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tango

In a visual world it is second nature to count, collect, and compare what is seen. It seems natural to desire more and from a young age we do. We believe that 72 crayons are better than 12, even if we only use 6. We compare important things too: ministries, callings, follower, and bank accounts.

Yet God only asks us to be faithful. To walk the steps of on our own dance. Yet many of our moves we learned by watching those around us, and loose our partner in the process. Faithfulness is often un-noticed, trite, and hard.

Photo:  zabaraorg

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Why I Don’t Care about your Calling


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There’s excitement as people discover, discern, and accept their life calling. Yet if life were a single day this would equate to little more than putting on a single sock. You have not yet reached the door, and have the majority of the real work ahead.

With this perspective we can accept our calling as a critical step for putting on our shoes before we head out the front door to impact the world. As long as we remember that the world has not yet changed, and our love not yet felt.

What we must care about is faithfulness.

Photo: Trinity

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Honest Realizations: Being Meaningful to Someone

The ministry/missionary world is immersed and exists within a single verse from the Apostle Paul – 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 (full passage below). It’s the passage where he talks about becoming all things to all people so that he might save some of them. This weekend that passage was weighing on me as I dreamt of our coming move to Paris. Two things in particular struck me.

I cannot meaningfully connect with just anyone

This is a difficult thing for me to admit. Over the years I have cultivated a much more conversational demeanor like my dad had. He could talk with anyone, was interested in everyone, and believed everyone had stories and a life that were worth hearing about.

Yet engaging with someone and showing a genuine concern and desire to know them is not the same as forming a meaningful connection with them. This awareness has come as I have amassed more stories from others; yet continue to lack these genuine connection.

These connections appear to require a few key ingredients: mutual interest, cultural commonality, shared passions, shared intentionality, and proximity (physical or virtual). This is an incomplete list but it ought to illustrate how unique these connections are, and that we must treasure them when they occur.

This passage is about a person, not a church.

How obvious is this? Well I missed it for a very long time. Paul was talking about how he interacted with those around him, not how he expected those communities he formed to function. I’m not sure that the churches he started in one area could have transplanted themselves elsewhere.Fly coffee cup

From the epistles we know that the early churches struggled in different ways, and appear to have had different expressions of the Gospel that Paul committed his life to. From this I draw my belief that every church needs to delve into God seeking to discern how their community would be an expression of the Kingdom of Heaven.

It makes sense that each community would become a unique expression of the creativity, love, compassion, and excitement that God has for creation. Each community would begin uniquely, and would seek to become all things to those they are able to. To me this is the reason for being missional, it is not to buck the ecclesial structure, but to tangibly express hope and love in ways that are most meaningful.

How has this verse impacted you and/or your ministry?

To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
1 Corinthians 9:20-23

Photo Credits: TheGiantVermin and eren {sea+prairie}

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Communicate to Maximize your Mentorship

The best thing you can do for your mentorship time is to communicate well. There are three key ways that this communication takes place that will help you to maximize your time together.

Set the Agenda beforehand

Maximize Time With Mentors by setting agenda before handAs entrepreneurs we have a reputation for our ability to work on the fly. Do not do this with your mentors – you’ll waste their time and your own. A few days before you are scheduled to meet up set aside time to reflect on your last meeting, what you have been doing since then, and develop a short list of points for discussion. After looking over your list make sure to email it off to your mentors along with any relevant information. Make sure to let them know you’re open to feedback, but that these are some points you’d like to go over.

Recently we’ve been developing a few strategic partnerships. I wanted my mentors to look over the contract to see if we are missing anything obvious. By sending it along a few days before hand they had a chance to skim through it in between things, and preserved our time together for conversations instead of 10 minutes reading a legal document.

Make it Actionable and Measurable before you stand up

Develop Actionable Steps From your talk with your MentorsYou came seeking advice. Before you get up from the table, articulate the actions and goals that you’ve developed out of your conversation. This gives you one last chance to ensure you all heard the same things, and to affirm the direction you are heading in till your next meet up. I take notes as we discuss things so I can reference them at this point.

I also like to email a brief follow-up on the meeting including the action points to my mentors when I get back to my desk. Sometimes it might take a bit of research on your part to nail down an exact set of numbers, but send this along. It communicates how much you value the time you have with them.

Keep the Communication Going

When it makes sense, send a quick email letting them know how things are going. Don’t say that you are too busy for this. They are busier than you are and choose to make time for you. If you said you were going to contact 8 people, let them know after you contact the last one, and briefly explain how it went. Maybe you could even bring up a point or two for the next time you meet up based on your success/failure to reach the goal. This communication loop can be repeated between every time you meet up with them.

 

Any other advice on how to communicate well with mentors?

Photo Credit: colinlogan and b_d_solis