Monday, October 31, 2011
A photo showing Yvgenie in our Russian Ministry coaching a member of the Moscow Lay Counseling Group. It has great outcomes with lives changed.
The USA economy is not so good so many of the philanthropists who support social action and good works are not giving as much as they did during the great times. Not only that, the various government agencies that support poor people, homeless people and troubled kids through nonprofits are out of money. What is going to happen to all those programs?
Karen and I are in Chicago attending the Annual Conference of the Social Enterprise Association. It's goal is to help nonprofits learn how to develop other streams of income through using business principles and ideas. For example, today I heard the President of Kaboom tell how he took a young nonprofit with zero assets and currently has an annual income of 26 million dollars by working with corporations who pay Kaboom to build top notch play grounds.
The SEA is also committed to helping profit businesses develop a larger, social, spiritual mission and use their resources to impact the lives of their workers and community. We saw many different kinds of for profit groups that are transitioning into this kind of hybrid organization. The SEA is having a very positive impact on our nation.
I was given a free scholarship to attend the conference and I am very appreciative of their gracious offer. I am meeting a lot of outstanding men and women who are highly committed to serve others and want to do it with good outcomes. One of the speakers today said the reason he was so successful was his attention to details and to outcomes.
One of the greatest things that ever happened to me professionally was learning about outcome research. In much of my college education, especially the graduate school years, I heard little to nothing about outcome research. The emphasis back then was on making sure the theory we chose was the right one. It was almost like seminary. Choosing an orthodox theory or theology is critically important to a seminary student. A Baptist needed to make sure he understood why being dunked was critically important but for a Presbyterian, believing in immersion not sprinkling would likely end his career.
I currently hold a very different view about the care and cure of souls than I did back then. I was urged to choose between and among several orthodox counseling theories. Was I a follower of Freud, Jung, Rogers or Ellis? I was way too young and inexperienced to know what to do. And, as a Christian, I was confused about how any of them fit into my faith commitment.
After some years I heard about making sure whatever theory I used helped people get better not worse. That means we had to look at the actual outcomes of our work not just our ideas about what worked. For example, one of the most popular theories in graduate school was based on how psychologists could train rats, monkeys and chickens to behave as we wished by responding to a certain set of behaviors with a reward. Many counselors were ecstatic. They thought, "At long last, we know how to control people." However, this method works to only a very limited activities in humans so the actual outcomes are not a great as the theory would suggest.
The same is true in social action. We have thousands of well meaning and passionate people setting up nonprofit groups trying to help the poor, disenfranchised and victimized. Unfortunately, many of these groups and their caring leaders have almost no examples of people successfully helped by their efforts. What shall we do? Look hard for great outcomes.
This kind of thinking is music to my ears because I have been trained to use only the kind of interventions that we are sure will produce great results. The way we discover that is two fold: 1. We do careful literature research on what others have done that has really helped our target population. 2. We do research with our own target population and see if they are living better, more successful lives as a result of our interventions.
Groups that are NOT producing better outcomes need to be close and the money they raise given to groups that are getting great results.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
The Wisest Long Term Investments of
Carl H. Lindner, Jr. By Paula Bussard
The news first reported Carl Lindner was rushed to the hospital on October 17, with labored breathing caused by ‘heart problems’. All of the tributes documenting his passing from this life to the next have revealed the media was incorrect. The heart and life of this Christian, husband, father, and businessman were sharply aligned with eternal priorities and principled living resulting in open hands offering generosity beyond measure.
We’ve heard much about what our city has gained through the generosity of Mr. Lindner, but the Church of Cincinnati, the combined ministries and local churches, has gained even more. And God has kept a running tab in the heavenlies tracking the vast investment Carl Lindner made in that which has eternal value.
The church of 65 we pastor in Colerain Township received an unexpected gift of $15,000 in 2006 from Mr. Lindner. He had heard of our vision to reach and help the homeless and less fortunate. That timely gift gave us the hope to carry on…and touch….and hug many more hearts.
As expressed by his own sons, Mr. Lindner was totally devoted to his wife, sons, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I served on the Grand Opening committee for Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy and watched as he beamed with a grandfather’s pride at the dedication ceremonies. I’m convinced his keen interest in building a top-rated, blue ribbon school nestled in Cincinnati’s seven hills was so his family, and scores of others, could benefit from the outstanding education.
His business acumen put him heads above most others his heart for blessing others had an even greater impact. I had the honor of living in Norwood during my junior and senior high school years. We were required to live within the city limits because my mother was one of the two public health nurses. As part of her job, she visited the UDF dairy farms and stores. She would often talk about them on evenings after a visit and always expressed such a deep respect for the family. Mr. Lindner, well known for honoring his employees, treated us and the other health department staff to a boat ride on his personal craft each summer. As a young girl, I remember that special “Princess For A Day” feeling.
Based on my mother’s wise counsel, I applied for my first job at UDF. As a senior in high school, I worked at the UDF Plant Store across the street from the main offices. This opportunity provided for me many life long lessons in the practice of fair and ethical business principles. Bob Lindner would come in from time to time and was always so friendly and unassuming. So much so, it took several of his visits for me to figure out that the kind gentleman with the warm smile was THE Mr. Lindner.
Now, the Carl H. Lindner, Jr. baton is passed to us, the recipients of all he taught by his example. What is the return on his investment in our lives? May each individual, business, and organization that received the benefits of his work, understand that God used Carl to set up a ‘trust fund’ in our lives. May we continue to be wise with our use and distribution of those funds, and grow that seed money into a forest of testimonies that will multiply those investments in our community.
Clearly, Carl Lindner learned and practiced the verse found in Matthew 6:19, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Now, may the media stand corrected. His heart caused him no trouble at all. It was his greatest asset. If we think he was wealthy while here in Cincinnati, just imagine his net worth now!
Open Door International Schools
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Two Billionaires Die; Which Impacted Us More?
One of the billionaires had a deep father wound and rejected his dad by refusing to even acknowledge his existence.
The other honored his father and did everything he could to affirm his parents.
One of them rebelled against his heavenly father and turned to a belief in karma, salvation by self-effort; the other honored God and served Him faithfully and gladly with hope and understanding of His grace.
One Man lived to less than 60 years while the other lived to age 92
One man fought against medical care and held on stubbornly to the notion he could heal himself the other not only sought medical assistance but funded hospitals and clinics for everyone’s benefit and whose name is on numerous buildings, parks and good works.
One man rarely supported charities with his time, money and name but the other is famous for funding and supporting charities large and small of all religious and ethnic backgrounds.
One man was hard to deal with or work for and aggressively attacked people he disliked and disagreed with religiously while the other was a hard headed business man that eagerly sought cooperation with people of all religions and treated employees as members of the family.
Can you think of other major differences between these two men?
Thursday, October 13, 2011
How would you describe a successful Christian leader? Take a look a the list below and choose the ones you think are indicative of a successful Minister.
Number of people he/she won to Christ
Number of people in his/her following/church
Size of his/her ban account
Popularity of hits on Google
Number of persons trained to minister
Knowledge of the scripture
Recognition by secular media
Read these and rank them according to their Spiritual Success before you read the enclosed story.
The most powerful preacher in the 1800’s had a voice strong enough for 20,000 people to hear without amplification. He was heard by almost one third of the total population of the United States during the time of the Founding Fathers. Yet, few now know his name and his current influence is negligible. One of the great preacher’s contemporaries was a man whose legacy is well known worldwide. His preaching was good but not great and he felt like a failure after hearing the great preacher speak. What was the difference?
The man who changed Christianity did more than preach. He also built systems or wine skins that included personal skills, mutual confession, accountable and supportive. They had relationships that were Transformational. The groups were not dependent upon one gifted “personality” but a team of lay leaders. The classes, groups and structure influenced every dimension of a person’s being; mind, will, emotions, relationships and spirit. They built resiliency, maturity and healthy lifestyles.
George Whitfield’s powerful voice and gifts as a speaker may have been a curse rather than a blessing. He spoke persuasively and God blessed the masses for a moment. Unfortunately, it did little to transform the churches or the nation. His legacy is negligible. Had we been alive during his time we would have probably voted him the best preacher in the English-speaking world. We do love big stars.
John Wesley, on the other hand, was convinced that he had to train and equip believers to do the work of the ministry. He wrote training manuals and he established practical training groups he called “classes”. He was a fervent preacher who spoke with fire but also designed fireplaces into which the embers were placed for ongoing usefulness. He developed workable “methods” that made a difference in people’s lives. Wesley built individuals and groups that met and practiced spiritual disciplines each week. He demanded and received practical, skill based relationships. His methods changed England and continue to change to the world. His new name: Methodist.
Whitfield has been forgotten but Wesley is famous as the founding genius of Methodists, Salvation Army, The Nazarene Church, small groups, lay education, Alcoholics Anonymous, outreach to the poor, etc. His legacy is enormous and will continue for many years. Whitfield is gone and almost forgotten for he did not write, train or build systems. Mr Wesley continues to move the world through the systems he introduced.
A transformational system must include ongoing relationships and the development of habitual healthy patterns, rituals, activities, interactions books and training materials. Go to the Sweeten Life VIP Family Care web for materials.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
In the Reveal Study from Willow Creek, the authors emphasize the need to model and equip the people in the first four groups. However, they never mention, to my knowledge, any group of Equippers and how they got to be Equippers. How does that work?
This cartoon shows how many churches equip. No
wonder so many Pastors are burned out.
See Sweeten Life for other ways to do equipping.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Usually the people who talk about Counseling focus on the different types of interventions practiced and whether they work or not. In reality, the most important things that a good Counselor does is not talk but listen.
Go to Life Way Centers for help with your issues individually or in the family.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Steve Jobs: Rest in Peace. Above all, he communicated his brilliant concepts to millions of people, brilliantly.
So much is now being said about Steve Jobs brilliance – and deservedly so. He was one of a kind. Here is the acknowledged leader and innovator in the world of computers, media, music and business – and yet on the side he built Pixar into the best animation studio in the world and became Disney’s largest stockholder. Amazing.
But what strikes me most about Steve Jobs is that he had no peer in inspiring and motivating others. Not just his employees, not just his customers, but the world. Because of his communicating ability he became a rock star. I remember when I got up at 5AM to go to Moscone Center in San Francisco to hear him announce the iPhone, and I was too late – the line was already three blocks long. Who could have ever predicted that an executive who really is just making a product announcement would be able to command such attention. Amazing.
He was unparalleled. We had him on our Top Ten Best Communicators list several times – and actually he could have been #1 every year but that would have been boring.
He was never boring. He brought us so much. He is a worthy model to emulate. He will be so missed.
I want to add some things. Mr. Jobs surrounded himself with brilliant people. He was not afraid of working with men and women who were exceedingly smart and creative. He also trained great employees. IMO, these are keys to success in the Christian world. as well as the Commercial world.