Saturday, November 12, 2011

Skills? Heart? or both? What do you look for in a dynamic team member?

Recently a ministry leadership team asked me to help them with a challenge they are facing with a member who seemed to have lost heart. The leaders were burdened with needing to help their team mate while helping the ministry steward resources and relationships.  
The leader's behavior sounded like this: 
            "...______ is just not the person we hired..." 
            "...when dealing with challenges _____ has gone from a tenacious problem-solver to victim..." 
We talked and prayed about what to do, and while preparing to regroup, I read the following article referred by LinkedIn non-profit org management. It helped me help them...

Should you hire for Skills or Spirit - FC Expert Blogger Michelle Randall,, Nov. 8, 2011
"Companies spend a huge amount of time and resources crafting business strategies. Even so, most of these strategies end in failure.
     Because people represent the potential of the business, high-growth companies need high-growth employees. Employee development is the key ingredient in breaking through to the next level of growth. Employees have to develop new skills that allow them to perform at higher levels so that they can quickly deliver on the potential of the strategy and the company itself.
     While it’s certainly possible to hire for new capabilities, there are tremendous benefits of promoting from within. Just a few benefits include: retaining technical knowledge; honoring the informal, social fabric of the organization; and fostering the culture of the company.

Employee development needs to be included in both strategy creation and execution. There are two main ways to assess people and their development: skills and spirit.
     Skills are things that can be trained. A leader can be coached on how to become more influential and engage their team to achieve great results. An employee can be trained technical skills such as engineering, accounting, and marketing that they need to do their jobs really, really well.
     Spirit refers to the “soft” skills that can’t be trained effectively. You have to hire for them. These are hard to find but are necessary for a company to function smoothly.
One of these skills is teamwork--the ability to put the needs of the group ahead of personal desires. Another is heart, as in “put your heart into it.” This describes true commitment and passionate engagement. Employees with heart take ownership of their jobs and go the extra mile. 
This same balance needs to exist within individual senior managers. A VP of global marketing at a IT company recently asked me about this. He told me that one of his senior managers had great skills and was a decent leader, but he wasn’t showing any heart—he just didn’t seem to care about the company. The VP said that the manager’s bad attitude was starting to wear off on his entire team.
     My reply was clear and simple. I told him that if the manager’s heart wasn’t in it, there were two options: move him into a purely technical position or let him go. Senior managers are a microcosm of your company. They are the role models for other employees. As such, they need to have both skills and spirit.
     Integrating strategy and people accelerates the potential growth of any organization and is critical for high-growth companies."

Ministry Application
So how can you use this information in your ministry? 

If you're hiring, PAY ATTENTION to MORE than the skills and experience part of their resume! In the interviews listen for answers that display their passion and that reveal the things that STIR their SOUL! "Hire for talent (spirit), train for skills," was what my friend Terry DeLaPorte always said. (Terry was a Christian business leader I had the privilege of working for until he changed jobs to his new assignment in heaven.) 

Ministries often review the list of experiences, education, and skills before they check out the applicant's passions. Watch out for being blown away by achievements and forgetting to find where their passion lies — it's a BIG MISTAKE! 

If their passions don't align closely with your Vision and Mission, you will likely discover mismatches later in the employment experience, and then you're going to have to FIX a problem you could have prevented! All of us have seen situations where it was harder to release someone and hire their replacement, than it would have been to find the right person the first time.

If this person is already on your team, and you're still reading this, you already know you have a problem. In your feedback conversations you need to ask some 'dive deep' questions, like: 
     "What about this (our) ministry gets you up in the morning?" 
     "If you were able to work anywhere and make a decent living doing it, what would you LOVE to do?"
Listen to their answers, waiting to hear the heart — the passion in their bones. What a person is passionate about, they will DO no matter what happens. What they do to make a paycheck will not engage them at both levels. You'll get a measure of their skills because they're getting a paycheck in return. But if you want heart / passion as well as skills, you need to make that clear! 

Don't tell me you FORGOT to mention this when you hired them? 
Ooops! Now, before you can require both of them, make sure you are applying it to your own activities as a leader of your team. You may have to declare a "new day" at your ministry, and then put into practice a measure of both SKILLS and HEART — making a point to highlight both when giving feedback. Start with yourself — ask for feedback, "Do you see me just doing my job? Do I still have a heart for this work?"

If you encounter a mismatch between your team member and your expectations, you need to offer the opportunity to this skilled person who seems to have lost heart to seek the Lord to find it. 
Jeremiah 29:11-14a 
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord..."
Can your ministry afford to let a leader who has lost heart go, before offering them the opportunity to find it?
Think about this: how did Jesus tell us that the Gospel spreads? 
        It starts at Jerusalem, then goes to Judea, and Samaria, and then to the uttermost parts of the world.
  • If what we are ministering doesn't work for me (first), and our team [Jerusalem], how can it work for those we serve [in Judea and Samaria], and out into the world? 
  • What doesn't work for the leadership team, won't work in the ministry, and you can't demand that God bless something He doesn't love. 
  • Start with your own practices and prayers to get your heart right — maybe you need to answer that question personally, "If I could do WHATEVER and make a living at it, what would I do?" When you can display real (not fake) passion for your work, you have the stuff to instill that passion in your team mates. 
  • You find (rediscover) YOUR passion, and then you can ask for it of your team mates. Let them see what passion looks like in you, then you can add that to your MUST HAVE list of qualities. 
In today's world, HOW we minister is more visible than WHAT we minister. The way you do ministry counts just as much as the stuff of your ministry. 

So, start with your own relationship and work out from there, moving from complacency to passion-revealed takes skills and heart. Effective, Kingdom-focused ministries will display both, all the time.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day weekend. Already?

This has been a 'silent summer' for me - no blog posts since May. That's uncommonly quiet.

If you noticed and felt a twinge of concern - I apologize for being more mute than usual.

If you were so busy that you didn't have time to notice - not to worry. We were busy, and figured you were too.

But we're back.            Noisy.    


But if you're reading this, it's because you were interested in an update. So, here's what has been going on since April.

Personal Matters:
Over the past four months Vicki's and my weeks have overflowed with: 
  • Packing up and moving out of our home of 8 years into the garage apartment of our good friends Mike and Paula
  • Multiple yard sales - and storing what wasn't for sale in a short-term rental PODS unit, and a borrowed storage shed
  • Leaving the ministry property ready for closing before returning from . . . 
  • Three weeks' of missions-ministry travel to Cambodia
  • Several weeks of intensive remodel work (every spare moment concentrated on fixing up a town home for Vicki and me to call our home base)
  • Three ministry trips to California to work with a group of churches and a christian school in San Jose and Milpitas . . .
  • One trip turned out to be a perfectly-timed, unexpected opportunity to visit family and see our West Coast grandkids graduate from elementary and mid-school. 
* About Moving: 
If you haven't moved lately and you want to shake up your routine, I can recommend a move (especially if you are significantly shrinking your living space). You will learn a lot about patience and understanding (or as I found about myself), my LACK of patience and understanding.

* About our new place in the city:
Vicki has (again) done an unbelievable job of staging and color in our new place. After nearly a decade in the mountains in a gorgeous setting, she has created an oasis for us both making this a home that we both LOVE to come home to!

Ministry Matters:
This summer at 30 60 100 MINISTRIES we (meaning: Vicki, Dalton, our Board of Directors, members of our Advisory Council, or some combination of this team):
  • Continued coaching several ministry leaders and couples and some new non-profit leaders
  • Trained and/or facilitated several group gatherings
  • Vicki was a featured speaker for two ladies groups - one morning meeting, and the other a full-day retreat
  • Facilitated leadership teams through our (SP)∞ - the Strategic Planning to the Highest Power workshop
  • Led two couples through the (SP)∞ process as they plan their next steps in business and ministry 
  • Prepared for the 2011-2012 launch of the Spiritually Healthy Leader Series in Albuquerque in October. (You can expect significant changes in structure and updated content.)
  • Are preparing for a gathering of friends of 30 60 100 MINISTRIES later this Fall
  • In preparation for full web access to our published material, we have been reviewing, updating and significantly changing our websites to make them more user friendly

At this point in my life, I have realized that staying busy is not a goal. Staying busy is more of a distraction than a goal. I'm learning to focus on those things that lead us to fulfill our vision, not just doing the next thing on the TO DO list.

So if you are REALLY BUSY, you might check your TO DO list: which things take you towards your vision? Which take you away from it?

Our prayer for you is that you clearly see things from the Lord's perspective (Vision: "clearly seeing things from God's point of view"); and once you identify those things, do THEM.

As Vicki and I work together, I am learning that as I stay focused on our vision, we (as a team) don't only stay occupied, we are fulfilled, and time FLIES!

We'd love to hear how your summer went - you can post your comments on our blog just below. It only takes a moment to catch up!

We'll talk again soon.    

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Dear Friends of Multiplied Impact

Vicki and I spent 16 years with our family in the jungles of southern Colombia, SA as agricultural missionaries. We went there as newlyweds, and returned from that assignment in 1986 as a family of 5.

Since our return to the States we got to know the Stendal family, who are actively serving in eastern Colombia. Russ was taken captive by the guerilla and held for a long time -- after his release he chose to minister to them with his family, and today works to provide the Gospel through radio and aviation ministry. Voice of the Martyrs lists Colombia in the top ten most dangerous nations for Christian ministry/witness.

This posting is Russell's latest news update from May 12th. Please read and pray with us for the Stendals as they reach deep into the heart of a troubled land.

About 30 minutes ago another bomb blew up in the town square of Puerto Lleras (4Km from our Lomalinda radio stations) killing several policemen and injuring many bystanders.  For several months terror has been ratcheting up as buses are being burned and many shot dead in the streets of towns throughout eastern Colombia.  The guerrilla movement has also been conducting an internal purge and has reportedly killed many of their own men, accusing them of being traitors to the Communist cause.  We believe some of them were secret Christians.

We have recently had very close calls and it takes a lot of wisdom and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in order for us to continue to operate and maintain all of our radio stations.  In all of our 47 odd years here in Colombia we have never seen it this unstable, yet we believe that this is also the most opportune time that we have ever seen for the Gospel.

Right now we are struggling to keep all 16 stations on the air.  Pray that the Lord will provide better and more reliable radio transmitter equipment so that we will not have to make as many dangerous repair trips into difficult areas and so that our signals will be able to stay on the air in a more reliable manner.  We are also very short of Bibles: unable to even come close to meeting the requests of those who are turning to the Lord after hearing radio broadcasts.

Every day I receive a steady stream of phone calls and text messages from those who are either on the front lines or maybe even behind enemy lines and I do my best to encourage them to continue with the Lord even if they get killed for their testimony.  Due to the excellent locations that the Lord has provided for us to transmit from we are able to provide very intense radio coverage of a high percentage of the Colombian war zone and critical border regions.
Thanks so much to all of you who have been praying and supporting our ministry.
For Online Donations go to

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PART TWO: Why I'm Not a Committed Christian (and Why That's a Good Thing) by Bob Butler


How are commitment and surrender different for us? Looking at how the attitudes impact significant areas of spiritual life helped clarify the differences.

     Priorities - In large degree, our secular culture measures a person's worth in terms of success, winning, and accumulating. In this view, where winning is everything, surrender is unthinkable--even surrender to God. Commitment is acceptable, but surrender is considered foolish and perhaps dangerous. All that is associated with surrender--yielding, submission, obedience, self-denial, dying to self--either falls on deaf ears and hard hearts or else evokes hostility from those of us saturated with Western standards. 

I once served in an exceptionally difficult ministry situation on the island of Maui. (I know what you're thinking, but it really was tough.) After a couple of years, I decided to get out, and put my name in my denomination's candidate pool to be considered for a different situation. Nothing happened for more than a year. One day, after whining to God about it, I just gave up. I said, "Lord, if you want to leave me on this rock for the rest of my life, that's up to you." I did not decide to stay or leave; I just left it up to God. I believe God was waiting for me to pray that prayer. My commitment in that place had long since expired, but my surrender to the Lord opened the door to joy and peace and effectiveness.

I served in that position for two more years - joyfully - until I was called to another congregation. Looking back, I now see the damage that could have been done to my family, the Maui church, and the new church, if I had insisted on forcing my will into that situation.

     Discipleship - My repeated failure to live up to my commitments has been an overwhelming source of frustration in my Christian walk. A growing desire emerged to get off the merry-go-round of making promises to God and to embrace the simple, joyful life of believing God's promises. I needed a surrendered heart in place of a list of commitments and goals, accomplished or not. 

As Mary Poppins said, we make piecrust promises all the time - easily made and easily broken. Every time we use a credit card, we are promising to pay for that meal or DVD or plane ticket. We hardly think about it, but that habit of making easy promises often is at work in Sunday-morning pledges to God or the church or self... to change or do or go or give. And, like credit cards for many, we are surprised and overwhelmed when those promises accumulate and we are unable to honor the debt we have created. 

When I first learned to have a quiet time, it was a major struggle to spend ten minutes in prayer and Bible reading each morning. Wanting more, I proudly and piously committed to half an hour a day, then one hour a day. I found I could not live up to the commitment. Things might go well for a few days or weeks, then I would fail my standard. I felt defeated instead of blessed. After I discovered the meaning of surrender, I learned to let the Lord set the agenda and draw me to Himself. I was astonished, not at the length of my quiet times, but at the discovery that the Lord sought me throughout the day. My time with God was no longer an obligation but an opportunity.

     Relationship - Commitment sets limits or boundaries to relationships. Commitments are always partial and restricted. Commitment makers never give away the farm, but carefully define limits of time, cost, etc. Surrender gives away the farm... and everything on it. The multitudes in the John 6 episode demonstrated the limit of how far they would follow Jesus. They had reached their self-defined spiritual boundary and would go no farther. 

Commitment is the mindset of the consumer; surrender is the attitude of the beloved. God woos us and paid dearly for our love. Christ invites us into relationship with Him, but He does not bargain or renegotiate. The Twelve continued to enjoy intimacy with the Lord because they were willing to follow wherever He led. They did not yet fully understand what being a follower meant, but they knew who had the words of eternal life. They were in love with Jesus and trusted Him totally. Commitment invites Jesus along for the ride, but surrender gives Him the steering wheel... and signs over the title of the car too.

How Do I Surrender to God?
My choice was that I had no choice but to surrender. But how was I to go about it? Jesus gave us the answer: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). There is no more elegant and simple description of surrender than these ancient words.

Taking up my cross daily means to pursue God's will in the place of my own. Surrender is setting aside my ambition and agenda and desires in order to pursue God's. Jesus perfectly demonstrated this surrender at Gethsemane when he prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).

The surrendered disciple prays like her surrendered master, saying "Father, if my problem or pain or illness or loneliness can be part of accomplishing your will, do not take it away."

Jesus' invitation of "follow me" means to obey Him absolutely. While drinking coffee early one Rocky Mountain morning at our favorite vacation campsite, I suffered another head-whacking reality check. At my age then, I collided with the indisputable fact that I could reasonably assume about three-quarters of my life and ministry had passed. The question that emerged was, How will I play the last quarter? Going through the motions? Sitting on the bench? Playing it safe? Finishing strong? 

I did not know what or where "follow Me" meant here, but I somehow understood that this was a surrender moment. Pulling out an old sports cliche', I prayed, "Lord, I want to leave it all on the field." I never imagined the great adventure the Lord had in store for me, spiritually and geographically.

The Surprise of Surrender
In Absolute Surrender, Andrew Murray wrote, "We find the Christian life so difficult because we seek for God's blessing while we live in our own will." Making commitments can be our subtle attempts to get God's blessings while holding on to our own authority and lifestyle. Many fear that surrender will cost too much or make them miserable. 

The surprise of surrender is that by giving control of everything we have and are to God we gain the blessings we desire. That is counterintuitive to our human nature, but Jesus promised, "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:25).

Giving control of my life to God means I am not in control... and what a relief that is! It is the secret source of peace. Failure, frustration, and disappointment are the legacy of commitment, because it is always about me and depends entirely on me to achieve some outcome. Surrender takes "me" out of the equation. As I heard a person once say, "When I began to follow Christ, I resigned as General Manager of the Universe."

When I acknowledge that Jesus is my sovereign and not my peer, He begins to transform me. C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity, "The more we get what we now call 'ourselves' out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become." When we deny ourselves, we find ourselves. 

In my surrender journey, I have discovered joy and delight and peace. I feel less pressure to achieve. I do not have to struggle to solve every problem. I do not have to fight to protect what I have. I am less concerned about the future and enjoy today more. I am learning to trust my absolutely trustworthy master.

Of course, the inconvenient truth is that if we are not surrendered, we are not really free and in control at all. The Bible says we are either slaves to sin or surrendered slaves to Christ.

I must choose to surrender to Christ. I do not want to leave him. Where else would I go?

BOB BUTLER is 30 60 100 MINISTRIES contact and facilitator of the Spiritually Healthy Leader Series in SE Asia. We will see him in April when Vicki and Dalton go to Cambodia to teach the workshops in Phnom Penh. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

PART ONE: Why I'm Not a Committed Christian (and Why That's a Good Thing) by Bob Butler

Most often I hear from God through study and reading the Bible. Sometimes His guidance works through a sermon or the spoken word. Occasionally the still, small voice is obvious during my quiet time. But, once in awhile, it take a whack on the side of the head.

One such head whacking occurred some time ago. In The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority I read about a conversation between the late Adrean Rogers and Josef Tson, the revered Romanian pastor, author, and president of the Romanian Missionary Society who survived years of persecution and exile under cruel Communist rule. Rogers asked Dr. Tson for his perception of American Christianity.

I was surprised by Tson's answer. After some hesitation, he replied, "Well, Adrian, since you have asked me, I'll tell you. The key word in American Christianity is commitment." Rather than being a positive thing, he saw it as an inadequate replacement of an older Christian teaching: surrender.

Tson described the difference, "When you make a commitment, you are still in control, no matter how noble the thing you commit to. One can commit to pray, to study the Bible, to give his money, or to commit to automobile payments, or to lose weight. Whatever he chooses to do, he commits to. But surrender is different. If someone holds a gun and asks you to lift your hands in the air as a token of surrender, you don't tell that person what you are committed to. You simply surrender and do as you are told.... Americans love commitment because they are still in control. But the key word is surrender. We are to be slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ."

WHACK! I was stunned. Like most American Christians, I had made innumerable commitments to God. As a preacher, I had asked in hundreds of sermons for congregations to make various kinds of commitments. Now, unexpectedly, a core assumption of my vocabulary of faith was being disputed. I felt the wind knocked out of me.

Was Josef Tson correct? And if so, then why did he consider this to be such a critical issue? I immediately sensed he was speaking the truth, but knew I would have a lot of work to do to grasp the full meaning of what he said.

As I pondered, I realized Tson was right in identifying the root issue as control My commitments seek to gain the blessings of God without giving up autonomy. My commitments may be righteous or noble but are merely promises about what I will do and depend entirely on me. I am retaining control to some degree, as if I could negotiate with God's sovereignty.

Surrender concedes that in the battle of wills, God has already won. Surrender begins with the understanding that I am not God's partner - not even a junior partner. He is my creator and absolute Lord. I am ruined and worthless without Him. Surrender is really so distasteful to us because it exposes the core issue of our sin: pride.

The characters and stories and teaching of the Bible began to look different as I read them through surrender-colored lenses. Two anointed kings, Saul and David, markedly illustrate the contrast of commitment and surrender. No doubt, Saul was a committed worshipper of Jehovah, but deliberate disobedience exposed his lack of total surrender. At Gilgal, impatience drove him to perform a sacrifice specifically prescribed to be offered only by the priest, Samuel (1 Samuel 13). Later, Saul purposely disobeyed the Lord's instructions to destroy the Amalekites totally (1 Samuel 15).

On the other hand, David's highest priority was his relationship with the Lord. David was obviously as great a sinner as Saul. His family was dysfunctional. He made errors in worshipping the Lord and administering the kingdom. Yet there was never a doubt that David was absolutely surrendered to the glory of God, as evidenced by his response to the rebuke of the prophet Nathan, his attitude when his baby son died, and his abandoned worship as the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem.

I also saw the distinction between surrender and commitment in John 6. Here, Jesus feeds five thousand people. Then, seeking solitude with God, He leaves the crowd. They followed him, expecting more miracles and food. Jesus challenged their motives and told the He was the only spiritual food they needed. Their reaction is enlightening:

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 
"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of Israel." John 6:66-69

Before my head whacking, I interpreted this episode as a crisis between the uncommitted crowd and the surrendered twelve. The multitude was committed... to a point. The Bible even calls them disciples. They had simply reached the end of their commitment. In contrast, the Twelve were fully surrendered. As Peter expressed, they allowed themselves no alternative other than following Jesus: "Lord, to whom shall we go?"

Bob Butler continues to follow God on the adventure of surrender as he works with a Christian organization in Cambodia. "Surrender has become a new perspective for my faith as I continue to learn to obey Christ fully," he says. "God has called me deeper and closer to Himself."

Bob also serves as a facilitator / coach for  for 30 60 100 MINISTRIES teaching the Spiritually Healthy Leader Series in SE Asia.