September 1, 2014
by Floyd
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Adopt or Plant?

Movements of churches tend to emphasize adoptions or new church plants, but rarely can you do both on a significant scale and be successful.
 
Here is the challenge: whatever existing churches you adopt under your brand, you need to manage. It’s an matter of alignment. If the churches you adopt do not have the same leadership style, ministry philosophy, core values and vision, there will be dilution or conflict, or both.
 
One pastor here in South Africa confided in me, “Our movement adopted a large network of churches in Kenya. I deeply regret doing so. We inherited a lot of leadership problems that have cost us huge amounts of time and finances. We met some wonderful people in the process, but it has shaped who we are as a movement in ways we did not want.”
 
Know what you are called to do, and do that well, but don’t try to mix the two approaches. Those who are called to birth and build apostolic movements should be super-cautious about adopting existing churches they did not plant. Every adopted church brings with it a set of expectations, needs, and values that may be incompatible with your calling to focus on “building on no other mans foundation.”

August 30, 2014
by floyd
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Letter From Sally

Hello,

I was encouraged and inspired by a story a South African friend sent to me recently. It dates back to 1902 during a war here in South Africa. Some women were sitting in the dirt in a concentration camp – hungry, discouraged, praying for the war to end. One of the ladies glanced at her open Bible and looked at Matthew 29:31:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”

The lady shares this verse with the other ladies, and as she does, a sparrow (called a mossie here in South Africa) came and sat on her shoulder. The ladies had their hope restored that night.

In May of that year, a peace treaty was signed to end the war. The same lady from that group of women sitting in the dirt approached the wife of the president and requested the Bible verse about the sparrows be reflected on the country’s one cent coins.

From 1923 to 2002 two sparrows (mossies) were embossed on the one cent coin making South Africa the only country in the world with a Bible verse as an image on its coins.

During World War II, parents gave the one cent coin to their sons who went to war as soldiers to remind them of their value in the Lord’s eyes – He knows every sparrow!

Years later, a South African lady went to the U.S. to help rehabilitate soldiers injured in the Vietnam war. She gave each soldier a one cent sparrow coin and told them the story, reminding them He cared about them and their injuries.

I’ve reflected often on this story during some of my hard moments. The God who knows every sparrow……and knows the numbers (or lack of them right now in my case) of every hair on my head…….is so mindful of every thing I’m walking through. I love how much He cares!!!

My next chemo is on Tues., Sept. 2. The chemo days seem to come up quickly. I find myself dreading going through it all again, and yet realizing I’ll be half way through with this round. That’s important for me to keep in mind.

I’ve had several “good” days this past week – so, so wonderful! I’ve tried to build up my energy and strength to get ready for the next round. I don’t bounce back as quickly as I did when I was younger, and yet I feel the Lord strengthening me!

It’ll be a wonderful day when I can speak of all this in the past tense. Until then, thank you for standing with Floyd and me, praying for us, encouraging us, believing with us. We are so grateful! I find myself thanking Him for caring about each sparrow……and caring for Sally. :)

With loving gratitude,

Sally & Floyd

August 29, 2014
by Floyd
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The Place For Partnerships

Partnerships can be tricky, but they can also allow movements, organizations and churches to coalesce around solutions to problems that are beyond their ability to handle individually.
 
There are many levels of partnership: we partner with governments when we receive permission to pass through their borders; we partner with foundations, churches and individuals when we receive their funds and personnel; we partner with other entities when we share information.
 
When we are to partner at deeper levels over a long term, we need to give thorough consideration to how well our vision and values align. The deeper the degree of partnership, the greater the need for alignment of our core beliefs and practices.
 
Global and regional networks play an important role in our modern world, but before you jump in to one, you and your senior leaders should think through your level of participation and your motives for doing so. A lot of time and leader resource is wasted when spent in partnerships where there are no clear outcomes in mind.
 
The internet affords us the opportunity to form some partnerships without diversion from our vision and mission. We can contribute contacts, share ideas, and even coordinate activities without compromising our calling. This type of partnership can lead to faster problem solving and greater coordination of effort.
 
Some people believe unity in itself is a good enough goal for partnership, but I disagree. Unity can easily become an end in itself. I have witnessed people going from one unity gathering to another without a clear sense of their part in the mission of God.
 
In All Nations we measure ourselves by our three core values: worship, mission, and community. Take any one of these three out of the equation and you have a skewed endeavor. Worship and community without mission results in an inwardly focused, self-preoccupied group of people. Mission without worship and community leads to burnout. Worship without mission and community leads to spiritual fantasy and no accountability (which only comes through authentic community).
 
The same approach of a balanced set of core values applies to partnerships. Knowing your core values allows you to partner at whatever level you are comfortable with, while making no compromise to your unique DNA.
 
This is the challenge: As partnerships and coalitions proliferate in the world, it is crucial for you to think strategically about which partnerships your church/business/movement will participate in, including, working through the how’s and why’s. Make sure everyone in leadership knows the principles you follow in choosing to say yes or no.
 

August 26, 2014
by floyd
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How to Build Longevity on Your Team

LONGEVITY

As a young leader I was impressed to learn that well-known evangelist Billy Graham was surrounded by a team of long serving friends and co-workers, most of whom had been with him since the beginning of his campaign career. The team began to be formed in the mid-1940’s, and stayed together for over half a century.

Team familiarity and trust influences how a team performs. The trend both in the church and corporate world is fast turnover and rapid advancement, which leaves little room for permanence on teams. Churches and businesses alike suffer because of this trend. But research is showing that longevity on teams pays rich dividends in more than one way.

My impression is that teams, like individuals, experience learning curves. They do better as members become familiar with each one another. Roles may change within a team of secure individuals, but if egos are out of the way, the benefit of adjusting to one another’s strengths and limitations creates a learning culture.

A Harvard Business Review article on longevity on teams (December, 2013, page 28) suggests five factors are responsible for the effect long serving teams have on their organization:

1. Co-ordinated activities – team members that have learned to work together carry those relationships into future projects and activities

2. Learning where the knowledge lies – team members learn who has what strengths and rely on those strengths as they work together

3. Responding to change – team familiarity provides a stable environment and allows for change to happen in the least threatening manner possible

4. Integrating past knowledge with future innovation – creative solutions are usually the result of combinations of knowledge and experience from different people on the team

5. Capturing value – strong, united teams attract people and resources

Instead of focusing on solving conflict on teams, it is more helpful to focus on the life-giving strengths that hold teams together. Build on what gives life to your team, not what problems the team has to overcome to stay together. Life attracts life. Vision attracts vision. And healthy people attract healthy people.

Take a few moments to reflect on what your team does well. Share your reflections with your team, and ask the others to contribute to the list. Brag on those who have helped build the team. Give some thought as to how you can cultivate your strengths as a team.

August 22, 2014
by Floyd
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Speak and Lead from the Heart

Recently I listened to a well-known leader speaking on leadership.  It was passionless.  Flat.  Carrying no emotion.  Just information.  It made minimal impact on the audience.  Great content, but it left me wondering what he really believed.

Skepticism will be transformed to belief when your listeners believe that YOU believe in what you are saying.  Delivering a deeply emotional talk will be powerful if the problem is clearly described and the solution you speak about is compelling.  Don’t hold back from imploring people to respond to a cause you are passionate about.

People will be willing to make difficult changes in their lives if you speak from your heart.

People follow passionate leaders, not positions of leadership.

Speaking from the heart allows you to lead from the heart and will inspire people to follow you.

“Your job as a leader is to tap into the power of higher purpose – and you can’t do that by retreating to the analytical.  If you want to lead, have the courage to do it from the heart.”   Gail McGovern, President and CEO, American Red Cross.

August 21, 2014
by Floyd
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Sally’s Update

Dear Praying Friends,

You’ve been praying…….there have been answers!!  My white blood cells went from dangerously low to almost normal in 2 weeks.  That was pretty amazing, and a wonderful answer to prayer!  I couldn’t have continued my treatment without that.

With my 2nd chemo treatment, I’m now a third of the way through.  That seems much less daunting than thinking of how much is left. :)  The side effects from the 2nd round seemed easier……definitely an answer to prayer.  I can imagine the “shock” of all that chemo going in the first time must have been a jolt to the body.  They adjusted my anti-nausea and sleeping meds., which has been a big help.  I’ve had more pain this time, but less of other symptoms.

My lovely photo quilt that I mentioned in the last update (from our daughter, son-in-law and grandkids) was oohed and aahed over in the chemo room!  It was so special.  I felt surrounded by love. Lots of the patients and nurses were so touched by the thoughtfulness of it from family so far away.  I’ve attached a photo below of being “hugged” by family during my chemo treatment.

I also have a new look……the bald look.  It’s been an adjustment.  I was prepared mentally, but the emotions really hit me when I kept looking in the mirror.  You can see my new look below too.  I waited a few days to share the look because I didn’t want to get my computer wet while I was typing about it. :(  I’m not quite sure why some people choose this look – it feels so much more vulnerable!  But I have been told I have a nice shaped head!  :) I’d have never known!!

We’ve been having a mild winter with lots of sunny days.  I know it’s not just for me, but it feels like a “gift.”  I just seem to feel better when the sun shines!  A number of people have told me they’ve prayed for that.

Some new prayer points:

-  We’re working with the airlines canceling all our tickets for our planned travel of the next few months. Please pray with us for favor for that.  Some are easier to work with than others!  Please pray that we won’t lose too much on all the cancellation fees.

-  Please pray for the evenings for me.  They seem to be the hardest.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m tired and my energy is low, but that seems to be when some of the worst side effects hit.  I also feel vulnerable emotionally at night.

While I’m going through this personal story, the ministry side continues on.  We send a new team to Jordan this week to work with the refugees. We have an important leadership meeting coming up there in Sept. too. I’d love for Floyd to still go.  Please pray for wisdom in deciding about that.

Many of you write to ask how I’m doing.  I’m so touched by that.  But please know, too, that I’m trying to not bombard you with too many emails. I know this is a long season!  I have months to go in treatment.  If you’d prefer not to receive emails, please let me know.  I understand!!!  I’m trying to send “breaking” news, but not over do it.

I have come to a new appreciation of the fellowship and prayers of the saints in these days.  Family, friends, prayer partners – more precious than gold!  Thank you for loving us and standing with us in this season.
With love and gratitude,
Sally & Floyd
Ps. 18:18  “They confronted me in the day of my calamity; but the Lord was my support.  He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.”

I’m looking forward to that “broad place” He has for us in the future.  He’s so faithful to bring good from hard times!

 

August 20, 2014
by Floyd
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First Impressions

Biased first impressions create hierarchy in groups.  They are driven by perceptions about age, race, gender and education.  True leaders counter biases and influence the group to see differently.

How do we re-set our first impressions?

  • Rethink generalization of people
  • Repent of negative first impressions of people
  • Pray a simple prayer about your reactions to people:  “Father, let me see what you see about this person, and allow me to feel what you feel about them.”
  • Rephrase negative or thoughtless statements about people

Words have power.

Rethink,   repent,   rephrase…  choose a more generous attitude toward others.

August 18, 2014
by Floyd
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Urban Culture Transcends Borders

My urban journey has gone from Kabul to Amsterdam to Cape Town and as I lived in these very different places, I became fascinated with the rise of cities.  I was provoked to develop a theology of the city, which I have reflected in my book, ‘Seeing the City With the Eyes of God’.
Here is what I learned about urban culture:
  • Urban cultures are like mountain tops… everything flows down from there to smaller towns and rural areas regardless of national borders and language differences.
  • Urban cultures are trend setters.   What happens in cities today happens in the rest of the world 5 and 10 years from now.
  • Urban cultures are multi-ethnic.  When I moved to Amsterdam there were 114 languages spoken in the city.  Today, there are more than 180 languages spoken there.
  • Vast segments of worldwide urban culture identify with American youth culture via TV, music and movies.
  • This identification is producing a hostility and backlash in certain parts of the world, namely the Middle East and the Muslim world.
  • Urban young adults are vastly different from their rural counterparts.
  • Urban sub-cultures are like villages stacked on top of each other, connecting via ethnic similarity and language, not urban geography.
  • Cities have personalities… some are financial centers, some are fashion and cultural trend setters, and still others are the center of gravity for spiritual appetite and curiosity.

August 15, 2014
by Floyd
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The Focused Leader

I learned an essential leadership skill from a mentor.  The skill of giving undivided attention.
This man always looked people in the eye, smiled and listened attentively.  He did not allow others to interrupt.  He worked at remembering peoples names.
People were important to him –  and it showed.
Great leaders focus… inwardly… on others… on the world around them.
Leadership is not just a set of skills.  It starts with an attitude that says “you are important”.
Most leadership programs focus on what a leader should know and do, but the true starting point is focusing on people.
Turn off your smart phone, blank out the activity around you and make the person in front of you feel important by giving them what is most valuable to you…  your time and your undivided attention.

August 14, 2014
by floyd
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AFRICA’S TIME IS NOW

African nations are beginning to take responsibility for Africa – instead of looking for handouts from the West. Africa’s economy is growing faster than that of any other continent.

However, there are 50-plus countries in Africa, so the growth needs to be looked at country by country to get an accurate understanding of what is happening in Africa.

African economies are synergistic. To look at Africa in a fractured light is to miss the dynamism of the whole. China certainly has not made that mistake. Presently, China has trade agreements with every country in Africa.

One example of the growth of the African economy is the explosion of mobile telephone usage across Africa. The Praekelt Foundation has focused on this phenomenon (www.praekeltfoundation.org ) and thus has become an incubator on mobile technology which improves the health and well-being of millions of African people living in poverty. There are now more than 450 million hand phones in use in Africa, almost one for every two people in Africa.