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What do missionaries need?

November 11, 2011 2 comments

In a recent meeting, we led a discussion on the needs of missionaries and asked the following question.  Thinking about missionaries from the time of recruitment to the period of retirement, what do they need in order to survive and thrive?  Following a brainstorming session in small groups, we compiled a list and then asked the small groups to identify what basic category (that we had pre-selected) each need had fallen into.

Since this is a work-in-progress, I would appreciate if others out there could add to the list.

Physical

  • Mission agency
  • Schooling options and TCK care
  • Review
  • Welcome back
  • House
  • Admin
  • Vacation
  • Money and supporters
  • Medical care
  • Communication
  • IT and Technology
  • Accountability
  • Communication
  • Immigration
  • Centers
  • Retirement plan
  • Accountability

Emotional/Psychological

  • Appreciation
  • Encouragement
  • Adequate sleep and rest
  • Flexibility/resilience/adaptability
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Forgiving
  • Respect
  • Vacations
  • Ownership of Vision/Mission/Values
  • Recreation
  • Adaptability
  • Debrief and listening
  • Resiliency
  • Appropriate organizational exit

Social

  • Visits
  • Good relationships
  • Flexibility
  • Partners
  • Friendships
  • Laughter
  • Family support
  • Peace makers
  • Conference
  • Team
  • Community

Mental/Intellectual/Professional

  • Sense of competency
  • Sense of empowerment
  • Direction
  • Challenges with support
  • Cultural advice
  • Good examples and mentors
  • Vision
  • Ongoing training
  • Godly effective leaders
  • Permission to take initiative
  • Member development
  • Daniel learning
  • Clear expectations
  • Meaningful work
  • Coaching
  • Studies and training
  • Accountability
  • Good communication
  • Contingency plans
  • Monthly Information Sheet

Spiritual

  • Identity security: A strong sense of who they are in Christ
  • Deep relationship with God
  • Prayer
  • Faith in God
  • Strong sense of call
  • God’s word
  • Discipline
  • Discipleship

The problem of narcissistic worship leaders

September 19, 2011 2 comments

I am always amazed at what topics keep popping up in my blog.  Here is yet another one on narcissism!

According to McIntosh and Rima, Narcissism is one of the five dark sides that can surface in leaders.  For the others, read my post here on the dark sides of leaders.  Does involvement with Facebook help or hurt this narcissistic tendency?

Alexander Nels Elofson from AoM

Found a fascinating article by Corey Seibel, “It’s All About Me, Jesus: The Narcissistic Worship Leader”  All of us have some narcissistic tendencies but Seibel provides us with traits of those with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).  He says those with NDP have five or more of the following:

  • Have a grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love
  • Believe they are “special”
  • Require excessive admiration
  • Have a sense of entitlement
  • Are interpersonally exploitative
  • Lack empathy
  • Are often envious of others or believe others are envious of them
  • Show arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Anytime a church leader is narcissistic is a problem but Seibel explains how the problem is magnified when the worship leader is the narcissist:

  • First, authentic worship focuses upon the person, attributes, and work of God. However, narcissistic worship leaders see corporate worship as an opportunity to display their grandiosity,
  • Second, authentic worship gatherings encourage participants to examine themselves and offer them the assurance of grace. Narcissists, however, tend to lack the capacity for introspection and thus commonly possess little self-awareness.1
  • Third, authentic worship invites participants to respond to God’s gracious activity with praise, thanksgiving, and surrender. However, because of their lack of awareness of grace, narcissists tend to be plagued by “an incapability for gratitude.”

The Kiss by Alberto Ruggieri at Corbis

Seibel then explains why it is so hard to work with a narcissistic worship leader:

  • First, worship leaders commonly work cooperatively with other members of the church’s leadership toward the achievement of a larger vision. However, narcissists do not see themselves as just members of the team. Their vision centers in the pursuit of a personal legacy of great achievement.
  • Second, the development of healthy worship teams is crucial to contemporary worship ministry. However, an inability to trust others seriously distorts the narcissist’s ability to contribute to the formation of healthy worship teams. The narcissistic worship leader will demand the undivided devotion of team members.
  • Third, worship leaders should contribute to the building up of the body by encouraging others to develop their gifts, talents, and leadership capacity. However, the excessive investment that narcissists make in themselves prevents them from investing in others.
  • Fourth, a commitment to evaluation and improvement plays an important role in the up-building of the church. However, despite their tendency to drive their teams toward perfection, narcissists often are so self-engrossed that they fail to engage in self-evaluation and self-criticism.31 They are more concerned with their image than with results. What they desire is to be perfect enough to be beyond criticism. In pursuit of this, narcissists tend to become rigid, repetitive, and predictable.32 They commonly lack personal creativity and choose to avoid unfamiliar situations.
  • Fifth, conflict inevitably occurs as a by-product of change and growth within the church. Thus, it is essential that worship leaders be able to respond constructively to conflicted situations. Narcissists, however, are intolerant of disagreement. They have a stunted ability to understand another person’s perspective.33 They do not listen well when they feel attacked and often grossly misinterpret others.

Seibel does not really offer much hope for churches who find themselves in this situation other than to say that the narcissistic worship leader must be held accountable. This reminds me of a few other posts I have made–easy to identify narcissism but hard to deal with.  For more reading, check out the following:

Understanding Narcissism

Dealing with narcissism part 2

Survival Strategies for a narcissistic world

I have been able to live everything I have believed

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Great interview here with Eugene Peterson.  Thanks to David Hayward

Quote above is from Peterson.

The next right thing

August 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Great post from Michael Hyatt on what to do when you may not know what to do. He suggests:

  • Forget about the ultimate outcome
  • Focus on the next right action
  • Do something now

I will add that sometimes, the next right action may be to set aside the decision or discussion and to spend some time waiting before God.

 

Staying focused with a revised job description

August 25, 2011 2 comments

Personal photo taken in Seattle

One of the most helpful things we have done this year was revising our job description.  We eliminated a number of things that we were not doing or did not need to be doing and highlighted a couple of key areas important to us.  We feel like we now have received permission and blessing to operate in our areas of strength.

My revised job description does tell me what I do not need to be doing.  However, Michael Hyatt’s post on making “Not to Do Lists” may be an additional tool necessary for me to stay focused.

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Life lessons

August 24, 2011 1 comment

personal photo used with permission

What are the  most important life lessons you have learned recently? Two important lessons I have learned (and am continuing to learn?) in the past few years:

1. I am not in control.

2. It is not all about me.

Amos Lee sings one of my favorite songs of the year, Learned a Lot in which he says

Oh and darling, instead of running
I think it might be time you sit down
And deal with the pain

Adam Donyes provides the following list of top 15 lessons learned in a guest post on Michael Hyatt’s blog.
1. The most important person you can lead is yourself.
2. Nothing is more valuable than relationships.
3. Maximize the moments with your children.
4. Listen—you will never find the pulse of your family or organization if you don’t learn to listen.
5. Worrying is temporary atheism. Rid yourself of worry.
6. Become a better steward of your financial resources through investments and wise decision-making. The older you get the more you’ll want to give away, being able to do so begins with the financial decisions you make today.
7. Balance—the words “No” and “Not now” are empowering when accompanied with wisdom.
8. Spend time reading and receiving the Truth every morning, because the world will only lie to you the rest of the day.
9. Saying “I’m sorry,” when spoken from a genuine heart, has great healing power.
10. Character should always trump talent.
11. Retreat and Rest—if ships don’t come back to the harbor, they’ll eventually sink.
12. Don’t stop learning—you’re not as smart as you think.
13. Learn to value patience. You’re likely to learn more while you wait.
14. Time management—without it time will control you.
15. Develop authentic and deep relationships with men who will sharpen you and see through you.

What are the important life lessons you have learned lately?

How to Lose with Dignity

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment

from Istockphoto

In a most unusual post, Brett and Kate McKay write about how to lose with dignity and celebrate with grace. Beginning with the gracious way the American Civil War ended between Generals Grant and Lee, ending with the victory of Churchill over Chamberlain in 1940 and with American football in between, the Mckay’s come up with the following principles.

Accept responsibility for the loss.

Bow out gracefully.

Acknowledge the winner.

But a failure to acknowledge the victory of your fellow competitor shows a lack of respect for him; a man can be your rival, but you can still admire his courage and his fight, and the fact that on this day, he fought harder. Sulking away also shows a lack of discipline on your part—you are so overwhelmed with anger and grief at your loss that you cannot think of anything else but your own pity. Being able to control your feelings in that moment is the mark of strength and self-control, not to mention perspective.

And in some cases, even support the winner.

Learn from the loss and move on.

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