Month: August 2015

The Best in Education

enoch and chris collageThe best kind of education happens one on one in doing life together.  That’s how kids pick up thousands of words, amazingly complex social structures and cues, and even how to tie their own shoes. That’s why Chinese lessons are more expensive when you ask for a personal tutor.  That’s how arguably one of the best teachers of all time led His little group of 12.  If you’re spending quality time with someone one on one, you might be tempted to think that you’re not making the greatest impact you could.  Perhaps, you’re making a great impact than you’d ever imagined.  The best of education happens when you do life with someone together and spend time pointing out the big and little things of life.  You’ll be amazed at what they learn. And you might just learn something, too.

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Talent: Discovered or Developed?

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Talent hunters are everywhere. I just saw an article the other day about people going to other groups and companies and trying steal people from their company. Why? Because we want the best in our organizations. No one wants to have their child taught by the worst teacher in school. No one wants to go to a restaurant where they intentionally hire the worst chefs. And no one wants to be a part of something where sub-par talent is the highest expectation we can find.

In a similar fashion, talent developers are everywhere. Companies spend billions on trainings, retreats, reviews, and more. Why? Because we know that we haven’t reached our full potential yet.

As Aroma transitions into a totally new season of growth an expectation, I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit. I’ve also been getting a lot of feedback through onsite and offsite peers, consultants, mentors, fathers and leaders.

We left one 5 hour session asking ourselves this question: Are we discovered or developed?

As a company owner, church pastor, and missions site coordinator, I interact with a lot of people. We’ve constantly prided ourselves on giving people opportunity to grow. And yet some of the most explosive things that have happened come when someone from the outside comes in and offers just a little advice, or makes just the slightest change to a product, SOP or marketing tactic.

So, take a look at your life. Have you been discovered or developed? Do you want to be discovered or developed? Do you want to discover others or develop them? I’d like to take a brief survey of the benefits of both:

Discovered

  • Discovering talent is costly. You have a lot more interviews. You need to spend time finding the right person. You need a backup plan for when that person leaves you for some place better.
  • Discovering talent is limiting. When you put all of your emphasis on discovering just the right person, you limit yourself to what they bring to the table. This includes their talents, but it also includes their culture, the sum of their beliefs, values and reactions in certain situations. Unfortunately, top talent often know they’re just that.
  • Discovering talent  is explosive. If you find the right person, the right culture match, the right time, etc. you have set yourself up for an explosive time of growth. The right talent discovered and injected can be just like a downed espresso shot. It burns immediately and gets you going quickly.

Developed

  • Developing talent is costly. They often underperform and you have to spend countless hours training, explaining, reviewing, and on and on and on. Taking into account the time value of money, you’ll probably lose more investing into that person than you’ll get out of them after they’re 100% ready. Not to mention the outright detrimental things they’ll do to you and your company in the mean time.
  • Developing talent is limiting. Until that person is everything you think they can be, they’re not. Let me repeat that. Until a person is everything you think they can be, they’re not. No matter how much you believe in someone, no matter how many resources you throw at someone, there’s still a journey.  You’re going to bottleneck your organization for a time.
  • Developing talent is explosive. Have you ever been supported? Felt believed in? I remember when my 9th grade band teacher, Mrs. Gallagher yelled at me in front of the whole class. She told me to grow up. After I sat in the corner crying for 20 minutes (literally), she took me into her office and explained how much she cared for me. She told me that there are plenty of students she saw every year who wouldn’t amount to much of anything. But she saw something more in me and wanted me to see it, too. Having someone take the time to invest in you. And being someone who invests you, can make all the difference. At all times in my life, I’ve had people investing in me, and it’s been great!

No matter which side you fall on, you’re still going to have to choose at times. I default to developing. Why? Because I’ve been developed. But, I also see the benefit of discovery. Why? Because I’ve been discovered.

The good news is that both of these are options. You don’t have to do just one. In fact, God has done both in us. In Ephesians 1:4, Paul says we were “chosen before the foundation of the world.” Sounds like a great discovery to me. Esther was chosen for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). There are countless stories, like David and Moses, of people who were discovered and elevated into a position of great opportunity. They nailed it.

Conversely, there are the people who are developed. Paul was definitely the worst, worst choice for a church plant. He was the most anti-Christian person available at the time (Acts 8:1), but then Barnabas (Acts 4:36) and Ananias (Acts 9:10-12) were used to develop him into the author of 13 books of the New Testament.

Which is it: discovered or developed? I say both! God’s much bigger than limited you to one. Get out there and discover someone. Then develop them. Hold them accountable; that is, make them “account for their God-given ability” (Kris Valloton).

On Annoying People

You know who I’m talking about. Those people who are just so annoying. They’re the ones who don’t know when to end the joke. They’re the ones who can’t stop talking about their pet rock collection. They’re the ones who say offensive things in the middle of conversations. They’re the ones who make your friends feel uncomfortable and want to leave.

And they’re all over the church! It’s hard to make it through a Sunday (or any other day of the week for that matter) without running into them. I thought I’d take a quick second to share about how to handle them.

First, let me preface: the church is a treasure. In fact, it’s loved by Jesus himself. You can’t be a Christian and not be a part of a church body. That’s ludicrous. That’s like saying I’m a football player, but I don’t go to the field or practice or play at all, because I can read the play book or watch a game on TV. What a joke. Any way, end of the first rant. Here we go on how to do deal with annoying people:

Part of what makes my church a treasure and haven is that we generally are accepting of people, even sometimes to a fault. There is a good place for church discipline, and I plan on having difficult conversations regularly.

That being said, I think it’s important to keep things in context. Everyone is, believe it or not, on a long journey called sanctification.

The Bible talks about sheep, goats, and wolves. I’ve heard one pastor describe these animals in this way (paraphrased): sheep are people trying to do God’s will who sometimes make mistakes. Goats want to do God’s will but screw up a little bit worse and maybe even rebel a bit. Wolves, however, are intentionally trying to hurt people and have no concern for God’s will at all. I want to ask you, if you had to peg this annoying person as one of these, which would you choose? My personal opinion after much prayer and consideration, is that they may not be a wolf. With that in mind, read this article to understand what we are to do with sheep and goats. My current thought is that asking someone to leave your church would do far more damage than good and as ministers in the church (I count you as one, too), we are to do our best to care for all the sheep and goats, even the ones who stink a little more. I’m sure glad for the times when people ministered to me (as a disruptive little goat), because they saw something more in me than just my current position.

Let’s keep praying for this person and ask God to break through in their heart. At the same time, let’s pray for ourselves, that God would give us more treasured and haven-like hearts to chase after Him and allow Him to fill us to overflow so that each sheepish and goaty interaction could help point people to Jesus.

After you’ve done a bunch of praying, maybe it’s time to get out Jesus’ model on confrontation (Matthew 5:23, 18:15ff).

Don’t forget, we’re all on a journey. And someone else may be reading this blog with you in mind :-).

The Evolution of a Relationship

God calls us many things in the Bible. He uses pictures to help us understand the dynamic of our indescribable relationship with Him. Here are a few that have touched me recently:

  • Clay (Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 18)
  • Sheep (John 10:14)
  • Disciple (Luke 6:40)
  • Slave (Romans 1:1)
  • Child (John 1:13)
  • Friend (John 15:15)
  • Beloved (Ephesians 5:1)
  • Apostle (Ephesians 4:11)

Some of these happen in parallel, others are distinct seasons that build on each other. My prayer is that as you reflect on these, you’ll see that you’re becoming a trusted member of the family, just like the son who got the ring and the robe (Luke 15).