly 7 billion people), you are different from every other person ever to walk the face of this planet.  God made you special!  He created you on purpose, for a purpose!

Not only do we each have a unique purpose, but we also have a unique way in which we connect with God.  Of course, there are the normal ways: praise & worship, Bible reading, prayer, solitude, etc.  But since we're one-of-a-kind creations, we are to have a one-of-a-kind relationship with God.  I encourage you to spend some time this week asking God to reveal your uniqueness to you... and how He has designed your one-of-a-kind relationship with Him to be.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's resolutions and the quick fix

We've added an article about New Year's resolutions and quick fixes to our website. Here's a teaser:

“Should old acquaintance be forgot, la la, la la la la…”(No one really knows the words to Auld Lang Syne anyway!) It’s that time of year again. Time to make the old New Year’s Resolutions. I wonder if I can remember last year’s resolutions… hmmm… Oh yeah: “Spend more time with my family”. Well, I did pretty good on that one. What about “Lose some weight”? Not so good… I gained a few pounds. What else? Uhhh… let’s see… umm… err… OK, I admit it: I can’t even remember most of them!

The point is this: we often make these resolutions quite flippantly. It’s not as if we don’t mean them when we make them. It’s just that we lack the follow through to complete them...

You can read the entire article by clicking here.