HP3C Group "Blogosphere"
HP3C Group "Blogosphere"
Preparation is the First Step to Success
I remember when coaches would always harp on “preparation.” Most of us would roll our eyes and just want to play ball. But these coaches were right when they insisted that “preparation IS the first step to success.” They were simply looking through their “sports world only lens” of what that first step entails. In that world, it’s watching opponents game films, more practice time, more conditioning.
For believers in Christ, in our preparation, the first step always must be prayer. Seeking God’s wisdom in all things. As James 1:5 says, “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Prayer is the best preparation, period. I’ve seen amazing things happen through the power of prayer. I bet you have, too. So, why would we begin any endeavor without prayer? Make it a point, a habit to begin everything with prayer. Consider these quotes by E.M. Bounds (1835-1913) on prayer, “God shapes the world by prayer” and “Prayer puts God in the matter with commanding force.”
I truly want God to “be in the matter with commanding force” in every area I wish to succeed.
Now, the first step to success is in your hands, and God is listening.
Podcast Interviewer Pastor Bob Brubaker and Howard Parker discuss cycling, "Man Up & Go" and a bit about church consulting. Please give a listen to Bob Brubaker's website at https://bobbrubaker.com/podcast/061-interview-with-howard-parker-church-consultant-and-cyclist/
Unnecessary Wastes- From Decisions Made In Haste
Last month’s blog was entitled, “Becoming a Proverbs 3:5 Decision Maker” and in this blog I wrote a statement, “Decisions made in haste, lead to unnecessary waste”. My declaration was a plea to avoid any hasty decisions, period. So, this month I continue with identifying the “unnecessary wastes” that result when Proverbs 3:5 decision-making principles are not considered in the decision matrix.
These unnecessary waste show themselves primarily in 3 ways:
1) Erosion in Leadership Trust
Trust is earned over a long period of time but can erode all too quickly. When leaders do not involve their teams in ongoing, healthy decision-making processes, they lose the trust of their subordinates. How does this happen? First, the staff realizes their input is not valued or wanted. Subordinates quickly realize any attempt at speaking into decisions, is simply “noise” to the leader(s), a distraction from the leaders’ agenda. Healthy, honest conflict amongst staff and leadership is not encouraged and even frowned upon. Staff members then emotionally “check-out” of all meetings, citing they are a waste of their time. The end result, the staff loses trust in the leader, as every decision the leader makes is seen as political and selfish, rather than for the good of the organization.
2) Poor Organizational Stewardship
Erosion in leadership trust cascades into poor stewardship developing in two main areas: 1) Unproductive meetings- as mentioned above, all staff meeting become politically motivated charades, with leaders pushing their agendas, rather than seeking staff input and discussions, then ultimately making the best decision for the organization. 2) Groupthink (the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility)- evolves quickly, because staff realizes the quickest way to end these unproductive meetings is to “keep their mouth shut and heads down” and agree with everything. This is a disastrous path, as an organization that discourages creativity and responsibility is doomed into a never-ending cycle of bad decisions that waste the organization's financial resources. Poor organizational stewardship leads the organization into irrelevance.
3) A Fragmented Organization
Erosion in leadership trust combined with poor stewardship is a treacherous duo. This duplicitous duo morphs the organization from health to sickness. The organization changes from stability to instability. Staff work only for a paycheck and not for the benefit of the organizations’ mission. In this fragmented organization, staff most likely do not fully understand the organizations’ mission (nor do they care) and will not be able to articulate the mission if asked. Fragmented organizations literally don’t know how to put the broken pieces back together. Fractured organizations do not have the tools or expertise to eradicate the departmental silos that have been created. So, they aimlessly operate in a deadly environment of groupthink (mentioned above), erroneously believing busyness is the same as productivity, and where new or creative solutions to health are nowhere to be found. And with no new healthy ideas, fragmented organizations are doomed to move from irrelevance to death.
HP3C Group would love to serve your team, helping you move from “surviving to thriving”. We also know, “ministry success means everything”, and view all our guidance and feedback through this axiom, as well as utilizing Proverbs 3:5 decision-making principles in all we do. Please let us know how we can help you. Email [email protected]
Becoming a Proverbs 3:5 Decision Maker
How many times have you made a hasty decision only to later regret that quick decision? We all have made them. Even the decisions that seem simple, the “no-brainer” type can have dire consequences if we make them too quickly.
Proverbs 16:25 warns us, “There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way to death.” Now, I understand this is an extremely stern warning from God and not every poor decision we make (thankfully) will lead to death!
Conversely, consider Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.” Making correct, wise, and God-honoring decisions, large or small begins with these three critically important components within the decision-making process:
- Trust in the Lord
- With all your heart
- Do not rely on your own understanding
When leaders begin with Proverbs 3:5 (rather than Proverbs 16:25), they are well on their way to making the best decisions possible. Integrating these three components in your decision process (Trust the Lord, with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding), also adds discernment into the decision matrix, which inevitably slows the decision process down. By adding Proverbs 3:5 into your decision process, you will learn to recognize and circumvent the costly, time-consuming mistakes and wasted resources that come with hasty decisions. You will avoid, “Decisions made in haste, lead to unnecessary waste”.
So, slow down your decision process. Trust the Lord and bathe the decision process in prayer, asking God for wisdom, then pray some more. Dig deeply into God’s Word, studying it daily. With all your heart determine that His guidance is best, and resolve His answer will be the answer you will act upon. You must put your biases aside.
Do not rely on your own understanding, but His, and seek wise godly counsel from truthful advisors ensuring you are not relying on your own understanding, but you are relying on God. I would suggest most leaders do not have sufficient accountability in their lives. Leaders must avail themselves to a few who are willing to speak truthfully to the leader, even when it’s counter and possibly painful to the leader’s current thinking. No sycophants allowed, just a lot of leadership humility.
Keeping Proverbs 3:5 at the forefront of your decision-making process, you shift from using your human wisdom, to seeking and relying on God’s wisdom. God’s wisdom must become our guide, leading us through every decision making process.
Proverbs 3:5 concludes in Proverbs 3:6, “think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” Paths plural, not just one path, but when you become a Proverbs 3:5 decision-maker, He will guide you on all your paths.
HP3C Group can help you and your staff “slow down” and become Proverbs 3:5 decision-makers. We walk with you and pray with you through this process. Becoming a Proverbs 3:5 leader will improve the way you and your staff make decisions.
HP3C Group serves the local church in areas of assessing church staff health, current church health, and church revitalization consultations. I like to say we help the local church move from “surviving to thriving”.
A Few Beneficial “Steps” The Local Church Can Take For Its Community
God has placed your church in its location for a purpose. In fact, God has put your church at the epicenter of opportunity. Opportunities large and small surround your church. And the exciting news is, God has provided your church with uniquely gifted people with the abilities to transform these opportunities into ministry solutions, into blessings and needed help for the surrounding community. Are you ready? Is your church willing?
The old Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a million miles begins with one short step.” So, below are a “few short steps” to help your church begin the journey into transforming your local community:
Short step #1- Understanding the needs of the community you serve
This sounds like a “Duh” statement, and it really is, but you must be willing to go into your community, have your key leaders meet with key community leaders and let them know you are a resource to them! The old adage, “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”, really applies here. We are mandated to “love one another” (1 John 3:11) and to “serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10). I’ve seen churches that understand the community needs become a partner with local schools, law enforcement, food pantries, and one church I know of has turned part of its facility into a laundromat, open once a week.
Short step #2- Be prepared to cooperate with your community leaders to provide solutions for its needs (1 John 3:18)
Often, the community needs will be different than you would anticipate, but that’s the beauty of step #1. Once you understand the true needs of the community and not what you think the needs are, your “small steps” become strides of change that allow “love with truth and actions” to take place. Then, it’s not just ministry busyness taking place, it’s compelling, life-changing ministry taking hold within the community. And this is the most beautiful change.
Short step #3- Pray constantly for your community and the challenges it faces (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)
And I am saying CONSTANTLY pray for your community! Not just on Sunday, not only at official prayer meetings, but constantly. You must develop a mindset, with every member of your congregation, for constant prayer about your community. If you want lasting change, you must have a powerful, lasting prayer ministry! C.H. Spurgeon called prayer, “the engine room of the church”. Think about that statement. How big an engine does your church have? Need more cylinders for your engine, then invite people to come to their knees at the throne of grace and PRAY! (Hebrews 4:16). You’ll experience a change in your community that only God can perform! And to Him be the glory!
So, I will close in prayer, and leave you with these wonderful passages from Ephesians 3:14-21,
For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
After you take these “short-steps”, I know there will be some additional “bigger-steps” to take, but that’s a different story for another (blog) day.
Church Consultations, Really?
Would you ever say, “primary care physician, really?” Some may, but not the ones who value their health and well-being. So, to your question, “church consultations, really!?”, the answer should be, “most definitely, yes!” Just as you should see your primary care physicians once a year, you should have a church consultation once a year. Churches are organisms that change, age, have health concerns and in some cases die. Church consultations help you stay healthy, they also help you avoid the painful, unhealthy changes that occur over time. Church consultants know where to look, the questions to ask, and will provide appropriate solutions for health. Church consultants will provide the following benefits to you and your team:
- Help you lead from your strengths
- Assist you in identifying and improving your weaknesses
- Examine all ministry areas for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats
- Provide you with honest feedback, analysis, and actionable solutions based on our findings
- We will continually pray with you and for you through this process
Now, you really have to love these benefits! They are an integral part of a long-term process to health for your church. Want to know more? Call us and we’ll sit down with you, discuss how we can help get your church on the road to health, and of course bring our “ministry stethoscope”!