Rejuvenating A Vision (Inspiration from Jerome, AZ)

DSCF9701I was inspired while visiting the small town of Jerome, Arizona on our recent vacation to the Southwest. While Cheryl enjoyed some local shopping, I enjoyed perusing the streets discovering nuggets of the city’s rich history. Jerome began as a mining town. People came hoping to get rich off the minerals in the area, especially copper. When the mines dried up, the city nearly died. Jerome’s population went from a height of 15,000 in 1920’s to 50 people in the late 1950’s.

What inspired me is what happened next in the town’s history. The remaining residents sought new life for their city. The town attracted artists to move to the city who found a haven to display their work cheaply. Over a couple decades, Jerome became known as a place to find great local art. Today Jerome is thriving with local artists and the streets are full of people wanting to view and buy their work. We were referred to Jerome by our hotel concierge in Sedona (Read her story HERE), who told us it was almost a “hippy” town from the 60’s and 70’s. She was right, but the newly created atmosphere has proven successful. One local artist told me they really have no slow season. It’s a favorite place to visit year round.

We were stopped along one of the streets by an older lady who asked us if we had any questions. She said she was a long-term resident and knew much about the town’s history. It was obvious she was proud of her city.

So the bottom line; lesson learned for me:

Jerome was once a mining town.
Now its a tourist town
But it’s still a town proud of its history, where people love to live, where families are raised, and where people enjoy life together.

In order to continue to survive and thrive as a city, changes had to be made in some of its structure and direct focus. The city had to reclaim the vision to be a city.

I believe there are churches and other organizations that could learn valuable principles from Jerome, Arizona.

Do you know of an organization that has rejuvenated itself or renewed a vision in order to thrive in a different environment or culture?

Do You Enjoy What You Do For A Living?

DSCF9693DSCF9694Martha Edwards loves her job.  Martha is a funologist. That’s her title.

Martha was our concierge at the Sedona Real Inn and Suites in Sedona, Arizona during our recent vacation. She helped us pick a restaurant and gave us some quick travel tips, in between helping dozens of other people in person and on the phone, all within thirty minutes before her quitting time for the day.  It was obvious it had been a busy day, she was surely tired, but you couldn’t tell it from her disposition.   Everyone she helped received the same excellent service.

I am confident Martha is a competent, skilled, and efficient concierge, with a great natural bubbly personality.  She is a true professional in the hospitality industry, but I do not believe that is what makes her so good at what she does.  I really think her greatest asset is that she obviously loves what she does for a living.  She enjoys her work.

Do you?

I love the staff at Grace Community Church.  The truth is we are not always the most efficient group of people.  Sometimes we miss deadlines, forget schedules, miss opportunities, and probably even waste valuable time just goofing around, and honestly, that bothers me if I allow it to, because I’m wired for efficiency.  (Even though I’m sometimes the chief goof-ball.)  Unfortunately, there are times that I have to be the bad guy and call us to task; partly because of my wiring and partly because of my position in the organization, but the plain truth is that in the four years of our existence as a church, we have been very successful working together.

Watching Martha enjoy her work so much helped me understand one reason our staff is successful.  WE ENJOY WHAT WE DO…and we have fun doing it!  We actually like the people we work with (most days).  I cannot help, but think that plays a large part in our success as an organization.  Obviously I cannot and would not dismiss the God-thing that has taken place among us, but I think one of those God-things He has done was bringing the people together He has as a staff.

Again, do you enjoy what you do?  Do you like the people with whom you work?  If not, should a change be in your future?

(Okay, I know that’s a tough and perhaps tender question for some of you, but why not start finding and making hard decisions to improve the situation?)

Vacation Pictures from the Southwest USA

Here are a few more vacation pictures. As you can tell, we saw lots of different environments and we (mostly Cheryl) took lots of pictures…almost 1,000 of them, so this is a random sampling. (BTW, I don’t know where these are all located. I’m not good with details. They are all in the United States and either in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah or Arizona.) DSCF8821DSCF9398DSCF9548DSCF9554DSCF9563DSCF9597

Accomplish Things You Never Dreamed Possible

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NIV

Imaginary dialogue between a husband and a wife:

“Honey, let’s get that box out of the attic.”

“What box?”

“You know we packed up that list of dreams we never could accomplish and all the things we’ve tried at and failed…”

“What do you want to do that for? Aren’t you tired of failing?”

“Sure I am, but look at this verse I just found. Here, read it.”

“Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’ That’s pretty neat. So if we can’t do it, then He can.”

“Right, that’s what I thought. All those things we have tried before, but have never been able to get done on our own, and those things we were afraid to try…still have a possibility with God.”

“Because God is able to do what we cannot. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We must decrease so that He can increase. He can overcome the struggles of our life, when we place our trust in Him.”

“That’s right…Go ahead. Preach Sister.”

“Okay, God is at His best when we come to the place in our journey where we recognize that we can do nothing without Him. He is ready to assist us when we will give Him the glory. When we give Him our tired, worn out selves, and humble before His mighty throne, He will wrap us with His tender, yet powerful arms and carry us beyond the limits of our imagination.”

“Exactly, I couldn’t have said it any better.”

“Alright then, now we’re getting somewhere. Help me get down that list.”

Could you make a list of dreams, or things you’ve tried at and failed at before? What has been impossible for you?

Go ahead and make the list, then give it to God.   (For further clarification, you may want to read this POST or this POST)

How To Be A Great Non-Profit Board Member


Over the last 20 years, I have served on dozens of non-profit boards at the state and local level. I have worked with nationally know organizations, such as Boys Scouts, Red Cross, United Way, and YMCA and numerous other local non-profit ministries and service organizations. I strongly believe in community service and realize the value of non-profits in community development. It could easily be said that the success of any non-profit is directly related to the strength of its board. Finding, training and keeping good board members is a critical part of non-profit leadership.

Here are my thoughts on what it takes to be a great non-profit board member:

  • Find out what’s expected of a board member – Preferably before agreeing to serve, know what is expected of board members and consider how the requirements fit with your schedule.
  • Live up to expectations – If you agree to serve, serve well.  Work the meetings into your schedule, participate in activities expected of board members, and fulfill the obligations expected of you.
  • Don’t micro-manage – You are there to advise and hold accountable, not to run the place.
  • Invest your strengths – You bring qualities to the board no one else has. Figure out why you are there and what your unique purpose is for the board and organization.
  • Be a connector – Use your network of connections for the good of the organization.
  • Ask good questions – You may be the only one who is thinking the way you are, but you may not be. You may regret not asking later.
  • Be willing to fundraise if part of the assignment – Remember, you are not asking for yourself, but for a cause in which you believe.
  • Don’t overstay your welcome -Most boards will have some board rotation, but do everyone a favor and leave when you lose enthusiasm to be effective and useful.
  • If the board agrees, find your replacement – Finding a good board member is hard for any non-profit.  Leave them well by helping them replace the spot you leave void.

What am I missing? What would you add to the list?

Happy Vacation To Cheryl And Me

We have had a great week. We are hitting four states in 8 days, starting in New Mexico at the annual Balloon Festival (see these pictures) then heading to Colorado, then Utah, and now Arizona. We’ll be home Saturday in time for church on Sunday. I’ll try to post more pictures later.

Thanks for all the Twitter/Facebook suggestions of places to visit. I had numerous invites from other pastors to meet for coffee or visit, but this trip was packed with Cheryl time. Frankly, we needed this time together. We’ve both been pretty stretched lately with our time. Hopefully I can connect with some of you at a conference soon. (I’m going to Story later this month. Are you?)


Leadership Perception Survey Results, Part 4

As you can tell from the title, this is part four of the leadership perception survey I conducted last month on this blog.  I will share a couple more posts next week to finish this series, one with some thoughts and observations and some of the pertinent statistics, and one about the two open-ended questions in the survey.  Here are the last two closed-ended questions.

Leadership today

Are the qualities to be a successful leader today different than they were 20 years ago?

Yes – 40%
No – 60%

job satisfaction

Does the quality of the leader play a major factor in job satisfaction?

Yes – 99.5%
No – 0.5%

Do you think perception matters in the field of leadership and the people a leader attempts to lead?

Which makes me think of another question, is a person a leader if he or she “attempts” to lead? To be a leader must one have people who follow?

Leadership Perception Survey Results, Part 3

Part 3 results of the leadership perception survey I conducted last month. Check this blog for more information about this survey.

which gender

Which gender makes a better leader in your opinion?

  • Men – 15%
  • Women – 0%
  • Depends on the position – 85%

positions for genders

Are there certain leadership positions a man can do better than a woman or a woman better than a man?

  • Yes 53%
  • No 16%
  • I don’t like this question, but yes. 24%
  • I don’t like this question, but no. 7%

Best development

What is the best way to develop leaders in an organization? (Multiple answers allowed)

  • Education/Training – 36%
  • Modeling – 61%
  • Delegation – 19%
  • Assigning Responsibility – 37%
  • Other – 11%

How good would you be

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, how good of a leader are you or do you think you would be? (Whether or not you are currently leading)

  • 1 – 2%
  • 2 – 2%
  • 3 – 35%
  • 4 – 56%
  • 5 – 7%

I would love to hear your thoughts. Any surprises here in this series so far. In case you’ve missed any of this survey, click HERE for the original post, or HERE for part 1 or HERE for part 2.

Leadership Perception Survey Results, Part 2

Part 2 of the results of my recent Leadership Perception Survey.

best leader

True or False, the leader is usually the smartest person in the organization.

  • True  5%
  • False 95%

socializeShould the leader socialize outside of work with those who report to him or her?

  • Yes 84%
  • No 16%

current leader

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, how well is the current leader doing leading your organization?
  • 1 – 6%
  • 2 – 13%
  • 3 – 39%
  • 4 – 34%
  • 5 – 8%

could you do better?Do you think you could do a better job leading than the person you report to now?

  • Yes  33.3%
  • No 33.3%
  • Not applicable  33.3%

Leadership Perception Survey Results, Part 1

Over the next few days I will share some of the results of the Leadership Perception Survey I posted recently on my blog. Just so you know, there is no hidden agenda here. Several have asked. I simply believe perception of a situation matters, sometimes as much as reality. In leadership, we must always be aware of another person’s perception and realize that not everyone thinks as we do. That doesn’t mean perception has to alter what we do, certainly not if we are doing the right thing, but perception can play a factor in success and may alter the strategy we use to accomplish our vision. Have you ever heard of marketing? Successful marketing revolves around perception. Understanding other people’s perception is a part of successful leadership also.

Without commentary, here are the first few graphics.

Question: Are you currently a leader?

  • Yes 76%
  • No 24%

How many total people report to you:

  • 0  22%
  • 1-10 52%
  • 11-25  9%
  • 26-100 15%
  • 100+  2%

Should the leader be entitled to more vacation or other benefits that the people he or she leads, just because of position?

  • Yes  27%
  • No  73%

Should a leader have a bigger office than the people he or she leads?

  • Yes   30%
  • No   70%

Stay tuned for more results.