Andy Stanley, in Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision (a fantastic book, by the way):
If God has birthed a vision in your heart, the day will come when you will be called upon to make a sacrifice to achieve it. And you will have to make the sacrifice with no guarantee of success.
I talk to people all the time who have what seem to be “God ideas” but who are unwilling to commit with both hands and feet. The conversation often begins with, “If I had a million dollars.”
A well-meaning lady once said to me, “You know, I am so burdened by the problems in the inner city. If I had a million dollars, I would love to go down there and start a school for underprivileged kids.”
As sensitively as I knew how, I said, “I know people with far less than you have now who have started schools for inner-city kids. You don’t need a million dollars to start a school.” What she needed was the courage to act on her vision.
The difference between those with a burden for inner-city kids and those who actually do something is not resources. It is a willingness to take risks and make sacrifices. The people who make a difference in this world commit to what could be before they know where the money is coming from. Their vision is enough to cause them to jump in. Money usually follows vision. It rarely happens the other way around. Consequently, vision always involves sacrifice and risk-taking.
My post today at the Global Leadership Summit blog.
And here’s Justin Taylor’s helpful post on John Stott and his life.
In my article “Management in Light of the Supremacy of God,” I place significant emphasis on how the core of great management involves extending people’s autonomy rather than exercising detailed control over people.
One reader recently asked: “How does this relate to the reality of sin? How should the doctrine of sin and the fallen human heart affect our understanding of management?”
That’s a great question. I typed up a very quick response. Here’s what I said:
Glad you enjoyed the article, and thanks for your question.
Briefly, I’d say the reality of sin is addressed by the “accountability for results” component. We should maximize people’s freedom, but this is freedom within a framework. The framework is not only necessary because of sin — people are served by helpful structures and systems in themselves. But this also is one of the ways sin is kept in check as well.
A couple other thoughts. The emphasis on expanding freedom also takes into account the reality of sin, because as Paul teaches, the law actually makes sin increase. He is talking broadly there about God’s law and the human heart in general, but it does have an application to management: creating detailed rules is more likely to stir up sin in employee’s hearts than control sin. There is a place for rules, and sometimes even pretty strict ones (for example: in relation to financial reporting), but when there isn’t someone’s life at stake (airplane checklists, for example) or laws/ethical realities, the disposition should be to allow people freedom to identify their own way to accomplish the outcomes.
Another issue is: what are the specific sins of most people in the workplace? While all people are sinners, I don’t think that, for most people, their sin manifests itself as laziness and unwillingness to work. I think most people want to do good work and seek increased responsibility. Much sin in the workplace falls in the realm of motives and such things as that — a lot of which is outside the purview of management. So giving people freedom within a healthy overall framework will typically not be abused because of sin; and when it is abused by a few, it doesn’t serve the organization to punish everyone for a few bad apples.
One last thought: We also need to think of the sins of management. Sometimes people think “let’s tightly control people, because they are sinners,” not realizing that the managers themselves who are the ones to exercise this “tight control” are also sinners. So a tightly controlled approach as a response to sin runs into its own problems. Freedom within a healthy framework takes account of sin in the best way, in my view, because most people will excel when given the chance and since this also minimizes the opportunity for management to sin by overly controlling their people and viewing them mainly as means.
Isn’t it amazing that God uses our mouths as a means of building up his church? And when the church is strengthened, its influence can spread outward into the lives of others. I think of Paul as he reminds Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God” (1 Tim. 1:6). What a cool metaphor to mediate on. I picture you and me sitting down by a campfire and the fire seems to be burning out. I take a stick and simply move the wood around and perhaps put another log on top. In just a few moments, the fire begins to burn brightly again spreading so rapidly that we have to push our chairs back because of the heat and flames. That’s what our words can do for others. They can stoke the fire of the Holy Spirit and his gifts within us to burn more brightly so that all can see his glory.
So here’s the challenge. When you witness the display of God’s grace and gifting in someone’s life, tell them. Point it out to them. Encourage them. And be specific. You never know how God could use your words as a way of stoking the fire of someone’s life to make a significant impact for Christ’s kingdom.
This is a guest post by Dan Cruver, director of Together for Adoption.
Want to learn more about missional living and our call as Christians to care for orphans in their distress?
Last year over 1,000 gathered together in Austin, TX to consider The Gospel, the Church, and the Global Orphan Crisis. Join us this October 21-22 at Redemption Church (Gilbert Campus) in Phoenix for Together for Adoption (T4A) Conference 2011 as we explore the theme Missional Living, the Gospel and Orphan Care.
As written in Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father, “To live missionally means to live each waking moment in light of the gospel so that it increasingly affects every part of our lives for the glory of God’s grace in our fallen world” (p 17). James 1:27 tells us that the practice of true religion necessarily involves caring for orphans in their distress. Therefore, to live missionally means that the Gospel is increasingly moving and empowering us to care for those who live on the razor-sharp edge of our world’s brokenness. Whether we are conscious of it or not, the Gospel is at the center of missional living and the evangelical orphan care movement.
General session speakers include: Darrin Patrick, Tullian Tchividjian, Tim Chester, Bryan Loritts, Juan Sanchez, and Jeff Vanderstelt
Worship Leaders: Shaun Groves, Aaron Ivey, and Jimmy McNeal
General Session Hosts: Shaun Groves and Johnny Carr (National Director of Church Partnerships at Bethany Christian Services)
Save $30 by registering this week for Together for Adoption’s October 21-22 orphan care/adoption conference (read full-details here). You may now register for just $75 today, July 26th, through Saturday, July 30th. This limited-time discount is over $30 less than our current early bird special. Take advantage of this super early bird price and help us spread the word about it this week. This sale ends on Saturday, July 30th at 11:59pm. Register here for this super early bird rate.
Note: If you are coming with a group from your church, this would be the perfect opportunity for your group’s members to register.
An important observation by Jim Collins in How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In:
During its darkest days, Xerox faced the very real threat of bankruptcy, yet Mulcahy rebuffed with steely silence her advisors’ repeated suggestions that she consider Chapter 11. She also held fast against a torrent of advice from outsiders to cut R&D to save the company, noting that a return to greatness depended on both tough cost cutting and long-term investment, and actually increased R&D as a percentage of sales during the darkest days.
“For me, this was all about having a company that people could retire from, having a company that their kids could come and work at, having a company that actually would have pride some day in terms of its accomplishments.”
And it worked:
For 2000 and 2001, Xerox posted a total of nearly $367 million in losses. By 2006, Xerox posted profits in excess of $1 billion and sported a much stronger balance sheet. And in 2008, Chief Executive magazine selected Mulcahy as chief executive of the year. At the time of this writing in 2008, Xerox’s transition had been going strong for seven years — no guarantee, of course, that Xerox will continue to climb, but an impressive recovery from the early 2000s.
The lesson, for organizations and life, is not to cease expenditures for growth during challenging times. This can seem appealing, but it backfires. People who are only mindful of costs don’t do many things to write home about.
How the Gospel Should Shape Your Web Strategy, Not Just Your Web Content – My Message at the Christian Web Conference
Here’s the message I gave at the Christian Web Conference on “How the Gospel Should Shape Your Web Strategy — Not Just Your Web Content”:
Here are some of the things I talk about:
- A few words on my upcoming book, and how technology and productivity practices exist to amplify our ability to do good.
- What usability is.
- Why there is a biblical case for making our websites (and everything else we do!) usable and helpful to people.
- The process we went through creating the major redesign of the Desiring God website of 2006 on the basis of sound usability principles.
- Some of the (perhaps unorthodox!) extreme productivity measures involved the including 90 hour weeks and three all-nighters in a row.
- On the necessity of avoiding the self-protective mindset in organizations in order to keep the user and people you serve first.
- How it is Christian to make websites usable and doing good workmanship in general.
- Reducing friction so ideas can spread.
- 5 principles for making websites usable.
- A few words on why ministries should post everything online for free.
- And other stuff!
From the DG blog:
What is righteousness? Should churches be involved in social issues? How does one practice law to the glory of God? At an event on June 12 hosted by the Alliance Defense Fund, Pastor John spoke with with a group of law students about these important issues:
[Update: I had to remove the video due to problems in having it embed correctly; to see the video, click through to DG.]
Time markers for the questions:
18:25 — Would you agree with the definition that “righteousness seeks the good of the community?” How do you define righteousness?
23:57 — How do developing countries counter the prosperity gospel?
27:46 — How can we maintain our zeal for God’s glory throughout our work?
36:20 — Should churches be involved in social issues, or individual Christians?
41:07 — What is the method of discerning whether an institution is a result of hallowing God’s name?